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Iranian President Rejects UN Sanctions


The president of Iran dismissed U.N. sanctions imposed against his country as, in his words, "superficial" and "unimportant." He spoke in Tehran Sunday, one day after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved measures aimed at persuading Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program. VOA's Stephanie Ho reports from Washington.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the U.N. sanctions will not harm his country, and he warned that U.N. Security Council members will regret their decision. He said western countries have lost the opportunity to be what he called a friend to Iran.

In a special Saturday session, the U.N. Security Council passed a measure prohibiting the import or export of dangerous materials and technology that could be used in Iran's nuclear missile programs. It also calls for a freeze on the assets of several Iranian individuals and companies involved in proliferation-related activities.

The U.N. vote came nearly four months after Iran defied an earlier Council deadline to halt uranium enrichment.

The United States has said it hoped the resolution would clear the way for tougher measures by individual countries, particularly Russia.

In reaction, Iran's parliament on Sunday voted to urge the country's administration to revise its cooperation with the nuclear watchdog IAEA but did not set a timeline or provide further details.

Speaking in Tehran, Mr. Ahmadinejad said he believes the Security Council has been discredited by its actions. He repeated accusations that the U.N. body is acting as, in his words, "the blind servant" of the United States, Britain and Israel.

The Iranian leader added that his country has the technology to produce nuclear fuel and insists on keeping it. Iran has repeatedly said its nuclear program is peaceful and intended only for power generation.

Ban Ki-moon, the incoming U.N. Secretary General, said he considers international efforts to restrict Iran's nuclear program of significance to the whole world. "The Iranian nuclear issue has much greater implications on regional and global issues," he said.

Speaking Sunday in an interview with ABC's "This Week" television program, he urged Iran to engage in international negotiations on its nuclear program.

The U.N. sanctions will be legally binding under Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter. But they were approved under a clause of the charter that excludes the possibility that they can be enforced through military action.