By Paul Hughes
TEHRAN - Iran warned on Saturday it would return to making nuclear fuel and that the Middle East would get even more unstable if the Islamic Republic was sent to the U.N. Security Council over its atomic program.
Washington is seeking to haul Iran before the council for possible sanctions, arguing that Tehran is making fuel for atomic warheads. Iran insists it intends to use enriched uranium only in power stations.
"If the Americans succeed in referring Iran's case to the Security Council, Iran will immediately suspend all its voluntary confidence-building measures," Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani told a conference.
Iran agreed last year to suspend making nuclear fuel for a few months while it held talks with Britain, France and Germany. The EU states are encouraging Iran to drop its fuel program in return for economic incentives.
"Parliamentarians may even come up with a harder decision," Rohani added.
Many conservative parliamentarians have called for Iran to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
In the shorter term they have threatened that Iran will not ratify the Additional Protocol to the NPT, which permits snap U.N. inspections of nuclear sites.
"The security and stability of the region would become a problem," said the mid-ranking cleric who is secretary-general of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.
"This would be a particular problem for the United States because it has a lot of troops and equipment in region and is in fact our imposed neighbor."
Iran often complains that it feels besieged by the United States, which has troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and has conducted military exercises in the Caspian Sea.
But Rohani still held out hope that talks with Europeans could pay dividends.
"If there is no U.S. pressure, we believe that in the near future we will reach an agreement in our talks with the Europeans because we feel the European do not want to deprive us of our legitimate rights," he said.
Iran-EU talks continue in Geneva next week, according to diplomats.