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. Iran FM blasts nuclear resolution
TEHRAN (AFP) Sep 25, 2005
Iran's foreign minister said Sunday that a UN atomic agency resolution criticising the Islamic republic over its nuclear programme had no legal foundation and was "unacceptable".

Manouchehr Mottaki told the official news agency IRNA that Iran would give its response to the text in the coming days, but nevertheless said negotiations to solve the escalating stand-off were still possible.

"For the past year we voluntarily suspended enrichment activities and implemented the additional protocol, so the resolution has no legal foundation and is therefore not acceptable," Mottaki said.

"In no way will Iran give up its right to nuclear technology, including the fuel cycle for peaceful purposes, as is enshrined in the NPT."

But Mottaki said Iran was "committed to the NPT and does not see the path of negotiations closed."

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Saturday passed a European-sponsored resolution that opened the door to reporting Iran to the UN Security Council for violating international nuclear safeguards, in a divisive vote that signalled an escalation of the West's face-off with the Islamic republic.

The resolution drafted by European Union negotiators Britain, Germany and France states for the first time since the IAEA began investigating Iran in February 2003 that Tehran is in "non-compliance" with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), mainly for hiding sensitive atomic activities for almost two decades.

A finding of non-compliance is an automatic trigger for taking the matter to the Security Council, which can impose sanctions.

The United States and European Union want Iran to totally abandon work related to enrichment -- which can make reactor fuel but also be diverted to weapons production.

Iran says its nuclear programme is strictly peaceful and that enrichment is a right for every signatory of the NPT.

"In the coming days Iran will spell out its position and actions regarding the resolution," Mottaki said, promising to "use all diplomatic means to get to out rights."

Before the resolution was passed, Iran had threatened to resume enrichment and cease applying the NPT's additional protocol -- which gives greater powers to IAEA investigators.

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