Iran Nuclear NewsIran says it will ignore U.N. deadline on uranium...

Iran says it will ignore U.N. deadline on uranium program

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New York Times: Iran’s chief national security official said Sunday that Iran would defy the United Nations Security Council by refusing to halt enrichment of uranium by the end of the month. The New York Times

By MICHAEL SLACKMAN

CAIRO, Aug. 6 — Iran’s chief national security official said Sunday that Iran would defy the United Nations Security Council by refusing to halt enrichment of uranium by the end of the month.

During a news conference in Iran, Ali Larijani, the country’s security chief and top nuclear negotiator, condemned the West. He said it had engaged in double-dealing, by first offering a package of incentives in exchange for suspension of its nuclear-enrichment program, and then by issuing a threat.

In remarks reported by the official Iranian News Agency, Mr. Larijani did not appear to chart new ground, sticking with Iran’s position that it would not halt enrichment as a precondition of negotiations.

Western diplomats in Iran said in recent interviews that it appeared that Iran’s leadership had bet on the notion that it was more likely to get what it wanted if it refused to budge from its position, believing that the Security Council, and the West in particular, would do anything to avoid another ugly confrontation in the Middle East.

The remarks appeared to be consistent with the government’s initial reaction at the end of July, when the Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Iran halt its enrichment work or face the possibility of economic and political sanctions.

“The resolution is illegal,” said Mr. Larijani, echoing comments made in July by Javad Zarif, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations. The two have said that since Iran has signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and since it has not violated that treaty, it cannot be forced to suspend enrichment.

Under the treaty, members are entitled access to peaceful nuclear energy. Iran hid its nuclear program for more than a dozen years from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear monitoring arm of the United Nations, and now the United States and Europe contend that Iran is pursuing an arms program. Iran insists it is pursuing peaceful nuclear energy.

The United States and Europe offered the incentives in June. Iran had said it would look favorably on the package and give a reply by Aug. 22. The West, along with Russia and China, pushed Iran to reply sooner. When it did not, the Security Council adopted the resolution with the Aug. 31 deadline.

“If they are to solve the problem, they should find a solution in fair negotiations,” the news agency quoted Mr. Larijani as saying. “They should not harm the course of the negotiation.”

Mr. Larijani did not say what Iran’s response would be to the incentive package, only that it was being viewed less favorably after the Security Council resolution.

Christina Gallach, spokeswoman for Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, called on Iran to carry out the Security Council resolution. “We encourage Larijani and Iran to comply with the resolution,” she said, adding that Iran had ample time to make its case before the resolution was passed.

In Iran, the issue of its nuclear program has become intertwined with the rest of the turmoil in the Middle East. Western diplomats in Iran said it appeared that the chaos had given an upper hand to the more hard-line members of Iran’s leadership.

Dan Bilefsky contributed reporting from Brussels for this article.

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