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Russia, China faulted for blocking new U.N. sanctions on Iran

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Russia and China won't declare Iran's recent missile tests a violation of U.N. rules, effectively blocking the global body from imposing any new sanctions on the country, diplomats say.

A committee of the U.N. Security Council — the U.N. Panel of Experts on Iran — met to discuss Iran's 2012 missile tests, Ynet News reported.

But members couldn't reach common ground on how to regard those tests — whether or not they violated U.N. sanctions already in place against Iran, an Australian diplomat said, Reuters reported.

U.N. spokespeople speaking on condition of anonymity pointed fingers at Russia and China, saying envoys with those two nations outright refused to call the missile launches violations of the body's sanctions.

Iran, for its part, denies that it's trying to develop nuclear weapons and says the sanctions currently in place are illegal.

The chairman of the Iran sanctions committee, Australia's U.N. Ambassador Gary Quinlan, said in the Reuters report that "a number of committee members expressed the view ... that the launches constituted a clear violation of [U.N. sanctions] and that therefore all member states should redouble their efforts to implement ballistic missile-related sanctions on Iran. At this stage, some committee members cannot share this view."

The tests in question were Iran's launch of Shahab missiles in July 2012, Ynet reported.

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