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Iran scoffs at sanctions pressure

TEHRAN, April 2 (UPI) -- Sanctions imposed against Iran by the United States won't do much to sway the Islamic republic's resolve, the Iranian foreign minister said Monday.

U.S. President Barack Obama cleared the way Friday for new sanctions against Iran to pressure Tehran into giving up its suspected quest for nuclear weapons. The White House pointed to a U.S. Energy Department report that indicated there was enough non-Iranian crude oil on the market to warrant tighter sanctions.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the official Islamic Republic News Agency that Washington's efforts were futile.

"The West thinks that like many countries, Iran will also succumb to U.S. pressure, but the assumption is basically wrong," he said. "Sanctions may cause minor problems for us, but we will continue on our path."

Iranian officials said last week in Beijing that Tehran would discuss its nuclear program with European leaders without preconditions.

He said, however, that Tehran wasn't ready to have direct talks with the United States because of what he described as "bad temperament."

Tehran had said it was looking to Istanbul to host April 13 talks with the Europeans.

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The Iranian government maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

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