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. Iran threatens to bar IAEA inspectors
MOSCOW (AFP) Oct 14, 2004
A top Iranian lawmaker said here Thursday that Iran would bar international nuclear inspections in its country if debate on its nuclear program moved to the UN Security Council as sought by the United States.

If the issue goes to the Security Council "there will be no place for any kind of inspections, no continuation of our openess with IAEA inspectors," Aladdin Broujerdi, chairman of the Iranian parliament's committee on national security and foreign affairs said at a news conference.

The United States has pushed for examination of Iran's nuclear program to be taken up in the Security Council, while Russia reiterated Wednesday that it opposed such a move.

"Russian leaders recognize Iran's rights under article 4 (of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty)."

The article states that signatories who do not posses nuclear technology may acquire it and "there is no rationale for handing Iran's nuclear dossier to the Security Council," Broujerdi said.

Broujerdi met with a host of top officials in Moscow ahead of a visit by Alexander Rumyantsev, head of Russia's atomic energy agency, to the Bushehr nuclear power station in Iran that Russia is building and that Iran wants to have online by next year.

Rumyantsev could sign an agreement on return to Russia of spent nuclear fuel from the plant during his visit, expected in November, "if commercial issues are resolved by that time," Iran's ambassador to Russia, Gholamreza Shafei, told the press conference.

Thursday Russia's atomic energy agency announced work that work on the first reactor bloc at the Bushehr facility had been completed, ITAR-TASS news agency said.

The United States has opposed the 800 million-dollar project over concerns that spent fuel from the plant could be used by Iran to produce low-yield nuclear weapons.

Boujerdi said Iran's nuclear program would focus on producing power for civilian use and would include medical and biological research.

"The American argument that we have oil and gas resources and therefore we don't need nuclear power sounds like a joke," Boujerdi said.

"One day the resources will run out and we are responsible to future generations of our people."

The IAEA has set a November 25 deadline for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activities and answer all questions about its nuclear ambitions.

The uranium enrichment process produces fuel for civilian reactors but is also used for production of the explosive core of atomic bombs.

Examination of Iran's nuclear program by the UN Security Council would be a first step to imposing UN economic sanctions against the Islamic republic, something Russia, which has veto power at the Council, is likely to oppose because of its deep economic ties with the country.

During his two-day visit, Broujerdi said he also discussed the purchase of new Tupelov 204 airliners from Russia as well as the participation of Russia's gas monoply Gazprom in the development of Iran's South Pars gas field.

Plans for the construction of a non-nuclear power plant and the launch of a Iranian space satellite by Russia were also discussed, he said.

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