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China, Russia back U.S. proposal for Iran sanctions

UNITED NATIONS - The United States introduced a resolution aimed at Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program yesterday, having won long-sought and pivotal support from China and Russia for new sanctions against its powerful Revolutionary Guard and new measures to try to curtail Iran's military, financial and shipping activities.

The agreement appeared to be a significant victory for the Obama administration, which has doggedly pursued sanctions since Iran rebuffed U.S. overtures last year.

The draft resolution would ban Iran from pursuing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, freeze assets of nuclear-related companies linked to the Revolutionary Guard, bar Iranian investment in activities such as uranium mining and prohibit Iran from buying several categories of heavy weapons, a senior U.S. official said.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said the resolution, backed by all five veto-wielding members of the Security Council, would give "greater teeth" to existing sanctions and add "strong" new measures to intensify pressure on the Iranian government to resolve concerns that its nuclear program is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.

Russia and China, which have close ties to Iran, joined fellow permanent council members Britain, France and the United States as well as nonmember Germany in supporting the sanctions proposal, ignoring a deal that Tehran struck with Turkey and Brazil a day earlier in an effort to stave off the penalties.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a Senate committee that she spent yesterday on the phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov "finalizing the resolution."

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