Iran defies UN sanctions, pledges to continue nuclear work

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Iran's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday dismissed the latest sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, and said it would continue work on its nuclear program.
TEHRAN, March 4 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday dismissed the latest sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, and said it would continue work on its nuclear program.

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on Monday imposing a third round of economic sanctions on Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

"The continuation of this trend [of issuing resolutions] will have no effect on the Iranian people or on the government's determination to pursue its lawful and unassailable right to peaceful nuclear activities," ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said.

He said the "anti-Iranian" resolution would further damage the authority of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), while highlighting "the UN Security Council's incompetence."

The IAEA said in a report released on February 22 that Iran had become more transparent on its nuclear program, but had failed to fully answer allegations relating to nuclear weapons development.

Mohammad Saeedi, Vice President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, on Tuesday likened the new resolution to "playing billiards with a rubber hose."

In an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Saeedi warned those approving the new resolution that they would soon realize their "grave historical and strategic mistakes."

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's envoy to the United Nations, gave assurances that the UN Security Council would not resort to force if Iran fails to comply with the new resolution by the 90-day deadline.

Churkin also said that Moscow would supply Tehran with nuclear fuel for the coming years, making it unnecessary for Iranians to enrich uranium themselves.

The diplomatic standoff between Iran and the West began almost six years ago over suspicions that Tehran was secretly developing atomic weapons. Tehran has always maintained that it needs nuclear technology for electricity generation only. The two previous rounds of UN sanctions were imposed on Tehran in December 2006 and March 2007.

Under the new sanctions, the accounts of certain Iranian companies and banks will be frozen, and goods leaving and entering the Islamic Republic will be subjected to inspections. In addition, travel bans have been imposed on five Iranian officials involved in nuclear projects.

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