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'Iran could cancel uranium deal over sanctions'

Iran could cancel its agreement with Turkey and Brazil to transfer some of its uranium abroad if the UN Security Council approves a new round of sanctions against it, a member of parliament said on Thursday.

world Updated: May 20, 2010 20:34 IST

Iran could cancel its agreement with Turkey and Brazil to transfer some of its uranium abroad if the UN Security Council approves a new round of sanctions against it, a member of parliament said on Thursday.

Brazil and Turkey brokered a surprise deal this week in which Iran agreed to send some low-enriched uranium abroad in return for fuel rods for a medical research reactor. The first batch is due to arrive in Turkey within a month.

Such an arrangement was first suggested as a way of allowing the international community to keep track of nuclear material the West suspects Iran wants to use in nuclear weapons.

Turkey, Brazil and Iran have urged a halt to talk of further sanctions because of the deal, but critics describe it as only a tactic to avert or delay sanctions.

Despite the deal, Washington has circulated a draft sanctions resolution, agreed to by all five permanent UN Security Council members after months of negotiation.

"If (the West) issues a new resolution against Iran, we will not be committed to Tehran's statement and despatching fuel outside Iran will be cancelled," prominent lawmaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar was quoted as saying by Iran's Mehr news agency.

"Major powers along with the UN Security Council have reached consensus about Iran and it is highly probable that in the near future the fourth round of resolutions becomes operational against Iran," Bahonar added.

The new sanctions would target Iranian banks and call for inspection of vessels suspected of carrying cargo related to Iran's nuclear or missile programmes.

Iran has previously dismissed the draft resolution as lacking legitimacy and unlikely to come to pass. It says its atomic ambitions are purely non-military and refuses to suspend uranium enrichment.

"The Americans will take their wish to harm the Iranian nation to their graves," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as telling military officials on Thursday by state news agency IRNA.