Ali Asghar Soltanieh (file photo) (epa)
March 8, 2007 -- Iran says cuts in technical aid to Tehran by the UN's nuclear agency will not affect its uranium-enrichment work.
The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, blamed the UN Security Council, saying it had undermined the IAEA's independence.
"[The IAEA's cuts in technical aid to Iran] would have no effect on our uranium-enrichment program because none of them have been on the issue of enrichment, and even the rest of the projects are not related to the enrichment," Soltanieh said. "Therefore, the enrichment program has been indigenous and independent. Nobody, not even the IAEA, has cooperated or worked with us, and therefore this project will continue as planned, under the supervision of the IAEA."
Soltanieh's comment came after the IAEA's governing body decided by consensus to freeze or curb 22 of 55 aid projects in response to Tehran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment as demanded by the UN Security Council.
Today's move comes as representatives of the Security Council's major powers have been holding discussions on a possible new set of sanctions.
Western powers suspect Iran is using its nuclear program as a cover to build nuclear arms, but Tehran says its program is only meant to generate electricity.