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Russia and China, which have trade ties with Iran, called on the Islamic republic Monday to fulfill the United Nations' demands on its nuclear program. Experts discuss recent developments.
Four days after Iran seized 15 British sailors and marines in the Persian Gulf and took them to Tehran for questioning, Iran showed no sign of backing down from its foreign minister's tough words yesterday.
MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI, Foreign Minister, Iran (through translator):
The Iranian authorities intercepted these sailors and marines in Iranian waters and detained them in Iranian waters.
The British government says they were in Iraqi waters.
Tehran also ratcheted up its defiance this weekend over its nuclear program, saying it would cut back cooperation with the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA.
Tehran's announcement followed a unanimous U.N. Security Council vote Saturday imposing additional sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment. Many in the West believe Iran's nuclear research program is aimed at developing weapons; Tehran maintains it's strictly for civilian energy use.
The draft resolution received 15 votes in favor. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously.
The resolution wasn't as tough as the United States originally wanted, but it does ban Iranian arms exports and freezes the overseas assets of 28 people linked to Iran's nuclear program.
Acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Alejandro Wolff.
ALEJANDRO WOLFF, Acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.: The reason we are doing this resolution is because Iran continues to refuse to comply. So, as you know, this resolution reiterates the same provisions as we have in 1737, suspension for suspension.
As soon as Iran suspends its enrichment activities in a verifiable manner, the council will suspend its actions, and we will be able to address this issue politically again. So it's not a high bar for Iran to meet.
Iran's foreign minister rejected the U.N.'s action.
MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI (through translator):
The Security Council is being abused to take an unlawful, unnecessary and unjustifiable action against the peaceful nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Yesterday, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the U.S. and Europeans are still ready to talk with Iran, if it first suspends its nuclear activities.
But Iran's nuclear program continues at three plants around the country, including one, at Bushehr, with assistance from Russia. Construction there was suspended recently in a dispute over whether Iran is paying its bills.
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