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Iran's foreign minister hosts UN envoys in New York

President Ahmadinejad (L)and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at a UN conference in New York on 3 May
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran is not afraid of sanctions

Iran's foreign minister has hosted a dinner for UN Security Council members amid a threat of fresh sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme.

All 15 Council members attended the event hosted by Manouchehr Mottaki in New York.

But the United States, Britain, France and Russia sent lower level diplomats instead of their senior ambassadors.

The UN envoys of six major powers have been discussing a possible sanctions resolution against Tehran.

Iran insists it has the right to develop civilian nuclear power. The US and some western allies suspect it is seeking atomic weapons.

Buying time?

On Wednesday, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reported to have agreed in principle to accept Brazil as mediator on a deal for providing it with nuclear fuel.

President Barack Obama's Latin America adviser Daniel Restrepo has accused Iran of trying to buy time in order to avoid sanctions by accepting Brazil's offer of mediation, Reuters news agency reports.

The proposed UN-backed international deal to swap Iran's low-enriched uranium for high-enriched nuclear fuel broke down earlier this year.

The idea - proposed by the US, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany - was to ensure Iran had nuclear fuel for medical purposes, while reducing its bomb-building potential.

The plan would require Iran to ship 1,200 kg (2,646 lb) of low-enriched uranium to Russia and France, where it would be converted into fuel to be used to make isotopes for cancer treatment.

Iran's president told ABC News on Wednesday that Iran would "definitely continue" its nuclear programme despite the potential threat of Israeli military action.

He also brushed aside the current US push for a fresh round of sanctions.



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