AFP: Senior Iranian lawmakers warned on Saturday that parliament could hit back at any Security Council sanctions against Tehran by blocking United Nations inspections of its nuclear facilities. by Stuart Williams
TEHRAN, Dec 23, 2006 (AFP) – Senior Iranian lawmakers warned on Saturday that parliament could hit back at any Security Council sanctions against Tehran by blocking United Nations inspections of its nuclear facilities.
A bill to suspend inspections of Iran’s atomic sites by the UN nuclear watchdog has already been prepared by parliament and passed by its security and foreign affairs committee.
Speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel vowed that the bill would be put before parliament if the UN Security Council — as expected — agreed later Saturday to impose sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.
“The commission has approved a bill, whereby Iran will seriously revise the nature of its relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” Hadad Adel told state television.
“We will have no other option but to bring this bill before parliament for debate, if Iran comes under pressure,” he said.
“If efforts are going to be undertaken to deprive the Iranian nation of their undeniable right to achieve peaceful nuclear technology, parliament will not cede this national right,” Hadad Adel added.
Iran in February stopped applying the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which allows extensive access to atomic sites, after the Security Council adopted a resolution urging Tehran to freeze enrichment.
However, up until now it has still been allowing regular UN inspections of its atomic sites, such as the uranium enrichment plant in the central city of Natanz.
Suspending such regular inspections would be in line with threats by Iranian officials to retaliate against the sanctions by reconsidering its cooperation with the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog.
Top figures like chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani have frequently spoken of “painful retaliation” for UN sanctions, in warnings seen as veiled threats of curtailing inspections.
“Policies for interacting with the IAEA should be adjusted in proportion to the Security Council’s measures,” said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the security and foreign affairs committee, referring to the bill.
“Iran has been acting under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and international rules in its nuclear activities, so it will not accept any resolution,” he said.
“If this resolution is adopted, the Iranian supreme national security council will definitely react,” he said according to the Mehr news agency.
After weeks of diplomatic wrangling, the UN Security Council was expected on Saturday to adopt a resolution that would impose restrictions on Iran’s nuclear industry and ballistic missile programme.
Western countries have sought to agree the sanctions in response to Tehran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment which they fear could be used to make a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its atomic drive is peaceful.
Meanwhile, a hardline Iranian daily called on the government to go even further by withdrawing entirely from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, if the UN Security Council agrees sanctions.
“Our officials should use this opportunity to punish the West and announce Iran’s withdrawal from the NPT right after the resolution is adopted. Rest assured that nothing terrible will happen,” said the Kayhan daily.
“The opponent is pointing an empty gun at us and this is a hollow threat,” said the editorial by the paper’s editor Hossein Shariatmadari, who is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.