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Iran yesterday rejected as "invalid" and "illegal" a UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. Iran also vowed to continue its nuclear program.

The Security Council resolution, aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining know-how and equipment to advance its nuclear program, was approved unanimously.

The resolution consists for the first time of an explicit threat to impose immediate sanctions on Iran unless it complies with the demand to immediately stop its nuclear activity including uranium enrichment, research and development and takes the steps required by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The resolution orders all countries to ban the supply of specified materials and technology that could contribute to Iran's nuclear and missile programs. It also imposes an assets freeze on key companies and individuals in the country's nuclear and missile programs named on a UN list.

If Iran refuses to comply, the resolution warns Iran that the Security Council will adopt further non-military sanctions.

"Iran considers the new UN Security Council resolution ... an extralegal act outside the frame of its responsibilities and against the United Nations Charter," an Iranian Foreign Ministry statement said yesterday.

The statement, read on state-run television, said Iran wouldn't heed the decision by the United Nations Security Council and would continue to pursue its enrichment activities.

Israel reacted with reserved satisfaction to the UN resolution. Official spokesmen commended the adoption of sanctions but predicted that they would not work and that Israel would have to increase the pressure on Iran.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni both said the decision to impose sanctions was an important step, but that Israel must continue pressuring the international community to act to stop Iran's nuclear program.

Israel's official comment, issued by the Foreign Ministry, said "the Security Council reflects the international community's understanding that the world cannot afford a nuclear Iran.

Deputy Defense Minister Efraim Sneh said that the international community and Israel would soon have to decide on whether to attack Iran.