The United Nations nuclear agency has approved sharp cuts in technical aid projects to Iran, out of concern that Tehran might be trying to build nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program.

The 35-nation board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency decided Thursday to freeze or curb nearly half of its more than 50 aid projects in Iran.

The IAEA's move follows a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in December that bans transfers of aid and technology related to Iran's nuclear activity and missile projects.

Iran ignored the resolution, which also demanded that Tehran suspend its uranium enrichment activity within 60 days.

On Wednesday, Iran rejected an appeal by the European Union to accept the U.N. demand in return for a simultaneous lifting of the ban on technological aid.

The United Nations, envoys from the five permanent members of the Security Council, and Germany have been discussing additional sanctions on Iran

The United States and its Western allies suspect Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the accusation.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.