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Iran Dismisses New UN Sanctions

Iran has dismissed new sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council to try to curb the country's controversial nuclear activities.

Iran's ambassador to the U.N. nuclear agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, insisted Iran will not stop enriching uranium.

Twelve of the Security Council's 15 members voted Wednesday in favor of the resolution, while Brazil and Turkey voted "no" and Lebanon abstained.

Russia's Interfax news agency reported Thursday that Russia is freezing a contract to sell S-300 missile systems to Iran in line with the sanctions.

Russia and China, both key allies of Iran, backed the resolution after succeeding in watering down the measures sought by Western nations.

The head of Iran's atomic energy agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, criticized Beijing for supporting the new sanctions. In an interview with the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Salehi warned China is losing what he called its "respected position in the Islamic world."

China said the resolution does not mean the door to diplomatic efforts is closed and called for renewed efforts at negotiations.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang stressed that China wants to see the issue settled through dialogue.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was scheduled to arrive in China Thursday for the World Expo in Shanghai, but he is not expected to hold talks with senior Chinese leaders.  On Wednesday, he said the resolution adopted by the U.N. Security Council is of no value

The new sanctions target Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, ballistic missile program and nuclear-related investments.

U.S. President Barack Obama said they are the toughest sanctions Iran has ever faced, but also stressed that the door is still open for diplomacy.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called the new sanctions a mistake. Brazil and Turkey negotiated a deal with Iran last month to have Iran send some of its uranium to Turkey to be exchanged for fuel for a research reactor in Tehran. But the U.S. and its allies dismissed the deal, saying it did not address core concerns about Iran's nuclear program.

Western powers believe Iran's nuclear activities are aimed at developing nuclear weapons.  Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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