Iran calls nuclear watchdog resolution as "illegal and illogical" and threatens response
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s foreign minister called a resolution by the U.N. nuclear watchdog that puts it just one step away from possible Security Council sanctions “illegal and illogical” and accused the United States on Sunday of orchestrating the measure.Separately, in a letter to Iran’s ultraconservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, some 180 out of 290 lawmakers called on his government to cancel Iran’s voluntary suspension of nuclear activities and scale back cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.The resolution passed Saturday by the IAEA board could lead to Iran’s referral to the U.N. Security Council for violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty – and possible sanctions – unless Tehran eases suspicions about its nuclear activities. Iran insists its nuclear program is designed for generating electricity.Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called the resolution “political, illegal and illogical” and threatened unspecified punitive measures against Britain, France and Germany – the key three European countries negotiating with Iran.”The three European countries implemented a planned scenario, already determined by the United States,” he said on state-run television.”The Foreign Ministry will define and implement an appropriate response,” he said. “Their motion has paved the way for creation of a new situation that will create obstacles for cooperation.”Tehran had already warned that, if the resolution was approved, it could respond by starting uranium enrichment – a possible path to nuclear arms – and by reducing IAEA powers to inspect its activities.Mottaki said the rotating presidency of the European Union “is unable to manage the situation” and made decisions under U.S. pressure. Britain holds the current EU presidency.France, Britain and Germany, “through rendering this politically motivated, illegal and illogical resolution, removed any final doubts that they are not committed to their obligations under agreements reached with Iran in the past 20 months,” Mottaki said.Diplomats from countries backing the resolution said it set Iran up for possible Security Council referral as early as November, when the board next meets in regular session.To avoid referral, diplomats said, Iran is being told to suspend all uranium enrichment activities, to give up construction of a heavy water nuclear reactor and to give agency experts access to research and development locations and documentation.The resolution also demands that Iran immediately ratify an additional protocol to the NPT that allows more extensive IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities.Iran has repeatedly said that the treaty allows it to pursue such activities for peaceful purposes, and that it will not give up the right to enrich uranium to produce nuclear fuel.Parliamentary speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said parliament will not ratify the additional NPT protocol because it is “against the definite rights of the Iranian nation,” according to state-run radio.Russia, one of the countries that abstained from Saturday’s vote, called on Iran on Sunday to cooperate with the agency.”We expect that Iran will actively cooperate with the IAEA with the purpose of quickly closing all outstanding questions,” said a statement from Russia’s Foreign Ministry.The resolution was approved by 22 of 35 board nations, with 12 abstentions and one rejection – by Venezuela – rather than the usual consensus. Only twice in the past decade has the IAEA board voted on an issue instead of adopting it by consensus. Both times were on North Korea for leaving the nonproliferation treaty, first in 1993, then in 2003.While the U.N. Security Council could impose sanctions, that is unlikely because of opposition by veto-wielding council members Russia and China.The United States had applied strong pressure on Russia, China, India and other countries to join in a “unified message” to Iran. China also chose to abstain.Both Russia and China look to energy-rich Iran as a major trading partner. Russia is building a nuclear reactor in Iran and China relies on oil imports to support its economic growth.Iran resumed uranium conversion early in August, a step prior to enrichment, but continues to suspend uranium enrichment, the last stage that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons.The resolution represents a victory for Washington, which had tried for more than two years to enlist board support to haul Iran before the Security Council.————-Associated Press Writers George Jahn in Vienna, Austria and Tarek Al-Issawi in Dubai, UAE, contributed to this report.Vail, Colorado
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