TEHRAN, (Reuters) – Iran may limit its cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog if sanctions are imposed over the Islamic Republic’s atomic programme, a former chief nuclear negotiator was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
European states have prepared a draft sanctions resolution after Iran rejected repeated U.N. demands to scrap uranium enrichment, which can be used to make material for power stations or warheads.
Russia has expressed misgivings about the proposal.
Hassan Rohani, a moderate politician who led Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the European Union since 2003 until hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office last year, warned about the consequences of such sanctions.
“Iran will give a proper answer if they pass such a tough and bad resolution,” the students news agency ISNA quoted Rohani as saying.
“One of the possible answers could be limiting our cooperation with the IAEA,” said Rohani, a representative of Iran’s most powerful figure Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the Supreme National Security Council.
Rohani’s successor Ali Larijani also threatened last week that Tehran might halt routine inspections of its nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if such a resolution was passed.
Iran ended short-notice checks by IAEA inspectors in February after its case was sent back to the Security Council.
Many conservative parliamentarians have called for Iran to follow North Korea’s path and pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) altogether.
Rohani said he still held out hope that talks could resolve the nuclear standoff with the West.”It is in the Europeans’ and Iran’s interest to reach a fair solution through talks”.
European states have been trying to persuade Iran to halt enrichment in exchange for incentives offered by six major powers. The West says Iran is trying to build atomic bombs, a charge Iran denies saying its aims are peaceful.
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana held months of talks with Larijani but no deal was reached.
The draft resolution would ban most nuclear and missile cooperation with Iran. Assistance to Iran from IAEA would be limited to medical or humanitarian purposes.