TEHRAN: Iran will keep the option of withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty on the table and will seriously consider it if the West intensifies sanctions or refers the case to the UN Security Council, a leading lawmaker warned on Monday.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi said Iran cannot remain an NPT member while it is punished for exercising its nuclear rights, while offering terms for a deal, at the same time halting high-quality enrichment in exchange for cancellation of punishing Western sanctions.
''It's not acceptable that Iran respects NPT but the U.S. and the West ignore NPT's Article 6, reducing nuclear weapons, and Article 4, right to enrichment,'' Boroujerdi said, according to the state TV's Al-Alam website.
''Therefore, there is no reason for Iran to remain an NPT member under such circumstances,'' he said.
Boroujerdi heads the Iranian parliament's security and foreign policy committee.
The 1968 treaty aims to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Signatories commit to allowing international inspections of their nuclear facilities. Article 4 endorses the right of nations to peaceful nuclear development, and Article 6 states the goal of eventual nuclear disarmament.
Iran signed the pact in 1968 and ratified it in 1970. Key nuclear powers, like India, Pakistan and Israel, have not signed. India and Pakistan have tested nuclear bombs. The West fears Iran may be aiming to develop nuclear weapons.
Tehran has denied the charges, saying its program is geared toward generating electricity and producing radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.
Boroujerdi said the final decision on pulling out of NPT rests with the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Supreme National Security Council, the body that handles the country's nuclear policy.