AFP: A hardline Iranian daily Saturday called on the government to withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if the UN Security Council agrees sanctions against Tehran over its controversial atomic programme. TEHRAN, Dec 23, 2006 (AFP) – A hardline Iranian daily Saturday called on the government to withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if the UN Security Council agrees sanctions against Tehran over its controversial atomic programme.
“Our officials should use this opportunity to punish the West and announce Iran’s withdrawal from the NPT right after the resolution is adopted. Rest assured that nothing terrible will happen,” said the Kayhan daily.
“The opponent is pointing an empty gun at us and this is a hollow threat,” said the editorial by the paper’s editor Hossein Shariatmadari, who is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
After weeks of diplomatic wrangling, the UN Security Council was expected on Saturday to adopt a resolution that would impose restrictions on Iran’s nuclear industry and ballistic missile programme.
Western countries have sought to agree the sanctions in response to Tehran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment which they fear could be used to make a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its atomic drive is peaceful.
Iranian officals have vowed to retaliate against any sanctions and top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said Thursday any such move would be met with a “deserving reply from Iran”.
While officials have not said what this will entail and have played down the idea of a wholesale withdrawal from the NPT, Larijani has mooted scaling down cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
This would most likely mean limiting inspections of its atomic facilities by the UN nuclear watchdog.
Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament has already prepared a bill that it would vote on in the case of sanctions and would block the IAEA’s inspections of atomic sites.