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. Iran warns UN nuclear watchdog on eve of key meeting
TEHRAN (AFP) Sep 18, 2005
Iran on Sunday warned of a "radicalisation" in a stand-off over its nuclear programme if the UN's nuclear watchdog, due to open a key meeting on Monday, refers the issue to the Security Council.

"We do not want the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to act rashly, unilaterally and in an extreme way," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

"If they act politically instead of dealing with the issue in a technical way, there will be a radicalisation of the atmosphere," he added, telling the agency to "look into the case with logic and realism so it does not get complicated".

The IAEA's 35-nation board of governors is to meet in Vienna to consider a push by the United States and European Union to haul Tehran before the UN Security Council for resuming sensitive fuel cycle work.

Britain, France and Germany have been trying to use economic and security incentives to persuade Tehran to renounce its nuclear fuel cycle work, something which could potentially be diverted to produce nuclear weapons.

Iran insists such work is only for peaceful purposes and a "right" it should enjoy as a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"The IAEA should be careful not to fall under the influence of some countries and not to ask anything more from us than what is in the safeguards or the NPT, because we will not accept it," Asefi said.

"The Islamic republic of Iran is deaf to the language of threats," he added. "We hope that they follow the path of logic so the case returns to a normal path. The language of bullying has never had any use in the past."

Iran agreed to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment activities last November under the so-called Paris agreement, but in August Tehran resumed uranium conversion work -- a precursor to the ultra-sensitive process of uranium enrichment -- after angrily rejecting the latest offer by the EU-3.

However Asefi said that resuming enrichment itself at a facility in the central city of Natanz "is not on the agenda for the time being.

"We hope that tomorrow's meeting will be encouraging in order to continue the negotiations. If the result of tomorrow's meeting is a radical one, we will make decisions based on it."

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