Top Iran official: Tehran should reconsider cooperation with UN nuclear agency
Ali Larijani slams 'hostile' tone of IAEA report on Iran's nuclear program as 'unprofessional', accuses the agency of becoming a political tool of the U.S. and its allies.
The Iranian parliament called on the government Sunday to revise its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the wake of a damning report on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, state television IRIB reported.
Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani said that after the latest IAEA report, there was an urgent need to revise cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog. He was referring to IAEA report released Tuesday, which stated that Iran had carried out tests "relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device."
Tehran categorically rejected the report as unbalanced and politically motivated.
Larijani said the IAEA has become a political tool of the United States and its allies, and that the "hostile" tone of the report meant cooperation with the IAEA should therefore be seriously revised.
"The parliament deems necessary to review [Iran's] cooperation with the agency, because it showed with its new approach that cooperation and non-cooperation makes no difference in its decision -- which are unprofessional anyway," he told reporters, according to local media.
A special parliamentary committee has reportedly been assigned to explore how the cooperation could be downgraded.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that Iran must respond soon to a report by the UN atomic agency's report: “Iran has a long history of deception and denial regarding its nuclear program and in the coming days we expect Iran to answer the serious questions raised by this report,” Clinton told reporters gathered in Hawaii for the a Pacific Rim summit.
“The U.S. will continue to consult closely with our allies on the next steps we can take to increase pressure on Iran,” Clinton said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency showed satellite images, letters and diagrams to 35 nations earlier Friday in Vienna as it sought to underpin its case that Iran apparently is working secretly on developing a nuclear weapon.
Iran’s chief envoy to the IAEA, however, rejected the presentation as based on material fabricated by the United States and its allies.
The IAEA report strongly suggested that Iran is using the cover of a peaceful nuclear program to produce atomic weaponry.
Iran is under UN sanctions for refusing to stop uranium enrichment — which can produce both nuclear fuel and fissile warhead material — and other suspected activities that the international community fears could be used to make atomic arms. It dismisses such allegations and says its activities are meant to be used only for energy or research.
Western diplomats hope a Nov. 17-18 meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation governing board will adopt a resolution denouncing Iran's nuclear activities and calling on Tehran to start addressing the agency's growing concerns about its aims.
Russian and Chinese reluctance may hinder such steps, but U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday that he was working with the government in Moscow to reach a unified response to the Iranian issue.