Iran considering reducing ties to UN nuclear body

AP News
Posted: Dec 01, 2009 4:39 PM

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Tehran is reviewing the option of decreasing cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog after it issued a resolution critical of Iran last week.

Speaking in a live television interview late Tuesday, Ahmadinejad also criticized Russia's support for International Atomic Energy Agency's resolution, calling it a mistake.

"Friendly relations with the agency are over. We will cooperate as much as they offer us compromises. We are reviewing this," he said.

The sharply worded IAEA resolution on Friday demanded Iran halt all uranium enrichment and stop construction of a newly discovered nuclear facility near the Iranian city of Qom. Iran responded by saying it would build even more such facilities.

Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful, insisting it has a right to enrich uranium to produce fuel for nuclear reactors to generate electricity. The United Nations has demanded Iran freeze enrichment, because the process can also be used to develop a warhead. The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of secretly planning to build a weapon.

Russia, which has cooperated with Iran in the past to develop its nuclear program, supported the resolution, earning it Ahmadinejad's censure.

"Russia made a mistake. It has no correct analysis about current situation of the world," he said, maintaining that Britain and Israel had swayed the opinion of the U.N. body because of their animosity toward Iran.

The president's threats follow up those made by parliament speaker Ali Larijani last week to cut ties with the international agency, whose inspectors are the world's only eyes into Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Any reduction of U.N. inspections would immediately raise tensions with the rest of the world even further, yet Ahmadinejad appeared to be suggesting just that saying that under international law, "we can deny (inspectors') access to domestic technology."

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He also accused the IAEA of passing on information about its program to the "hands of our enemies."

While saving most of his criticism for Israel and the United Kingdom, the Ahmadinejad also expressed disappointment over U.S. policy, saying President Barack Obama had promised change, but seemed to be following the antagonistic policies of his predecessor.

Iran and the top powers at the U.N. are deadlocked over a U.N.-drafted proposal for Iran to send much of its enriched uranium abroad, which the West seeks because it would at least temporary leave Tehran unable to develop a nuclear bomb. So far Iran has balked at the offer. The unusually strong IAEA censure of Iran over enrichment was a sign of the West's growing impatience with its defiance.

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