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Iran threatens to end spot checks of nuclear sites
Iran threatened on Sunday to halt spot checks of its nuclear facilities after the U.N. watchdog passed a resolution requiring Tehran to be reported to the Security Council over what the West fears is a covert atomic arms programme, Reuters reported.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Saturday rejected as illegal the resolution passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that could take Iran's case to the U.N. Security Council at a later, unspecified date, the student news agency ISNA said.
Iran currently implements the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allowing U.N. inspectors to make unannounced checks of nuclear facilities. The protocol has not yet been ratified by Iran's hardline parliament.
"Iran has no legal commitment to continue implementation of the Additional Protocol," ISNA quoted Mottaki as saying. "The resolution is illegal, illogical and politically motivated."
But Mottaki said Iran had no intention to pull out of the NPT if the Islamic Republic falls foul of the Security Council.
"Iran will respect the NPT and will continue to cooperate with the IAEA," Mottaki said.
The resolution called on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment-related activities and to resume talks with France, Britain and Germany, which collapsed after two years when Iran resumed parts of its sensitive nuclear activities last month.
Enriched uranium can be used to make atomic weapons.
Mottaki said Iran would not yield to international pressure to abandon its peaceful nuclear activities, but was ready to continue talks within the framework of the NPT.
"We will never exclude talks. But Iran will include new countries in talks," Mottaki said.
Mottaki predicted a rough ride at the next IAEA board of governors meeting on November, when Iran's case could be referred to the Security Council.
"We will use all diplomatic measures to preserve our right (to have nuclear technology)."
Hardline lawmakers, who control a majority in Iran's parliament, called on the government on Sunday to resume uranium enrichment activities.
"It was an unfair ... resolution. We urge the government to nullify the voluntary suspension of Iran's peaceful nuclear work phase by phase," said a statement, signed by some 180 deputies.
Iran had repeatedly warned that it would start uranium enrichment, suspended under last year's agreement with the EU foreign ministers, if its case was sent to the Security Council.
"If the EU refers Iran's case to the Council, we will adopt appropriate measures," Mottaki said.
"Iran will announce its final decision after the return of its delegation from Vienna and necessary reviews."