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Sunday, November 29, 2009
Iran could leave nuclear treaty, says lawmaker
TEHRAN (AP) – An Iranian legislator warned Saturday that his country may pull out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty after a UN resolution censuring Tehran.
Iran's official news agency quoted a political analyst who made the same point, another indication the idea could be gaining steam.
If Iran withdraws from the treaty, its nuclear program would no longer be subject to oversight by the UN nuclear agency.
The lawmaker's threat came a day after the board of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution demanding Tehran immediately stop building its newly revealed nuclear facility near the holy city of Qom and freeze uranium enrichment.
“The parliament, in its first reaction to this illegal and politically-motivated resolution, can consider the issue of withdrawing from the NPT,” Mohammad Karamirad was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency, referring to the treaty. “The parliament ... (also) can block the entry of IAEA inspectors to the country.”
Karamirad, a senior lawmaker and member of the Iranian parliament's national security committee, does not speak for the government but his statements often reflect the government's thinking.
Another lawmaker, Hossein Ebrahimi, was quoted by IRNA as saying that Iran's parliament will discuss the IAEA resolution on Sunday and will make a decision on how to react.
Iran's parliament has issued similar warnings in the past, most recently in 2006 when some lawmakers threatened to pull the country out of the nonproliferation treaty during another time of increased UN pressure over Tehran's nuclear program.
Iran's government insists its nuclear program is meant only for peaceful purposes.
Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's chief delegate to the UN nuclear agency, said on state television that Iran will limit its cooperation with the UN watchdog to its treaty obligations and will not cooperate beyond that.
“Our first reaction to this resolution is that they (the UN agency) should not expect us to do what we did several times in the past few months when we cooperated beyond our obligations to remove ambiguities,” Soltanieh said.
He added that the country's nuclear activities will not be interrupted by resolutions from the UN nuclear agency's board, the UN Security Council or even the threat of military strikes against the facilities.
Ali Shirzadian, spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said his agency his ready to proceed with its nuclear projects.
“Technically speaking, we are fully prepared to produce fuel required for the Tehran reactor. To begin this, we are waiting for the order from top authorities,” Shirzadian told the government-run Borna news agency.
Friday's resolution — and the resulting vote of the IAEA's 35-nation decision-making board — were significant on several counts.
The resolution was approved by 25 members of the 35-nation board — including the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
Moscow and Beijing have traditionally cautioned against efforts to punish Iran, either preventing new Security Council sanctions or watering down their potency.
The IAEA resolution criticized Iran for defying a UN Security Council ban on uranium enrichment.
It also censured Iran for secretly building a uranium enrichment facility, known as Fordo, and demanded that it immediately suspend further construction.
Mohammad Karamirad, Iranian lawmaker from Kermanshah.