Iran shrugs off UN pressure over nuclear defiance

Iran on Thursday shrugged off the latest punitive UN action - suspension of nearly two dozen nuclear aid programs - and showed no signs it was cowed by the possibility of even tougher penalties in the form of new Security Council sanctions. Thursday's decision by the 35 board nations of the International Atomic Energy Agency to deprive Teheran of 22 technical aid projects was symbolically important. Only North Korea and Saddam Hussein's Iraq had been subject to such action previously. Still, none of the programs directly applied to the Islamic republic's developing uranium enrichment program. Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA, said as much after the board agreed by consensus to suspend the programs. "None of these projects are related to enrichment," he said of the suspensions. "The enrichment program will continue as planned."