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Iran Threatens to Limit Cooperation with IAEA - 2004-09-19


Iran says it has a legal right to uranium enrichment and it will limit cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if the nuclear watchdog refers its nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani, dismissed as illegal demands from the IAEA to halt its uranium enrichment program.

The IAEA board of governors adopted a resolution Saturday calling on Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment activities and said it would consider appropriate action at its next meeting in November if Tehran fails to comply.

The United States fought all week for a resolution that would include a so-called trigger to send the file to U.N. Security Council if Iran carries on with nuclear technology that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

The trigger clause was opposed by several countries from the non-aligned movement, of which Iran is a member, such as Pakistan, South Africa and Brazil which have enrichment programs of their own.

Mr. Rowhani warned the IAEA Sunday that if its case went to the U.N. Security Council Iran could follow North Korea and withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty altogether adding this is war, we may win or we may lose. Sharam Chubin, director of research at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, is an Iranian and says the United Nations is important to Tehran.

"Iran considers itself not a rogue state," he said. "It doesn't consider itself Iraq, it's not like North Korea, it's not Libya, it's not been under U.N. sanction. The image depicted at home is that all this stuff about rogue states and axis of evil is an American political ploy because they dislike the independence of the Islamic Republic."

But Mr. Chubin says there are hardliners in the regime who would use the threat of sanctions to forge domestic unity.

"They like Iran to be embattled, the mythical golden age of the revolution was that Iran was embattled, it was fighting on its own, it made sacrifices," said Mr. Chubin. "An embattled Iran in the international community because they know they are in the right, we have our own rights under the treaty this is the price we pay for independence."

Iran says its nuclear program is only to generate electricity for its growing population.

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