Iran threatens to pullout from NPT
11/10/2004 2:23:00 PM GMT
Iran will withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and continue its nuclear program secretly if Western states threaten or put more pressure on Tehran, a top Iranian diplomat said on Wednesday.
Iranian government officials have frequently said that the Islamic republic doesn’t intend to follow North Korea's example of pulling out from the NPT.
Western diplomats expect Iran to announce shortly that it has agreed to freeze all activities related to the nuclear fuel cycle as part of an agreement with the European Union to avert sending Tehran’s nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
“We should have patience and fortitude to pass through these tough times,” former leader Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.
But Sirus Naseri, a member of the Iranian negotiating team in the negotiations with the EU, warned that Iran could take serious steps if the talks did not proceed as Tehran wants.
"If they start to pressure or threaten us, then we will put aside the treaty and go underground," the semi-official Mehr news agency cited Naseri as saying.
"In that case, after one or two years, America and the EU will send mediators to talk to us and find a solution," he said. “We will continue the negotiations for as long as the Westerners do not move towards making serious threats.” He added.
The U.S. and Israel accuse accuses Iran of covertly developing nuclear weapons. The Islamic republic denies the U.S. allegations and maintains that its program is mainly aimed at the peaceful generation of electricity and insists on its right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Iran rejects full suspension
Naseri also said that Iran "will never rely on other countries to supply us with the nuclear fuel, which means we will definitely keep our enrichment program."
"We will never accept cessation (of enrichment). This issue has been removed from the talks' agenda," he added.
He confirmed that a provisional deal was reached during talks with the EU last weekend, stressing that it would ease international pressure on Iran. "This agreement will provide us with a peaceful period, which we needed,"
"Acting properly and reaching an understanding with the EU ... will strengthen Iran's international status. Otherwise we would be put in a difficult situation," he said.
But Naseri said that Tehran would continue enrichment if it felt the EU was dragging its feet on a final resolution. He added that Iran could use the suspension time to study and improve its nuclear technology.
"Normally when you resume an activity it will be of a higher quality than before," he said.
U.S. has final word on EU-Iranian deal
Washington is claiming that Iran is using its talks with the EU to buy time and ease international pressure while continuing to develop its nuclear program in secret.
Naseri said that the U.S. had the final word on the EU agreement. "We know that the main party, absent in the talks, is America ... we know that the EU must coordinate with America and they themselves are not the decision-makers,"
He added that Iran was ready to negotiate with Washington directly if it treated Tehran as an equal. "If one day America understands that we are at the same level, then we can hold direct talks with America. But right now, we do not see America having such an attitude." he said.