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Iran says to press ahead with Arak reactor

Written by: Staff
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TEHRAN, Nov 23 (Reuters) Iran said today it would like technical aid from the UN atomic watchdog for its Arak heavy water reactor but would press ahead even if its request was eventually rejected.

''If they help us, we will appreciate it. If not, we will do it by ourselves,'' Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters shortly before diplomats in Vienna said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had indefinitely blocked Iran's request.

After the remarks by diplomats, a Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment further saying he would wait until a formal announcement by IAEA board of governors.

The diplomats said Iran's request for help on Arak was rejected to due to fears it could yield bomb-grade plutonium.

The West fears Iran is trying to build atomic bombs, despite Tehran's denials.

In a compromise hammered out in negotiations ahead of theAEA board meeting, Iranian requests for IAEA technical assistance on seven other nuclear energy projects judged not to pose a risk of being diverted to bomb-making were approved by the governors.

REUTERS AB VC1716

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