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. Iran committed to NPT for time being: top negotiator
TEHRAN (AFP) Sep 29, 2005
Iran will stay in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but that could change if the country is forced to give up its nuclear fuel programme, the Islamic republic's top negotiator was quoted as saying Thursday.

"Currently there is no reason to get out of the NPT," Ali Larijani said in a speech to clerics in the holy city of Qom.

"But if they want to force us to do what they want, then we will think otherwise. If the NPT is implemented well, it is good, but if it used to deprive others of nuclear technology we will never accept it," the student news agency ISNA quoted him as saying.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Saturday adopted a resolution that finds Iran in "non-compliance" with nuclear proliferation safeguards -- an automatic trigger for taking the matter to the Security Council.

The United States and European Union want Iran to abandon all work related to uranium enrichment, arguing Iran cannot be trusted with such sensitive technology, but also offering incentives in return.

Tensions worsened in August when Iran, which insists its nuclear programme is strictly peaceful, formally rejected any such demands and ended a freeze on uranium conversion -- a precursor to enrichment, which in turn can be diverted to military uses.

The resolution said Iran could avoid penalties by halting conversion, fully cooperating with IAEA inspectors and returning to the EU talks.

Iran has so far refused to do so, arguing that nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes is a "right" enshrined by the NPT and saying that offers of nuclear fuel from abroad cannot be relied upon.

"Internationally there is no guarantee that we can get nuclear fuel. In the past 18 years Iranian scientists have worked on nuclear technology and it is a big achievement," Larijani was quoted as saying.

"The issue the United States has with us is not only about the nuclear issue. It is a war and if we give in to it, tomorrow it will be about human rights, then Hezbollah, democracy and other issues they will use as pretext," Larijani argued.

Iran has already threatened to respond to the resolution by ending compliance with the NPT's additional protocol -- which gives the IAEA more inspection powers -- and resuming enrichment.

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