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US Says Iran's Transfer of Foreign Assets Sign of Growing Isolation


The United States says word that Iran is transferring its assets from Europe is a sign of Tehran's growing isolation over its nuclear program.

In Washington Friday, a State Department spokesman said Iran's moves would not deter international efforts to refer Tehran's nuclear activities to the U.N. Security Council.

He spoke after Iran's Central Bank Governor, Ebrahim Sheibani, said Tehran has started transferring foreign reserves from European banks to southeast Asia.

The move was widely seen as Iran's attempt to protect its assets if U.N. sanctions are imposed. Washington has accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

The Islamic country has also warned that sanctions could trigger a global oil and banking crisis. Iran is the second largest oil producer in the Opec oil cartel, after Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, a top Russian energy official says Iran is ready for detailed discussions on Moscow's proposal to conduct Tehran's uranium enrichment in Russia.

Sergei Kiryenko, the head of Russia's atomic energy agency, made the announcement Friday during a televised meeting with President Vladimir Putin. Kiryenko says Iranian officials were due to visit Moscow in the coming days to discuss the plan.

The proposal for uranium to be enriched in Russia for use in Iranian reactors is aimed at eliminating concerns that Tehran could enrich its own uranium for use in nuclear weapons.

The United States and European Union have backed the Russian proposal as a way to break the deadlock over Iran's nuclear program.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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