Iran says it may withdraw from Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Sunday, May 7, 2006

In a letter to the United Nations, Iran's Parliament has said it may have to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if pressure to end its nuclear program escalates.

The letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stated that if the issues with Iran's nuclear program are not settled by peaceful methods, then "there will be no option for the parliament but to ask the government to withdraw its signature."

"Should the UN secretary general and Security Council members not fulfill their crucial duties in settling arguments, there will be no choice for the Majlis but to demand the government withdraw the ratification of the additional protocol and put on its agenda a review of Article 10 of the NPT," said the letter, signed by at least 160 deputies.

In the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Article 10 states that a country can withdraw its signatories from the treaty if the interests of the country have been compromised. In 2003, North Korea withdrew from the treaty for the same reason.

"We will not accept any resolution that is against our rights. Any action by the Security Council will have a negative influence on our cooperation with the agency. The involvement of the Security Council will direct the path of cooperation towards confrontation. It's obvious that the Security Council should not take any action that it is not capable of dealing with later because we will not refrain from our rights," said Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi in a press conference on Sunday.

"Suspension and pause is not on the agenda at all, and the Security Council should not do something that will get it into trouble later on," and "intervention by the Security Council in this issue is completely illegal," added Asefi.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan still urges Iran and the United States to hold direct talks. According to journalist and anti-nuclear-weapons activist Praful Bidwai, Iran is "keen to reach a deal or compromise on the nuclear issue" and "numerous governmental and non-governmental experts" in Iran believe that there is "fairly broad agreement" that a compromise proposal could be negotiated which would be politically acceptable in Iran.

Annan stated, "If everybody - all stakeholders and key players - were around the table, I think it would be possible to work out a package that would satisfy the concerns of everybody. Should they (Iran) be offered a diplomatic package allowing them to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful ends, and they resist that, how do they explain it to the world?"

Asefi also said that Iran isn't prepared to discuss it's nuclear program with the United States "one-on-one".

"The U.S. isn't prepared to have talks on a one-to-one equal basis. They are following the politics of threat. So under these conditions we see no necessity to start talks with them," said Asefi.

Raw Story earlier made claims from unnamed intelligence sources that some parts of the US administration are opposed to diplomatic activities with Iran. It claimed that US vice-president Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are carrying out "an ongoing attempt ... to squash diplomatic activities" and using Manucher Ghorbanifar, a key figure in the Iran-Contra Affair, to monitor and report on "any interaction and attempts at negotiations between Iranian officials and US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad."

The treaty was opened for signatures in 1968 and in 1970 entered into force. There are 187 signatures on the treaty.

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This audio file was created from the text revision dated 2006-05-07 and may not reflect subsequent text edits to this report. (audio help)

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