(photo credit: AP [file])
The British Sunday Times newspaper reported on Monday morning that the United States will present to the United Nations Security Council schematics for a nuclear bomb which it claims to have taken off a computer stolen from an Iranian nuclear scientist two years ago.
The schematic will reportedly be a central piece of evidence the United States will provide in the upcoming debate in the UNSC over possible sanctions against Iran for failing to comply with international monitors of its nuclear program.
Iran, meanwhile, warned Sunday that it will start large-scale uranium enrichment if it is referred to the Security Council.
"If Iran's nuclear dossier is referred to the UN Security Council, (large scale) uranium enrichment will be resumed," Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani told a news conference.
"If they (the US and its allies) want to use force, we will pursue our own path," he said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency will meet in Vienna, Austria, Monday to discuss Iran's nuclear program and decide whether to refer the issue to the Security Council - which could impose sanctions on the Islamic republic.
"Research and development won't stop, but we are ready to agree to a timetable on (large-scale uranium) enrichment. This is the final proposal from Iran to find a solution," he said.
Iran only has an experimental research program and it would need months to begin any large-scale enrichment.
Larijani also said Iran would not abandon nuclear research, or back down from pursuing a peaceful nuclear program if the country was taken to the Security Council.
"Nuclear research and development is part of Iran's national interests and sovereignty and won't give it up," he said.
Larijani's said Iran won't stop the research-scale uranium enrichment it began last month amid diplomatic efforts aimed at a possible compromise in negotiations with Russia and Europeans.
"(Nuclear) research and development will continue. We don't see any reason to suspend it... we are seeking to establish this technology at home," he said. "We have made good progress in nuclear research."
The US and its allies should show "their good will," and "accept industrial scale (uranium enrichment) by Iran, accept nuclear research and development. Then, if they have any concerns, we will be ready to show flexibility in short term."
Iran, Larijani said, had exhausted "all peaceful ways" and said that if there were demands made contraty to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Iran "will resist."
"Ee are ready to set a timetable for uranium enrichment" if Iran's rights are accepted, he added.
Taking Iran to the UN Security Council, he said, is "not an advantage for us and others. It can also make problems for others. However, it will not cause Iran to give up nuclear research and development. If anybody doubts this, they can test it."
Iran, according to Larijani "will show appropriate cooperation with the IAEA if Iran's nuclear issue remains within the agency."
Earlier, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi had said Iran could reach a nuclear agreement with Russia or Europe within the next few hours.
Asefi said such a deal would be called off if the IAEA referred the Islamic republic to the Security Council, and added that the Russian proposal to enrich Iranian nuclear fuel needed more discussion.
"Both an agreement, and its absence, is possible. Nothing is definite," he said.
On Thursday, Iran and Russia held talks to establish a joint uranium enrichment venture to ease concerns over its nuclear ambitions. However, further negotiations on the details did not produce a clear-cut decision as Iran did not entirely give up plans for domestic enrichment _ a key Western demand.
He said the IAEA meeting "will be a big test for the agency to show how it will defend its members. What it is going to do, will be a basis for judgment by the world. We do advise the agency to work in a professional and nonpolitical direction," said Asefi.
Enrichment is a key process that can determine the direction of a nuclear program. Uranium enriched to a low level produces fuel for a nuclear reactor, while higher enrichment produces the material needed for a warhead.
The United States and its western allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies any intention to build weapons, saying it only aims to produce energy.
Asefi also criticized what he described as the double standard in U.S. nuclear policy, citing Washington's recent deal with India as an example.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi also said Washington was systematically trying to show Tehran in a bad light.
"The United States' approach is a form of double standards. It signed a contract with a country that was not a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. That is objectionable. On the other hand, it approaches Iran in such a (bad) way," Asefi told a news briefing.