Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Iran threatens to halt cooperation

Iran is threatening to "halt its cooperation with" the International Atomic Energy Agency:

Iran will halt its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog if European states fail to counter US pressure on the Islamic republic over its atomic programme, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi threatened Wednesday.

The minister also said Iran intended to end its suspension of uranium enrichment -- a key step in producing both nuclear weapons and atomic energy -- once relations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were “normalised.”

“Unfortunately, the agency allows itself to be influenced by the Americans,” Kharazi told reporters here after a cabinet meeting.

“We are engaged in cooperation (with the IAEA), and for this to continue the cooperation has to be bilateral. If one side does not respect its obligations, the cooperation will end,” he added.

The foreign minister asserted that he expected European states -- which have brokered Iran’s continued cooperation with the IAEA -- to counter mounting US pressure over the Islamic republic’s suspect bid to generate atomic energy.

“We advise the Europeans to respect their obligations and to resist American pressure, otherwise there is no reason for cooperation to continue,” he warned.


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