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. Cuts in UN technical aid to Iran
VIENNA, March 8 (AFP) Mar 08, 2007
Twenty-two technical aid projects to Iran will be suspended under cuts agreed by the UN atomic agency as part of United Nations sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Out of 55 national and regional projects by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that provide technical aid to Iran, 10 have been suspended, while another 12 may only proceed in part after "case-by-case screening by the (IAEA) Secretariat."

A total of 33 projects listed in a February 9 report by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei will continue.

The IAEA's 35-nation board of governors formalised on Thursday the aid cuts, which were mandated in a UN Security Council resolution adopted on December 23.

The cuts can be rolled back if Iran complies with the resolution's demand for it to suspend all nuclear fuel work and cooperate fully with IAEA inspectors.

The Security Council resolution said that "technical cooperation provided to Iran by the IAEA... shall only be for food, agricultural, medical, safety or other humanitarian purposes" and not for any enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.

Among projects frozen is a "forum for exchange of information and expertise among developing Member States actively involved in nuclear power planning or operations."

Another regional project "to assist Member States' National Nuclear Institutions (NNIs) in achieving greater sustainability and self-reliance... thereby ensuring that NNIs contribute to long term socioeconomic national and regional development" was also suspended.

Meanwhile, two projects to help improve safety at nuclear power plants were only partially frozen, with "activities related to heavy water moderated plants" cut, the governors' report said.

Heavy water reactors can produce plutonium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons.

Most other safety-related projects were given the green light to continue, including one on disposing of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste.

The IAEA will also maintain Iran's involvement in its programme "for prevention, detection and response to illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials," including training authorities, nuclear facility staff and law enforcement agencies.

All projects with purely medical, agricultural, humanitarian and food purposes are allowed to continue.

These include medical training and assistance in providing cancer treatment, as well as programmes for a sustainable water resource management strategy around Tehran and aid for "food fortification intervention programmes."

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