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Brazil Criticizes Efforts to Impose Sanctions on Iran

Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani (r) meets with Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim (l) in Tehran, 26 Apr 2010

Brazil's foreign minister has criticized U.S.-led efforts to impose new sanctions against Iran for pursuing sensitive nuclear activities.

Celso Amorim spoke Monday in Tehran where he began a two-day visit.

Iranian news agencies say Amorim told Iran's parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani that new sanctions against Iran would be "negative" and "unfair."

Washington is leading a diplomatic push to get Brazil and other U.N. Security Council members to approve a fourth round of sanctions on Iran.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Monday officials are meeting in New York in efforts to reach a consensus on a new U.N. resolution.

In a speech in Tehran Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced the veto power held by the Security Council's five permanent members. Mr. Ahmadinejad accused the Security Council of using "Satanic tools" to oppress mankind.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.

In Iran Monday, Amorim said Brazil supports the expansion of what he called "peaceful nuclear activities" for Iran's people, just as it does for its own people. He spoke during a meeting with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili.

Iran has been pursuing closer relations with Brazil as part of its own diplomatic campaign to prevent new U.N. sanctions. On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki took the campaign to Bosnia, another non-permanent member of the Security Council.

Mottaki held talks in Sarajevo with the Bosnian Muslim chairman of Bosnia's tripartite presidency. Haris Silajdzic said Bosnia will decide about sanctions based on a "strategic interest" in gaining membership in the European Union and NATO.

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