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Iran Insulted by IAEA Resolution

Iranian officials say it is not clear when international nuclear weapons inspectors will be allowed to return to the country. And they say there could be a change in Iran's level of cooperation with the inspectors.

Iranian officials Sunday described as "unfair and insulting" an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution adopted Saturday in Vienna. The resolution deplored Iran's failure to mention key atomic technology in an October declaration.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Sunday that Iran would not allow the IAEA to talk to Iran in such a way and said it was unclear when Tehran would allow international nuclear inspectors to return to Iran. Mr. Asefi warned that Iran's future cooperation with the IAEA could change as a result of the resolution adopted by the 35-member IAEA board of governors.

Among other things, the resolution criticized Tehran for failing to disclose advanced centrifuges that can be used to make atomic bomb-grade uranium.

In response, Tehran suspended the return of nuclear inspectors.

An expert on Iran and a lecturer at Cairo University, Amal Hamada, says Tehran's threats to ban nuclear inspectors from returning to Iran could be a way of getting the IAEA to reconsider its resolution.

"Maybe they are trying to reach a better agreement by pressuring the international community if they say we're not going to let them in," said Ms. Hamada. "And they are betting that the international community will not be unified in their stand against them and the international community will not escalate the issue to the U.N. So maybe they're pushing to get better terms or to get some kind of compromise."

Iranian officials said Sunday that Tehran wants to continue its cooperation with the IAEA, but said the return of the inspectors would have to be renegotiated.

Saturday, IAEA officials expressed confidence Tehran would allow nuclear inspectors to return to Iran.

The nuclear watchdog agency's board of directors is scheduled to decide in June how to respond to Tehran's October omissions. The IAEA could decide to report the matter to the U.N. Security Council, which in turn could impose economic sanctions against Iran.