AFP: Iran on Saturday accused Britain of acting like a “19th century colonial” power in pushing for the Islamic republic to be referred to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme. AFP
TEHRAN – Iran on Saturday accused Britain of acting like a “19th century colonial” power in pushing for the Islamic republic to be referred to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme.
There were also widespread local media reports that Iran could expel Britain’s ambassador to Tehran if a British-proposed resolution critical of the Islamic republic is passed by the UN’s nuclear watchdog.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi, however, issued a statement denying that Britain’s envoy Richard Dalton “has been summoned or expelled”.
“Britain’s approach to our nuclear case is similar to their 19th century colonial approach. It is dealing with Iran’s nuclear case as it did when it deprived nations of their rights,” top nuclear negotiator Javad Vaidi was quoted as saying by the student news agency ISNA.
With the row heating up, several Iranian news agencies said Richard Dalton, Britain’s top diplomat in Tehran, could be thrown out of Iran and Iran’s ambassador to London recalled in retaliation for Britain’s “spearheading the new resolution against Iran.”
Reports to that effect were carried by the student news agency ISNA, the semi-official Mehr agency and Iran’s Arabic-language satellite news channel Al-Alam.
Asefi denied the reports, but it was not clear if he was denying whether such a step had been taken or could be taken.
The UN atomic watchdog was to meet Saturday to decide on an EU proposal that sets Iran up for referral to the UN Security Council, in what would be a sharp escalation of the West’s confrontation with the Islamic Republic.
On behalf of the European Union, Britain Friday tabled a motion at the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board of governors that finds Iran in violation of international nuclear safeguards.
This would set the stage for Iran to be reported to the UN Security Council for possible penalties for activities the United States claims hide covert nuclear weapons work.
Iran has said it will submit a note in writing to the IAEA saying that it will begin to enrich uranium, the nuclear reactor fuel that can also be bomb material, and cease applying a protocol for wider IAEA inspections if the resolution is adopted, a diplomat close to the IAEA said.