UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council ratcheted up sanctions on Iran on Monday for refusing to suspend nuclear enrichment and other sensitive activities, but Tehran dismissed the decision as illegal.
There were 14 votes in favor, none against and one country, Indonesia, abstained. Previous sanctions resolutions were adopted unanimously in December 2006 and March 2007, but council envoys said Monday's message to Iran was a strong one.
Iran denounced the current and previous resolutions as violations of international law and said they only harmed the 15-nation Security Council's standing.
"The credibility of the Security Council ... is readily downgraded to a mere tool of the national foreign policy of just a few countries," Iran's U.N. ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, told the council before the vote.
He also dismissed as "baseless" new U.S. intelligence suggesting Iran had conducted an intensive study into building atomic weapons, saying his country's nuclear program "has been, is and will remain absolutely peaceful."
Speaking at the opening of a meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog's governing board in Vienna, Mohamed ElBaradei, the agency's head, urged Tehran to clear up the matter swiftly.
"I urge Iran to be as active and cooperative as possible in working with the agency to clarify this matter of serious concern," ElBaradei told the 35-nation policy-making board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
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