Nations nuclear watchdog to freeze all its nuclear enrichment programs and warned that it would drop out of the nonproliferation treaty if its case is sent to the Security Council.
The International Atomic Energy Agency adopted a resolution on Saturday calling on Iran to suspend all its activities related to uranium enrichment before its next meeting in November. New York Times
By NAZILA FATHI
TEHRAN Iran rejected today an order by the United Nations nuclear watchdog to freeze all its nuclear enrichment programs and warned that it would drop out of the nonproliferation treaty if its case is sent to the Security Council.
The International Atomic Energy Agency adopted a resolution on Saturday calling on Iran to suspend all its activities related to uranium enrichment before its next meeting in November. The agency expressed alarm at Iran's plans to enrich nearly 40 tons of uranium. The amount is sufficient to provide Iran with several nuclear bombs.
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, said in a news conference today that Iran will not accept any obligation on its uranium enrichment and that "no international body can force Iran to do so."
"Last year we voluntarily suspended enrichment because we were just in the beginning of the path and inspections of our sites had just begun," he said, referring to the I.A.E.A. inspectors. "We accepted suspension as measure to build confidence."
Referring to Saturday's resolution, Mr. Rowhani added, "They cannot force Iran to suspend enrichment through the resolution.
"The Europeans also know that if there is a way, that way is through negotiations."
Mr. Rowhani said there was no need to send the case of a country to the Security Council as a way to put pressure for suspension of enrichment. "This is a political decision by the board of governors," he said.
"I believe that Iran will stop implementing the additional protocol if its case is sent to the Security Council and Parliament will probably demand from the government to drop out of the nonproliferation treaty," he said.
Iran agreed in a meeting with foreign secretaries of Britain, France and Germany last year in Tehran to sign the additional protocol, which allows unexpected and intrusive inspections of its sites. Iran also agreed to suspend all its uranium-enrichment activities.
But it began assembling centrifuges in June when its case was not closed at the agency. It said, however, that it has not started enrichment yet.
The United States urged the agency's state members to refer Iran's case to the Security Council, saying that Iran is planning to use enriched uranium to make nuclear bombs. Iran can face sanctions if the Security Council concludes that its nuclear program is not for peaceful purposes.
Iran has contended that its nuclear program is aimed at producing electricity and intends to enrich uranium to use as fuel at its plants. It has refused permanent suspension because it wants to use its own uranium mines and reach self-sufficiency in producing its fuel.
Mr. Rowhani said today that Iran would continue with its voluntary suspension of enrichment, referring to injecting uranium gas into centrifuges. But he indicated that such related activities as production, assembling and testing centrifuges would continue.
"We are committed to the suspension of actual enrichment but we have no decision to expand the suspension," he said.
Iran reported that it was test firing its long-range missile on Saturday during a military exercise, while the nuclear agency's state members were debating in Vienna how to deal with the case.
Iran's state-run television said the purpose of the exercises was to test and evaluate new equipment and maintain "the spirit of Jihad," meaning holy war.
The missile, known as Shahab 3, has a range of 810 miles and was made by Iran's revolutionary guards.
Iran's hard-line Parliament said today that it would not ratify the additional protocol after Saturday's resolution. The additional protocol needed to be ratified by Parliament before it could become a law.
"The continued defiance of principles by the I.A.E.A.'s board of governors leaves no room for us to ratify the additional protocol, and will lead us to question what is the point for the nation to leave its doors open for I.A.E.A. inspectors," said the statement read in Parliament today.
The statement also urged the government to seriously pursue the completion of the fuel cycle and pay no attention to the resolutions.
"We strongly reject the illegal clauses in this resolution and the inappropriate responses of the board of governors to the good intentions of the Islamic Republic," it said.