Iran's chief nuclear negotiator cools down threats

27th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 September 2005, TEHERAN - Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on Tuesday cooled down Iranian threats to drop all international nuclear commitments saying that all depended on "future developments".

27 September 2005

TEHERAN - Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on Tuesday cooled down Iranian threats to drop all international nuclear commitments saying that all depended on "future developments".

"Our stance is very clear: We want our own nuclear cycle, respect the IAEA framework and acknowledge the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," Larijani said.

His comments contradict earlier assertions by Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi who warned that Iran could withdraw completely from the NPT.

Tehran, which has long been at odds with the international community over its nuclear ambitions, is angered by a vote last week by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) governors in Vienna which supported a critical European Union-backed resolution.

The resolution accuses Tehran of "non-compliance" with the NPT and threatens to bring the case before the United Nations Security Council, which has the power to bring sanctions.

The Iranian parliament in a response to the resolution is scheduled to vote Wednesday on an emergency motion calling for the suspension of the Additional Protocol to the NPT, state television said.

A statement Monday said: "In case the IAEA resolution is not corrected ... Iran will have no choice but to cancel all voluntary and temporary commitments, including the implementation of the IAEA Additional Protocol."

The Additional Protocol, signed in 2003, allows unlimited access for IAEA inspectors to Iranian nuclear sites, including inspections carried out without prior warning.

Assefi, warning that Wednesday's motion would be "passed unanimously", said further measures (full withdrawal from the NPT) would result if the IAEA and the E.U. "continue to adopt a harsh stance against Iran".

"We explicitly warn that Iran should not be pushed towards a direction eventually forcing us to adopt radical measures," Assefi said.

Larijani, also secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), however distanced both the government and the SNSC from such speculation saying only that the issue had been raised in the parliament and would be decided by legislative power.

Parliament on Tuesday discussed the issue in a closed-door session.

Analysts believe that in the current circumstances an agreement voluntarily suspending uranium enrichment in Iran is also in danger. Uranium enrichment is the process of converting raw uranium to nuclear fuel but at higher grades can have weapons applications.

The agreement, between Iran and the E.U. 'Big Three' of Britain, France and Germany, was signed in 2003. However Monday's Foreign Ministry statement said it was "on the verge of collapse".

The Iranian parliament has also proposed a revision of economic ties with the E.U. trio, and some hardliners even suggested a revision of political relations.

Iran's enrichment plant at Natanz remains sealed off by the IAEA but Tehran recently resumed activities at the neighbouring Isfahan plant, where raw uranium is turned into hexafluoride gas and stored for later use in centrifuges for enrichment.

DPA

Subject: German news, Iran nuclear dispute

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