NewsSpecial WireIran’s parliament presses government to end nuclear inspections

Iran’s parliament presses government to end nuclear inspections

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Sep. 28 – Iran’s parliament, dominated by ultra-Islamist allies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday for a bill that, once approved, would put an end to spot inspection of suspected nuclear sites in Iran by United Nations inspectors. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Sep. 28 – Iran’s parliament, dominated by ultra-Islamist allies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday for a bill that, once approved, would put an end to spot inspection of suspected nuclear sites in Iran by United Nations inspectors.

The Majlis move will bind the hard-line government to stop adhering to the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Nor-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), effectively putting an end to unfettered access to Iran’s nuclear sites at short notice. Even in the past, international inspectors had reported many cases of Iranian officials barring access to sensitive sites or making a variety of excuses to delay visits for a long time.

Of 231 Majlis deputies present at the vote, an overwhelming majority 162 voted in favour of the resolution forbidding the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from inspecting nuclear plants at short notice.

“The new circumstances and the illogical actions of the three European countries [France, Germany, and the United Kingdom”> forced us to urgently review this resolution”, Hassan Kamran, a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, said, according to Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA.

A row broke out during the debate, when a few Majlis deputies challenged Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel on the legality of the bill. They said Majlis had not yet ratified a separate bill making Iran a signatory to the Additional Protocol of the NPT.

“If we vote for this bill, we would be endorsing an illegal act by the previous government [of Mohammad Khatami”> and the current one”, said Esmail Jabbarzadeh, who called the bill unconstitutional.

Haddad Adel dismissed the criticism, adding that “two years after our government began to implement the Additional Protocol as a measure of good faith, unfortunately the West showed that it was taking advantage of our voluntary implementation. Majlis has therefore the right to tell the government what to do”.

“Majlis believes it is against our interests to maintain silence and continue to implement the Additional Protocol and we are making it binding on the government to end this implementation”, Haddad Adel said.

For the past 18 months, Iran had allowed spot inspections at several overt nuclear sites, although it had threatened to halt cooperation with the IAEA if the international community stepped up pressure on Iran to suspend sensitive nuclear work.

The IAEA board of governors voted last week in favour of referring Iran’s nuclear dossier to the Security Council if Tehran did not immediately suspend its nuclear fuel cycle activities.

The new bill also called for a review of trade ties with countries that supported the IAEA resolution against Iran.

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