Iran threatens to resume uranium enrichment

21st September 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 September 2005, VIENNA - Iran on Wednesday said it did not intend to quit the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - but it threatened to resume uranium enrichment and block voluntary inspections of nuclear sites if the dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme was bought before the United Nations Security Council.

21 September 2005

VIENNA - Iran on Wednesday said it did not intend to quit the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - but it threatened to resume uranium enrichment and block voluntary inspections of nuclear sites if the dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme was bought before the United Nations Security Council.

Iranian negotiator Ali Asghar Sultanieh, speaking in Vienna where the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was this week holding a meeting of its Board of Governors, said: "Iran remains committed to the NPT and to working with the IAEA."

However, if the Iran case is brought before the Security Council "Iran will suspend its voluntary application of the additional protocol and end its voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment", Sultanieh said.

Tehran signed the NPT additional protocol, which allows for snap inspections of nuclear sites by IAEA officials without prior notice, in December 2003.

The IAEA board on Wednesday began discussing a draft resolution from the European Union 'Big Three' of France, Britain and Germany.

The draft resolution calls on the IAEA to report Iran's numerous violations and delays concerning its obligations under the NPT to the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions, and General Assembly.

Fears had earlier been raised that Iran was set to quit the NPT altogether after the country's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani made a threat to that effect on Tuesday.

Western diplomats in Vienna condemned "provocation and threats" by Iranian politicians. They said it was unfortunate that Tehran should resort to such threats while the Europeans were trying to find a negotiated solution to the nuclear dispute.

Larijani later withdrew the threat but did not rule out dropping the additional protocol. Iranian vice-President Gholam-Resa Aghasadeh on Wednesday again made assurances that Iran did not see leaving the NPT altogether as an option.

"It is not the intention of the Republic of Iran to leave the treaty," said Aghasadeh.

Aghasadeh, who heads Iran's nuclear authority, was to meet Wednesday in Vienna with the Russian and Chinese delegations to the IAEA. Russia and China do not support referring the Iran case to the Security Council.

DPA

Subject: German news

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