Iran continues to fight referral to UN on nuclear policy

Bill would force govt. to block inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities by the UN nuclear agency.

iran nuke plant 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
iran nuke plant 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Parliament's most powerful committee has decided to vote on a bill that would force the government to block intrusive inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities by the UN nuclear agency if it refers the country to the UN Security Council, state radio reported Monday. When the bill becomes law, as is expected, it will strengthen the government's hand in resisting international pressure to abandon uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to produce fuel for nuclear reactors or an atomic bomb. The Foreign Policy and National Security Committee approved the outline of the bill late Sunday and will vote on it Tuesday, the radio quoted lawmaker Mahmoud Mohammadi as saying. Once the committee has approved it, the bill will go to a full session of parliament for debate and a vote. If parliament passes the bill, it will go to the Guardian Council, a hard-line constitutional watchdog, for ratification. "On the basis of this bill, the government will be required to cancel its voluntary implementation of the additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty if Iran's nuclear dossier is referred to the UN Security Council," Mohammadi was quoted as saying by the radio. Under the additional protocol to the treaty, Iran has been allowing inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to carry out short-notice inspections of its nuclear facilities. Iran has signed the protocol but never ratified it. Last month, the IAEA passed a resolution that put Iran on the verge of being referred to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions, for a lack of transparency on its nuclear program. Iran rejected the resolution as "illegal and illogical" and accused the United States of orchestrating it. To avoid referral, Iran is being told to suspend all uranium enrichment activities including uranium conversion, to give up construction of a heavy water nuclear reactor and to give agency experts access to research, individuals, locations and documentation. The resolution also demands that Iran immediately ratify the additional protocol. Iran's government has said it will not stop uranium conversion. It has also said that unless the IAEA backs down, it will resume uranium enrichment, block inspections of its nuclear facilities and cut trade with countries that supported the resolution. The IAEA resolution was passed after Iran rejected a European package that called on Iran to permanently give up uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons.