TEHRAN,(Reuters) – Influential Iranian cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Friday the U.N. nuclear watchdog”s latest statement on Iran”s disputed atomic programme was a step in the right direction but still had elements of "harassment".
The International Atomic Energy Agency decided on Thursday not to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions in order to give Russia time to broker a compromise deal under which Moscow would enrich Iran”s processed uranium.
"This time a kind of wisdom, precaution, and an avoidance of adventurism prevailed over the IAEA meeting," Rafsanjani told worshippers at Friday prayers in Tehran.
The mid-ranking cleric heads the powerful Expediency Council which arbitrates in constitutional disputes.
Iran has been risking referral to the Council after failing to convince the world that its nuclear scientists are working on fuel for power stations rather than bombs.
Western diplomats say Tehran could guarantee that the uranium would only be enriched to the low level needed for power stations, and not to the higher weapons-grade, by allowing Russia to act a middle man and conduct the nuclear fuel work.
Rafsanjani, president from 1989 to 1997, made no specific reference to this proposal.
"There are some points in the communique that betray a vestige of harassment," he said.
The IAEA statement noted that Western powers reckoned Tehran had a long way to go to refute suspicions it had a covert atomic bomb project.
It also said some IAEA members were disturbed by Iran”s disclosure that it got documents from black marketeers describing in part how to build the core of a nuclear bomb.
"We will never accept being bullied and it is not worth you bullying us," Rafsanjani added.