Reuters: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Wednesday obliging the government to review the level of its cooperation with the IAEA nuclear watchdog after the United Nations approved sanctions on Tehran over its atomic program. By Parisa Hafezi
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Wednesday obliging the government to review the level of its cooperation with the IAEA nuclear watchdog after the United Nations approved sanctions on Tehran over its atomic program.
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to impose sanctions on Iran’s trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology, in an attempt to stop uranium enrichment work that could produce material to be used in bombs.
“The government is obliged to revise its cooperation level with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” said the bill, which was read out during a parliament session broadcast live on state radio.
The bill also obliges President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government to “accelerate Iran’s nuclear activities”, in defiance of the council’s calls on Iran to halt nuclear enrichment work, which the West fears is a cover to build atomic weapons.
The bill was given double urgency status — meaning that it took precedence over regular legislation. It was backed by 167 deputies out of 207 present in the 290-seat chamber.
The hard-line Guardian Council, a watchdog body, swiftly approved the bill. Deputy Parliament Speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar said it was the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution that the council approved a bill in 5 minutes.
The bill stopped short of approving demands by some politicians who wanted the government to end U.N. inspections of atomic facilities.
Parliament Speaker Gholamali Haddadadel said the bill gave the government the authority to decide about Iran’s cooperation level with the IAEA.
“This bill is a warning to the government not to put the fate of Iran totally in the hands of the IAEA and react in proportion with imposed pressures,” he said.
The president indicated on Sunday that the resolution, which he said was a “piece of torn paper”, would alter Iran’s relationship with the IAEA.
Haddadadel said the bill gave the government authority to decide if it wanted to resolve the atomic standoff through political means in the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“The government’s reaction to international pressures could also be pulling out of the NPT,” Haddadadel said.
Analysts say the conservative-dominated parliament wanted to send a message to the world that hardliners in Iran could force the government to adopt a tougher line.
Ahmadinejad said on Sunday those who backed the resolution, would soon regret their “superficial act”.
Iran in February ended voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the NPT that allowed for short notice IAEA inspections of its nuclear sites, after being referred to the council.