TEHRAN, (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council risks committing “a historic act of tyranny” against Iran if it passes a resolution demanding Tehran stop making nuclear fuel, powerful cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Friday.
U.N. Security Council permanent members are wrangling over the text of a draft resolution that includes the threat of sanctions if Iran fails to halt making enriched uranium, which the West argues will be used in atomic warheads.
“On our nuclear issue, we are now witnessing a cruel act,” Rafsanjani told Friday prayers worshippers in Tehran.
“They are going to commit another historic act of tyranny against Iran, despite Iran announcing several times that it is ready to negotiate,” he added, referring to the U.N. Security Council resolution.
He said it would be humiliating for Iran to end its domestic nuclear fuel cycle, which it says it needs to run nuclear power stations.
“If Iran accepts, that would mean putting our hands up and surrendering,” he continued.
Former President Rafsanjani heads the powerful Expediency Council, Iran’s main legislative arbitration body. Since the 1979 revolution, he has been a political powerbroker and his family hold massive economic sway in the Islamic Republic.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said on Wednesday major powers disagreed about how to make legally binding demands that Iran suspend enrichment and stop work on a reactor that can produce plutonium, which can have military uses.
Russia and China, both of which have opposed sanctions, have raised questions in informal talks about the draft resolution backed by Western nations.
The drafts looks to set a date, possibly by the end of August, for Iran to comply.
The United States has consistently declined to rule out military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.