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Archive for Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Negotiator again warns against U.N. referral

September 21, 2005

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— Iran on Tuesday threatened to resume uranium enrichment and bar open inspections of its nuclear facilities if an ongoing meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog decides to refer it to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

However, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, offered Europe a new round of talks, saying the world should give Tehran's new government a chance to reach a political understanding.

At the International Atomic Energy Agency board meeting in Vienna, European negotiators prepared a draft resolution that would refer Iran to the Security Council for alleged "failures and breaches of its obligations to comply" with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

But Russia's opposition could delay the vote until a later meeting of the 35-member board, diplomats in Vienna said.

Larijani criticized the discussion in Vienna, saying nuclear technology has become a matter of national pride and that the Iranian government would not compromise over its right to enrich uranium.

"If they want to speak with Iran with the language of force, Iran will have no choice, in order to preserve its technological achievements, to get out of the framework of the NPT and the additional protocol and resume (uranium) enrichment," Larijani told a news conference.

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