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Iran’s Parliament Calls On Government To Restrict Cooperation with IAEA

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad inspects the Natanz nuclear plant in 2007.
(RFE/RL) -- Iran’s parliament today urged the government of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to submit a plan on restricting its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog after it censured the Islamic Republic for building a secret uranium enrichment plant.

Iranian media reported that the majority of lawmakers in the 290-member parliament signed a statement demanding that the government draw up "a quick plan to reduce the level of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)” and submit it to the parliament.

The parliament said the statement is a reaction to the “angry behavior” of world powers.

The parliament’s move comes two days after the IAEA called on Iran to immediately halt construction of the Fordow uranium enrichment plant located in a mountain near the city of Qom.

It also called on Tehran to clarify the original purpose of the Fordow facility and to confirm that it does not have any more hidden atomic facilities or clandestine plants for any purpose.

Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani said that the resolution shows that all the nuclear negotiations were not geared to reach an agreement, but to mislead Iran.

Larijani, Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator, added that Tehran would carefully watch the next moves by the world powers "and act accordingly."

A day earlier, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali-Asghar Soltanieh, said that the resolution had pushed Iran to limit its voluntary cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog. He warned that future cooperation would be solely within the areas covered by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Rising Tensions

Reza Taghizadeh, a political analyst based in Glasgow, Scotland, told RFE/RL that the parliament’s move goes against the recent IAEA resolution.

“If there is any nuclear site that Iran hasn’t reported along with Fordow to the IAEA, Iran may [now] decide against reporting the existence of such a site to the IAEA," Taghizadeh said.

He says the two sides are moving apart from each other and that could add to the tensions between Tehran and the international community over Iran’s sensitive nuclear activities.

Iran says all its nuclear activities are peaceful, but Western countries suspect Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons.

Iranian lawmakers today said that they believe the political will of some big powers, specifically the United States and Britain, are behind this latest development.

The lawmakers condemned the IAEA resolution as politicized and said that Iran’s nuclear case should be returned to the IAEA from the UN Security Council.

Kazem Jalali, the rapporteur for the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said U.S. President Barack Obama has failed to change U.S. policies toward Iran.

“When Obama came to power he spoke of change,” Jalali said. “Many thought that [the slogan] of change is serious. The Islamic Republic didn’t judge hastily, it said maybe they really want to create change. A proof of change would be for the extremist policies of the Bush era not to rule in the White House anymore.”

Jalali added that the IAEA resolution proved the UN body and world powers were using double standards.

"What is the use of following international commitments but not having any rights in return?” Jalali asked in an interview with state television.

The IAEA resolution was passed November 27 with the rare support of China and Russia, which have good ties with the Islamic Republic. Only Venezuela, Cuba, and Malaysia voted against it.

Fatemeh Alia, a conservative lawmaker, said today that Iran should revise its ties with countries which had voted against Tehran at the IAEA.

On November 28, another Iranian lawmaker, Mohammad Karamirad, suggested that Iran could consider withdrawing from the NPT in reaction to the IAEA censure.