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. Iran insists on nuclear right, threatens to quit IAEA
TEHRAN, Aug 13 (AFP) Aug 13, 2006
Iran on Sunday repeated its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment activities as called for in a UN resolution, threatening instead to withdraw from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"Iran doesn't accept suspending its uranium enrichment," the official IRNA agency quoted parliamentary speaker Gholam-Ali Hadad-Adel as telling parliament.

"If the result of our being part of international organisations and the IAEA is to be deprived of our absolute right (in nuclear matters), there is no reason for us to continue to be part of such organisations," he said.

The UN Security Council has given Iran until August 31 to halt enrichment and reprocessing activities or face possible sanctions.

The resolution was pushed through after Iran ignored a previous non-binding deadline and failed to respond to an international offer of incentives in exchange for a moratorium on nuclear fuel work.

Iran has repeatedly insisted its nuclear programme is for civil purposes only despite Western concerns that it may be cover for an attempt to develop the bomb.

The Islamic republic is due on August 22 to reply to a package of incentives offered by the big powers and aimed at suspending uranium enrichment.

But the head of Iran's supreme national security council and chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said on August 6 that Iran would not suspend uranium enrichment.

Asked about Iran's reply on August 22, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Sunday that, "the date does not have any significance. What is important is the climate and the conditions for a dialogue."

"We do not trust Europeans any more," he said, referring to the so-called EU-3 of Britain, France and Germany that have been leading negotiations on Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

"Unfortunately, the Europeans changed their path," he added, referring to the adoption of the United Nations Security Council's ultimatum.

"Iran will choose another path," other that of cooperation, if the Europeans, "continue their own path," he said, without elaborating.

After more than two year of nuclear negotiation with the European troika, Iran started uranium conversion -- a prerequisite for uranium enrichment -- thus breaking the talks.

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