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. Iran does not rule out quitting nuclear treaty
TEHRAN, Jan 2 (AFP) Jan 02, 2007
Iran on Tuesday said it was keeping open the option of quitting the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if Western countries step up pressure on the Islamic republic over its atomic programme.

"If we are put under pressure and deprived of our rights we can use our capacity to decide whether to stay within the treaty or to quit it," government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told reporters.

The Iranian parliament last month passed a bill that obliges the government to revise its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in response to the UN Security Council's resolution imposing sanctions.

Elham said the government would decide how to revise its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog based on the attitude taken by the international community over the Iranian nuclear programme.

"The decision is based on national interests and the parliament's approval (for the bill) does not necessarily mean quitting the NPT or continuing the current situation.

"We want to move within the framework of the treaties that we have accepted in a transparent way but being part of a treaty is a neutral thing based on duties and rights."

Iran is a signatory state of the NPT, which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The Islamic republic rejects US accusations that it is seeking an atomic bomb.

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