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Ahmadinejad rejects U.N. sanctions

Story Highlights

• Iranian President rejects new U.N. sanctions as "illegal"
• Ahmadinejad says nuclear program will "continue without hesitation"
• U.N. Security Council unanimously passed new sanctions on Iran Saturday
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is rejecting new United Nations sanctions as illegal, according to IRNA, the state-run Iranian news agency.

Ahmadinejad, in an interview with France's Channel 2 TV network, warned nations "seeking to impose sanctions against Iran will suffer a greater damage themselves," IRNA reported.

The 15-member Security Council unanimously passed a resolution Saturday imposing new sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to suspend its uranium-enrichment program. (Full story)

According to IRNA, the Iranian president told the French interviewer that his country's nuclear activities are legal, "based on the country's legal and inalienable rights" and that the program would "continue without hesitation."

The United States and other nations contend Iran is using the project to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the claim.

The new measures follow a resolution adopted December 23, 2006, that prohibits trade with Iran in nuclear materials and ballistic missiles and froze assets of individuals and institutions involved in Tehran's atomic programs.

The embargo on Iranian weapons exports -- such as small arms and explosives -- is an attempt to stop Iran from smuggling to militant groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, and to prevent Iranian arms from reaching Iraq, U.S. officials contend.

The new resolution would bar nations and international banks from making new loans to Iran. The proposed new penalties build on previous sanctions barring transfer of nuclear materials and know-how to Iran.

The latest sanctions, formulated last week by the five permanent members of the council -- the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France -- plus Germany, would freeze the assets of 28 additional individuals and organizations involved in Iran's nuclear and missile programs. About a third of those are linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, an elite military corps.

The resolution also calls for a voluntary travel embargo on Iranian officials and Revolutionary Guard commanders.


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