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. Iranian president slams draft IAEA resolution
TEHRAN (AFP) Nov 25, 2004
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Thursday criticised an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution on its nuclear activities drawn up by Britain, France and Germany, state television reported.

"The resolution presented by the European countries is not a good resolution," Khatami said, adding that "intense negotiations are currently underway between non-aligned states and the Europeans to change the draft."

The IAEA will decide at a board of governors meeting which opened Thursday whether to bring Iran before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, sought by the United States for what it says is a covert nuclear weapons programme.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei is to report to the agency's 35-nation board on whether Iran has fulfilled its pledge to suspend all of its controversial nuclear fuel work.

The draft resolution stops short of calling for a Security Council referral, but nevertheless maintains strong pressure on the Islamic regime.

But Khatami complained that the Europeans were trying to legally oblige Iran to maintain an unlimited suspension, whereas it had only agreed to freeze its uranium enrichment activities for the duration of a fresh round of negotiations aimed at reaching a long-term solution to the nuclear stand-off.

"The non-aligned states, like Iran, insist on the natural and legal right of all IAEA members to master civilian nuclear technology," Khatami said.

A similar complaint was also made Thursday by the hardline head of the Iranian parliament's foreign policy and national security commission, Allaeddin Borujerdi.

"We will not allow the Europeans to deprive Iran of enrichment," he was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.

Enriching uranium for peaceful purposes is permitted by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), although it is feared Iran could divert its bid to generate atomic energy into a weapons programme by enriching uranium to weapons grade.

Officials here have also complained that the draft's demands that Iran allow unrestricted access by IAEA inspectors to sites here went beyond the terms of the NPT and its additional protocol.

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