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. Iranian hardliners rubber-stamp claim to nuclear fuel
TEHRAN (AFP) May 28, 2005
Iran's Guardians Council, a hardline political watchdog, indicated Saturday that it had approved a law that obliges the government to "guarantee" production of the country's own nuclear fuel.

The bill, entitled "acquiring nuclear technology for peaceful purposes", was passed earlier this month by right-wingers in parliament seeking to send a defiant message in the face of international demands that Iran abandon sensitive nuclear activities.

Guardians Council spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said the 12-member watchdog, which screens all laws, "had examined several laws over the past week which were not deemed to be in contradiction with Islamic law or the constitution, among them the law on nuclear technology."

Deputies had already begun voting on the bill in October 2004, and it has been largely seen as a symbolic and defiant piece of legislation rolled by deputies at moments of tension in their government's negotiations with Britain, France and Germany on the nuclear issue.

Although will put Iran's claim to nuclear technology into law, the bill does not fix a deadline for an end to Iran's suspension of nuclear work.

Iran insists its bid to master the full nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment, is merely aimed at generating electricity. But the process can also be used for military purposes.

According to the text of the bill, "the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is obliged... to provide the nation with peaceful nuclear technology, including guaranteeing the fuel cycle, to produce 20,000 megawatts of atomic electrity."

It calls on the government to achieve this by working "within the framework of the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and international laws, to use scientists, researchers and international and domestic facilities and also pursue the implementation of the commitment of the IAEA and of countries which posses the technology towards the members of the NPT."

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