"The plan to oblige the government to resume enrichment has the support of 238 deputies" out of a total 290 ... AFP
TEHRAN - A huge majority of MPs in Iran's conservative-controlled parliament wants the country to resume uranium enrichment and will soon begin discussing a bill that would force the reformist government to do so, a senior deputy said Sunday.
"The plan to oblige the government to resume enrichment has the support of 238 deputies" out of a total 290, said Allaeddin Borujerdi, the head of the Majlis (parliament) foreign policy and national security committee.
He told reporters that a bill on the issue "would be certain of having a large majority" of deputies voting for it.
The conservative MP said that his committee would begin discussing a "bill to oblige the government to develop civilian nuclear technology" on Tuesday.
If approved, such legislation would be certain to spark a crisis between Iran and the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Under pressure from the IAEA, Tehran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment in October last year while inspectors probed allegations the Islamic republic has been seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.
Enriched uranium, depending on the level of purification, can be used as both fuel for a civilian reactor or as the explosive core of a nuclear bomb.
Iran says it only wants to generate electricity, and points out that enrichment is permitted by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if for peaceful purposes.
In a resolution passed on September 18, the IAEA called on Iran to widen the suspension to include all uranium enrichment-related activities.
Non-compliance by Iran could see the country being hauled before the UN Security Council.