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Iranian cleric defies nuclear watchdog

Nov. 28, 2009 at 3:15 PM

TEHRAN, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- A senior Iranian cleric said Saturday the country will not be forced to give up its nuclear enrichment program by a resolution from a U.N. watchdog agency.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami spoke at a ceremony for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha or the Feast of the Sacrifice, PRESS TV reported.

"Rather than hurting Iran, the new resolution will impair the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Security Council," he said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, meeting in Vienna, passed a resolution calling for an Iranian freeze on nuclear enrichment. China and Russia, which have been reluctant in the past to take a hard line with Iran, supported the resolution.

Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh, the Iranian envoy to the IAEA, said Friday the agency has become politicized and should be concerned only with helping Iran on technical matters.

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