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Iran Warns Against  'Provocation' Over Nuclear Program

Iran's parliament speaker has warned Western nations against "provoking" Tehran in a dispute over its controversial nuclear program.

Speaker and former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani Wednesday said there is only a little time left for international leaders to reach a deal with Iran on its nuclear activities.

He said Western nations should take seriously a warning from the head of the United Nations nuclear agency, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who said last week that such provocation would encourage Iran to rapidly seek a nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana Wednesday said international powers will continue to use both negotiations and sanctions to encourage Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities.

The European Union approved a new set of sanctions against Iran Monday. Tehran has condemned the sanctions and says they could hurt diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute.

The 27-nation European Union is freezing all assets of Iran's largest bank, Bank Melli, that are under EU jurisdiction. EU member states also will ban travel in Europe by some Iranians involved in Iran's nuclear program.

Solana went to Tehran last week to offer Iran economic and trade incentives in return for suspending uranium enrichment.

Iran has said it is willing to negotiate details of the incentives package, but has refused to stop enriching uranium.

Tehran has rejected accusations that it is working to develop a nuclear weapon and says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.