Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared that Iran is the world's ‘number one’ power, as he launched a new assault on domestic critics.

He has accused them of siding with the enemy.

‘Everybody has understood that Iran is the number one power in the world,’ Mr Ahmadinejad said in a speech to families who lost loved ones in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

‘Today the name of Iran means a firm punch in the teeth of the powerful and it puts them in their place,’ he added.

This weekend, Mr Ahmadinejad will become the first president of Iran to visit neighbouring Iraq.

Mr Ahmadinejad's comments come amid renewed UN Security Council efforts to agree a third package of sanctions against Tehran over its refusal to suspend sensitive nuclear activities.

Mr Ahmadinejad again insisted that Iran is winning the standoff over its atomic programme. The US fears it could be used to make nuclear weapons, but Iran says it is peaceful.