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Iranian lawmakers press government on additional nuclear protocol - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iranian lawmakers on Wednesday agreed to urgently debate a bill demanding that the government suspend cooperation over inspections by the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

If approved, the bill will oblige the government to suspend the implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which grants U.N. nuclear experts unfettered inspections of Iran”s nuclear facilities at short notice. &#34The parliament intends to block the misuse of the Additional Protocol,&#34 Speaker Golam Ali Haddad Adel said.

The move by parliament is likely to place the government under pressure to maintain, and even further harden, its stance on its nuclear program. Iran insists that the program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States suspects Iran”s Islamic regime is seeking nuclear arms capability.

The additional protocol requires any signatory country to report all its nuclear facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency. It also obliges signatories to admit short-noticed intrusive snap inspections of the facilities.

On Saturday, an IAEA resolution put Iran on the verge of referral to the U.N. Security Council unless Tehran eases suspicions about its nuclear activities.

The resolution ordered Iran to ratify the Additional Protocol in its parliament, suspend all uranium enrichment activities, including uranium conversion, abandon the construction of a heavy water nuclear reactor and grant access to certain locations and documents.

Iran threatened Tuesday to resume uranium enrichment and block U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities unless the U.N. nuclear agency stepped back from its resolution to refer the country to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

Under the bill, the government has two weeks to report to the hard-line dominated parliament about the implementation of the NPT. The government also is expected to report on economic and trade relations with countries that supported the resolution.

On Saturday, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki rejected the resolution and said Iran was considering taking punitive measures against the European Union troika that proposed the resolution.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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