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Iran Warns of Retaliation If Sanctions Imposed
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Iran warned on Sunday that it will take retaliatory actions if it is slapped with sanctions over its disputed nuclear program, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"If they (Western countries) opt for economic sanctions, Iran will reciprocate with proportionate decisions," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini told a weekly press briefing.

He warned that any economic sanctions on Iran will have repercussions both at bilateral, regional and international scales, according to the IRNA report.

The spokesman said that there are two directions in the current standoff over Iran's nuclear issue -- one is passing a resolution in the UN Security Council, and the other is entering into negotiations to reach an understanding.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran advocates the second direction and has emphasized the need for negotiations so far," Hosseini said.

Any Security Council resolution on Iran would speed up the current negotiations between Iran and the world powers to a stalemate, he added.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution in late July, urging Tehran to suspend by Aug. 31 all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, or face prospect of sanctions.

Iran's top officials have reiterated many times that Iran would not step back on its legal nuclear rights, warning the West not to imagine that the country would suspend uranium enrichment.

EU foreign ministers issued a statement on Oct. 17, saying that if Iran does not comply with UN Security Council's requirements, the EU would "work for the adoption of measures under Article 41 of the UN Charter," which stipulates economic and diplomatic sanctions.

(Xinhua News Agency October 23, 2006)

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