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Iran threatens to end spot checks of N-sites

September 26, 2005

TEHRAN, Sept 25: Iran threatened on Sunday to halt spot checks of its nuclear sites after the UN watchdog passed a resolution requiring Tehran to be reported to the Security Council over its atomic plans. Some commentators in the Islamic country expressed surprise over how some countries that had voiced support for its nuclear stance had voted at Saturday’s meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

China, Russia and South Africa, which had supported Iran, abstained from the vote, while India surprised all by voting for the resolution against traditional ally Iran and backing fellow nuclear powers, the United States, France and Britain.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki rejected as illegal the resolution that called on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment-related activities until it proves they are peaceful and resume talks with France, Britain and Germany.

He said now Iran had no reason to implement the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that allows the UN to make spot checks of nuclear facilities. The protocol has not yet been ratified by parliament.

“Iran has no legal commitment to continue implementation of the Additional Protocol,” ISNA quoted Mottaki as saying. “The resolution is illegal, illogical and politically motivated.”

Mottaki predicted a rough ride at the next IAEA board of governors meeting on November, when Iran’s case could be referred to the Security Council.

“We will use all diplomatic measures to preserve our right (to have nuclear technology),” he told ISNA student news agency.

Iran denies it is seeking atomic bombs and says its nuclear programme is only for generating electricity.

Mottaki said Iran had no intention to pull out of the NPT if the Islamic Republic falls foul of the Security Council.

Iran had expected stronger backing at the IAEA.

“Overestimating some countries verbal support and making a fuss over it was a mistake. It has imposed huge costs on Iran,” said the daily Aftab-i-Yazd.

Russia, which is helping Iran build a nuclear power station, was diplomatic in its assessment, saying it hoped its abstention showed dissatisfaction with some “disputable variants on settling the situation”, but that the resolution would lead to further talks to settle questions over Iran’s nuclear work.

“Russia abstained from voting together with China, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and a group of other countries. Our decision was prompted by the fact that the resolution contains ambiguous assessments and disputable variants on settling the situation,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

“We view the resolution as a signal for the continuation and intensification of IAEA cooperation with Iran for the clarification of the remaining questions in relation to Tehran’s nuclear programme.

South Africa said it regretted the division and lack of time given to reaching a consensus.

India denied taking sides when it voted in favour.

“It should be noted that several non-aligned and developing countries apart from India, have also voted in favour of the resolution,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.—Reuters