|Members of the U.N. Security Council raise their hands during a unanimous vote on a resolution authorizing trade sanctions against Iran.|
The Islamic Republic remained defiant in the face of a unanimously approved Security Council resolution imposing targeted sanctions, and vowed to boost its disputed uranium enrichment program.
Vitaly Churkin, the Russian UN ambassador, told reporters: "Russia has taken every chance in its contacts both with the Iranian side and its partners among the six powers and the Security Council so that the Iranian nuclear problem could be solved without resorting to sanctions. Unfortunately, we could not achieve that."
He called the sanctions, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter which requires all UN members to honor them, "the most extreme instrument in the international diplomacy's arsenal."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the sanctions were "a significant step and a significant signal, since Iran has not followed through on its obligations and commitments to the international community," according to her spokesman.
France urged Iran to "choose dialogue" over "increasing isolation."
"With the adoption of this resolution the Security Council has given Iran a clear choice: cooperate with the international community or pursue its enrichment and reprocessing activities at the risk of increasing isolation," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said in a statement.
"I call on the Iranian authorities to choose dialogue and to come back to the negotiating table," the minister said.
Britain's UN envoy Emyr Jones Parry, a resolution sponsor, said: "The choice is in Tehran. We set up the choice, we set up the legal requirement, and it's now for Iran to comply."
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso welcomed the unanimous approval of a UN resolution imposing the sanctions, but added that Japan "strongly hopes for a peaceful resolution of the issue through dialogue."
Israel urged "further, swift and determined action" against the Islamic republic, the foreign ministry said.
"This is an initial step but besides the importance of imposing initial sanctions, the international community must call for further, swift and determined action in order to stop the process," the ministry said in a statement, adding that Israel assumed "the initial sanctions will not be sufficient."
Iran, however, will start putting in place 3,000 uranium enriching centrifuges at a key nuclear plant in an immediate reponse to a UN sanctions resolution, top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani told the hardline Kayhan newspaper.
"Our immediate response to the UN Security Council is that, as of today, we will start the activities at the site of the 3,000 centrifuge machines in Natanz and we will go ahead with full speed," Larijani told the paper.
Natanz is the plant where Iran carries out uranium enrichment, a process the West fears could be diverted to make a nuclear bomb, a charge vehemently denied by Iran.
"We will accelerate our programme to install the 3,000 centrifuges" in response to the resolution, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of parliament's security commission, told state radio