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. Iran warns it could quit nuclear treaty, issues oil threat
TEHRAN (AFP) Sep 20, 2005
Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani warned Tuesday that Tehran could quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if it is subjected to the "language of force" in a stand-off over its nuclear programme.

Responding to European efforts to haul Iran before the UN Security Council over "breaches" of international atomic safeguards, Larijani also said Tehran would link its oil business and other economic trade with individual countries based on whose side they took in the dispute.

"If you want to use the language of force, Iran will be left with no choice, in order to preserve its technical achievements, to get out of the framework of the NPT and out of the framework of the additional protocol, and resume enrichment," Larijani said.

"If, in the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), they want to talk to us in the language of humiliation, threat or introduce the so-called trigger mechanism or take it to the United Nations Security Council, we will revise our stance on the additional protocol (to the NPT) and enrichment," he added.

He later elaborated: "If our dossier is sent to the Security Council, we will cease the application of the additional protocol" -- a clause that gives reinforced inspection powers to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"Concerning the NPT, it depends how they will send our case to the Security Council," he said.

Larijani, whose country is accused of secretly developing nuclear weapons, also warned that states which lined up with Britain, France and Germany against Iran -- OPEC's number-two producer -- would suffer economic consequences.

"Those countries that have economic transactions with Iran, especially in the field of oil, have not defended Iran's rights so far," complained Larijani, the hardline secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.

This top decision-making body, he said, was "very determined to make a balance between these two things.

"So based on how much they defend Iran's national right will facilitate their participation in Iran's economic field."

He was later asked if this meant countries like Japan -- which recently signed a major contract to develop Iran's Azadegan oil field -- could lose contracts in Iran.

"It is not only Japan but other countries that are concerned. We will examine their attitude," Larijani said, adding that the future of the Azadegan contract "depends on their (Japan's) conduct".

Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only and that civilian nuclear fuel work is a right enshrined in the NPT.

"If you want to pressure beyond the NPT and take it to the Security Council, you will not gain anything and only make trouble for yourselves," he warned, accusing the EU-3 of trying to "humiliate" Iran by demanding it abandon nuclear fuel technology.

"The Europeans have been trying to humiliate the Iranians. Do not doubt that enrichment is a national desire," Larijani said, dismissing demands by the EU-3 that Iran give up nuclear fuel as the best "objective guarantee" the clerical regime will not seek nuclear weapons.

"We will not accept excessive pressure. They cannot play with a country's pride," he said, comparing the nuclear crisis to Iran's struggle to nationalise its oil industry from British control in the 1950s.

"The Europeans keep telling us of this big giant -- the UN Security Council. But this will not mean the end of the Iranian people," he said.

"I remind them of the North Korean case: after two years they accept North Korea's right to enrichment. They should do the same with us."

All rights reserved. 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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