Iranian President Wants to Attend U.N. Nuke Watchdog Meeting

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would like to attend a U.N. Security Council meeting to defend his country's disputed nuclear program, state-run television reported Sunday.

"The president of Islamic Republic of Iran intends to attend a U.N Security Council meeting to be held on Iran's nuclear case in order to defend the rights of the Iranian nation in exploiting peaceful nuclear energy," state TV quoted Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham as saying.

The report did not elaborate about when Ahmadinejad planned to attend a meeting and if he had been invited by the Security Council.

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The state TV report comes days after the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, suspended nearly two dozen nuclear aid programs to Iran in a move that could affect Tehran's cooperation with the agency.

Delegates to a 35-nation meeting of the IAEA approved the punitive measure against Iran as part of U.N. sanctions imposed because of the country's repeated refusal to roll back its nuclear program.

The U.N. Security Council in December imposed limited sanctions against Iran over its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment. The five permanent Security Council members plus Germany are now consulting on imposing additional sanctions because Tehran has continued to defy demands that it stop enrichment.

The proposals include a travel ban, an expanded list of people and companies subject to an asset freeze, an arms embargo and trade restrictions.

Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed at producing energy, but the U.S. and European countries are concerned its real aim is to produce nuclear weapons. Enriched to a low level, uranium is used to produce nuclear fuel but further enrichment makes it suitable for building an atomic bomb.

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