U.N. makes cuts in Iran technical aid

March 8, 2007 at 1:19 PM
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VIENNA, March 8 (UPI) -- The 35-nation U.N. nuclear board made cuts in technical aid to Iran Thursday but Tehran said it won't affect its uranium enrichment program.

Meeting in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency ratified sanctions banning transfers of technology or expertise to Iran that might help produce nuclear fuel. Diplomats in the closed session said 22 of 55 aid projects were frozen or curbed, Novosti reported.

"None of these projects are related to the enrichment program," Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh told reporters after the IAEA meeting. "The enrichment program will continue as planned."

Iran insists the nuclear activity is meant only to generate electricity.

"Putting on hold any of these approved projects under the pretext of proliferation concerns are a futile exercise," Soltanieh added, IRNA reported.

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei urged Iran to "cooperate fully" to help in "diffusing the emerging crisis."

He said the agency had "not seen any diversion of nuclear materials ... nor the capacity to produce weapons usable materials."

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