IRAN: Parliament speaker questions value of belonging to NPT after IAEA rebuke/Russian energy minister remains optimisticRecord ID: 313870
- Title: IRAN: Parliament speaker questions value of belonging to NPT after IAEA rebuke/Russian energy minister remains optimistic
- Date: 1st December 2009
- Summary: TEHRAN, IRAN (NOVEMBER 30, 2009) (REUTERS) (CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY) IRANIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ALI LARIJANI APPROACHING PODIUM IN NEWS CONFERENCE HALL JOURNALISTS SEATED IN NEWS CONFERENCE HALL NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) IRANIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ALI LARIJANI SAYING: "Iran is willing to follow up the nuclear issue within the framework of the agency and this is the diplomatic solution. If they (Western countries) are seeking a sort of political deception Iran will definitely change its path. They should decide to choose their path, if they return back to the diplomatic path they could more easily reach an understanding with Iran." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) IRANIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ALI LARIJANI SAYING: "I believe that their (Westerners) moves are harming the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) the most now, whether you are a member of the NPT or pull out of it makes no difference.'" NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) IRANIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ALI LARIJANI SAYING: 'According to the NPT the agency (International Atomic Energy Agency) should provide the needed fuel for its member countries and provide technical support and they are not doing it, so NPT has become a tool that they use during their board meetings to create a political atmosphere." JOURNALISTS TAKING NOTES LARIJANI NEWS CONFERENCE COMING TO END IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI AND RUSSIAN ENERGY MINISTER SERGEI SHMATKO ENTERING NEWS CONFERENCE HALL NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS CAMERA OPERATORS FILMING
- Reuters ID: LVAKQCT27OP241K9J7N1V2Q2BK0
- Duration: 00:02:31
- Topics: Defence / Military
- Story Text: Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani questions the benefits of remaining in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, after the U.N. nuclear agency (IAEA) rebuked Tehran for building a uranium enrichment plant in secret. Russian Energy Minister Sergei Schmatko, on a visit to Tehran, remains optimistic that Tehran and the IAEA can hold productive talks.
Iran's parliament speaker on Monday (November 30) questioned the benefits of remaining in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, after the U.N. nuclear agency rebuked Tehran for building a uranium enrichment plant in secret.
The comments by Ali Larijani, an influential conservative politician, were a further sign of rising tension between the Islamic Republic and world powers seeking a diplomatic solution to a long-running row over Iran's nuclear programme.
"I believe that their (Westerners') moves are harming the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) the most now, whether you are a member of the NPT or pull out of it has no difference," Larijani told a news conference.
The 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) angered Iran on Friday (November 27) when it censured it for secretly building a second uranium enrichment plant in a mountain bunker near the holy city of Qom, in addition to one in Natanz.
Hitting back, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government on Sunday (November 29) announced plans to build 10 enrichment plants, in what would represent a major expansion of its nuclear programme.
The United States condemned the announcement and analysts said it would accelerate calls for more U.N. sanctions against Iran over atomic activities that Washington suspects is aimed at building a nuclear bomb, something Tehran strongly denies.
In criticism of the IAEA, Larijani said it was not providing nuclear fuel and technical support to its members as it should under the terms of the NPT.
'According the NPT the agency (IAEA) should provide the needed fuel for the agency's member countries and to provide technical support and they are not doing it, so NPT has become a tool that they use during their board meetings to create a political atmosphere," said Larijani.
Friday's resolution -- which won rare backing from China and Russia -- by the 35-nation IAEA board was a sign of spreading alarm over Tehran's failure to dispel fears it has clandestine plans to build nuclear bombs, a charge Iran denies.
It urged Iran to clarify the original purpose of the recently disclosed Fordow enrichment site, hidden inside a mountain bunker, stop construction and confirm there are no more hidden sites.
The vote reflected exasperation with Iran's retreat from an IAEA-brokered draft deal to provide it with fuel for a medical nuclear reactor if it agreed to part with its enriched uranium, which could be turned into bomb material if further refined.
Larijani said there was still room for diplomacy.
"Iran is willing to follow up the nuclear issue within the framework of the agency and this is the diplomatic solution. If they (Western countries) are seeking a sort of political deception Iran will definitely change its path. They should decide to choose their path, if they return back to the diplomatic path they could easier reach an understanding with Iran," he said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko held a joint news conference after bilateral talks in Tehran on Monday.
Shmatko said he remained optimistic that a compromise could be reached between Tehran and the "six powers" - the EU3+3 - UK, France, Germany, who have led European diplomatic efforts, plus the US, Russia, and China.
"Of course we have discussed with our Iranian colleagues the current situation following the recent resolution by the IAEA governing board. From my personal point of view, we (Russian government) remain optimistic. I know the Iranian negotiators are very experienced and very patient negotiators and we don't need to politicise the current situation and my reading is that we still have a good opportunity for further negotiations. There is mutual respect among all parties involved and there remains possibility for compromise. From the viewpoint of the Russian Federation, and this is in our interest, we want to see productive talks between Tehran and the six powers," Schmatko said.
During the news conference Mottaki said Iran's nuclear activities will continue.
''Such measure (IAEA resolution) would destroy the foundations and would deal a blow to the U.N. Security Council and the board of governors of IAEA agency, so the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue its legitimate activities and its stance in this regard is quite clear and transparent, "said Mottaki.
Iran does not want to leave the NPT, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, told Reuters later on Monday.
Salehi was speaking after a briefing with Shmatko who was on a visit to the Bushehr nuclear power plant, which a Russian state company is helping to build.
Top Iranian officials have repeatedly said Tehran has no intention of leaving the NPT, under which its nuclear sites are subject to regular U.N. nuclear watchdog inspections, or seek nuclear weapons it says violate the tenets of Islam.
Strategic analysts also believe Iran would think twice before quitting the NPT since such a move would betray nuclear weapons ambitions and could provoke a pre-emptive attack by Israel and possibly the United States.
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