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Iran Denounces Sanctions Imposed by EU, Canada

Iran has denounced new sanctions imposed by the European Union and Canada that target the country's energy, foreign trade and banking sectors.

The sanctions aim in part to curb investment and trade in Iran's lucrative oil and gas industries.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said the sanctions will not affect Tehran, and will not help in resuming talks about its nuclear program.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday the sanctions are "unacceptable" and go against the U.N. Security Council efforts to resolve the situation.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the sanctions send a powerful message to Iran that its nuclear program is a cause of "serious and growing" concern. But she said the EU goal remains to persuade Iran to return to the negotiating table.

In recent weeks, the U.N. Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran, and the United States approved its own economic measures.

The United States praised the EU and Canada for taking action against Iran.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the EU-Canadian measures, combined with new and existing U.S. sanctions, underscore the international community's deepening concern about Iran's nuclear program.

The EU sanctions bar Iran's shipping and air cargo companies from operating in EU territory. They go beyond the fourth round of sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop atomic weapons. Iran denies the charge.

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