Thursday, November 26, 2009

I.R. Iran Threatens Minimum Co-operation with IAEA

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Agence France Presse (AFP)

Iran will reduce co-operation with the IAEA to a minimum if the UN atomic watchdog passes a resolution condemning its nuclear programme, a top Iranian official said Thursday. As IAEA delegates began a two-day meeting in Vienna, Tehran's ambassador to the body, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung its co-operation "would be reduced to the minimum we are legally obliged." A vote on a resolution against his country, which would be the first in nearly four years, would "damage the currently constructive atmosphere" and "have long-term consequences," Soltanieh was quoted as saying. IAEA diplomats say the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany have drawn up a draft resolution to put to Vienna gathering. The resolution was prompted by the shock revelation in September that Tehran has been concealing a second uranium enrichment site. But it was not clear from pre-meeting talks whether the text will win the support of the majority on the IAEA's 35-member board, although German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said it enjoyed "broad support." The fact that Russia and China are ready to support such a move is seen as a sign of the growing frustration over Iran's stubborn refusal to come clean about its atomic ambitions.