Iran pushes foward plan to review ties with UN nuclear watchdog
Tehran's Foreign Minister Salehi has played down talk of withdrawing from IAEA or NPT, but parliament speaker adamant about reconsidering cooperation in light of recent damning report.
Iran's parliament has appointed a committee to review relations with the United Nations atomic watchdog over its latest report that said the Islamic Republic's nuclear activities appeared to have military dimensions, speaker Ali Larijani was quoted as saying on Sunday.
The 35-nation governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution on Friday voicing "increasing concern" about Iran's nuclear program after an IAEA report saying Tehran appeared to have worked on designing an atom bomb.
Iran says it is enriching uranium only for a planned network of civil nuclear power stations, not nuclear weapons, and has rejected IAEA director Yukiya Amano's report as politicized.
"[Parliament's] national security and foreign policy committee has been appointed to review the manner of [Iran's] cooperation with the agency and relations with it," Larijani said, according to the student news agency ISNA.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has played down talk of Iran withdrawing from the IAEA or the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that has become louder since the report, saying Tehran's response would be "one of patience and vigilance".
"Westerners like to push us towards a hasty reaction and they like to hear that Iran says it would withdraw from the NPT," Salehi said on Wednesday.
But Larijani said lawmakers would consider whether Iran should offer less cooperation to the IAEA.
"If the agency acts within the framework of the charter we will carry out our responsibilities, but if the agency wants to deviate from its responsibilities then it should not expect the cooperation of others," he said.
Iran permits limited, regular IAEA inspections of its declared nuclear installations but does not observe the agency's Additional Protocol allowing for short-notice checks of sites not declared to be nuclear, including research and development facilities.
Russia and China signed up to the resolution calling on Iran to clarify questions over its atomic activities "to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions", but they have resisted pressure from Washington for more UN sanctions.
Iran has said the resolution had strengthened its determination to push ahead with the nuclear program.
"Iran's parliament announces explicitly that such loud and shallow stonewalling by America and the West would never deter the Iranian nation from pursuing nuclear technology," Larijani said.