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'Iran suspends voluntary cooperation with IAEA'

Iran's parliament approved a bill last November to suspend all voluntary cooperation with the IAEA.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 19:55 IST

Iran has officially suspended all voluntary cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in line with last year's parliamentary bill, a spokesman of the National Security Council said on Tuesday.

ISNA news agency quoted Hussein Entezami as saying that the parliamentary bill was implemented after evaluation of the Iranian nuclear case switched from a technical to a political framework.

Iran's parliament approved a bill last November to suspend all voluntary cooperation with the IAEA, including the implementation of the IAEA additional protocol, if the issue of Iran's nuclear programme was sent to the UN Security Council.

It is still unclear whether or when Iran will also expel the IAEA inspectors inside Iran and remove IAEA monitoring cameras in the local plants. Tehran had warned to do so in case of a UN referral.

The country's officials at the same time stressed that cooperation with the IAEA - within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - would continue, however without permission for snap inspections anymore.

Iran's Chief Nuclear Negotiator Ali Larijani said Monday after a closed-door parliamentary meeting that Iran has already informed the IAEA about its plans for "uranium enrichment-related activities" and IAEA inspectors were supposed to come to Iran for this purpose within the next few days.

Larijani gave no further details about the plan, which is however believed to be related to the nuclear research work - resumed last month - on uranium enrichment in industrial fields.

Despite the move Tehran has several times stressed that notwithstanding last week's referral of the Iranian nuclear case to the UN, Tehran was still seeking diplomatic channels to settle the nuclear dispute.

As a first step Iranian nuclear officials will meet their Russian counterparts on February 16 in Moscow to discuss a plan for enriching Iranian uranium on Russian territory.

Success of the plan could be a major breakthrough in the dispute, observers believe.

First Published: Feb 07, 2006 19:55 IST