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. Iran warns it could resume uranium enrichment
TEHRAN (AFP) Sep 27, 2005
Iran warned Tuesday that it could resume enriching uranium in response to efforts to refer the Islamic republic to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme.

The foreign ministry said Monday that if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "does not correct its resolution or insists on applying it, the Islamic Republic of Iran will be forced to go back on all its voluntary concessions, particularly application of the additional protocol."

The additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) gives reinforced inspection powers to the IAEA.

But ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters the warning also covered a possible end of Iran's freeze of uranium enrichment -- a process to make reactor fuel which can also be diverted to make weapons.

"The suspension of enrichment is also among the concessions that we cancel, and we will put other measures or actions on the agenda," Asefi said.

Iran froze its enrichment programme two years ago as a "confidence building measure" amid Western charges the country was using an atomic energy programme as a cover for acquiring the bomb.

But Asefi said the step of enriching uranium or blocking tougher inspections would not come for several days.

"We will wait a few days days to see what the parties will do," he said.

Asefi also repeated a warning made last week by Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani that if the crisis escalates further, Iran could quit the NPT altogether.

"Quitting the NPT depends on the future decisions of the agency. If the agency and Europe show harsh behaviour, they will push us towards the direction of taking proportional and harsher steps," Asefi warned.

"They should be careful not to push us to that point."

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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