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Iran Threatens to Quit NPT If Sent to UNSC

Iran threatened to quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and resume enrichment if it is referred to the UN Security Council, top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani told a news conference Tuesday.

"If the nuclear issue is reported to the UN Security Council, Iran will be left with no choice. We undoubtedly have to get out of the framework of the NPT and the additional protocol... and resume enrichment," Ali Larijani said. Larijani also threatened to prohibit surprise inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities if Tehran's nuclear case is referred to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

However, the negotiator stressed that Iran was still ready to hold talks with the European trio of Britain, France and Germany. "We can not be engaged with talks based on intimidation. The Europeans ask us to come to the negotiation table, but they threaten at the same time, which is not the atmosphere of negotiations, but of dictation," Larijani said.

He also said if the European Union (EU) held an "intimidating stance" to Iran, it would be "unable" to solve the issue. Tehran's threat came as the EU's nuclear talks with Tehran have grounded to a halt over Iran's resumption of suspended enrichment activities in August. The EU trio are now calling to refer Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council.

The hardline negotiator further warned other countries not to support EU's referral attempt or they would face an unfavorable situation in the economic cooperation with Iran.

"Those countries that have trade relation, especially that of oil, with Iran, must stand with Iran," Larijani warned, adding that Iran would in the future make decisions on the participation of foreign countries in Iran's oil sector according to their stances on Iran's nuclear case. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors started a conference on Monday with Iran's case high on the agenda.

The European trio has delivered a draft resolution to the conference, which accuses Iran of failing to cooperate transparently and actively with the agency and urges to report Iran's case to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. Earlier in the day, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported that the group of states representing G77 in the IAEA Board of Governors had voiced opposition against referring Iran's case to the Security Council.

"India, leading the Board's G77 members, announced that New Delhi has no inclination to pile up pressures on Iran and wants settlement of the crisis within the IAEA framework," IRNA quoted a diplomat as saying.

The Europeans believe that Tehran can provide objective guarantees that its nuclear program is fully peaceful just after it abandons all work related to building nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium conversion and enrichment.

Iran insists that it should never give up legal rights of the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

The United States accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the disguise of civil usage, a charge rejected by Tehran.

(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2005)

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