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Iran's Parliament approves bill to end voluntary cooperation with IAEA if case referred to UNSC


Tehran, Nov 22, IRNA-Majlis on Tuesday passed a bill that would entail the government to suspend all voluntary cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if Iran's nuclear case is reported to the UN Security Council.

Majlis deputies, during an open session, approved a bill of single urgency that would "oblige the government to suspend voluntary measures Iran has taken to build confidence in its nuclear program in the event it's nuclear dossier is referred to the Security Council." The bill was passed with 114 deputies in favor, 52 against and 16 abstaining.

Majlis' National Security and Foreign Policy Commission had previously approved a bill that would authorize the government to undertake scientific, research and executive activities to complete a nuclear program, a right guaranteed the Iranian nation under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which it is a signatory.

The bill granted authority to the government to suspend voluntary and non-obligatory legal activities, including voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment if its nuclear case was referred to the UN Security Council.

The bill was approved by parliament on November 20 by a vote of 183 in favor, 10 against and three abstaining out of 197 MPs present.

The motion giving the bill the status of single urgency was passed on September 28 by a vote of 162 in favor, 43 against and 15 abstaining.

In the wake of the September anti-Iran resolution passed by the IAEA's 35-nation governing board, 155 MPs introduced a bill of single urgency in Majlis urging the government to "suspend voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol."

Majlis' National Security and Foreign Policy, after making changes on the contents and title of the bill on Nov 1, finally approved it on Tuesday.

Iran suspended uranium enrichment work in its Natanz facility in 2002 and signed the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003 to give "objective guarantees" to the UN nuclear watchdog that the country's nuclear program would not be diverted from its declared civilian purpose.

The Additional Protocol to the NPT grants the IAEA greater investigative powers, including inspections on short notice of all Iranian nuclear sites.

Although the Additional Protocol was signed by the government under then president Mohammad Khatami, it was never approved by Majlis.

Majlis deputies insist the Iranian government signed and implemented the Additional Protocol as a voluntary measure intended to build confidence in the country's nuclear program. As an NPT signatory, Iran had permitted several inspections to its nuclear sites in the past 2.5 years. It had also allowed snap inspections in accordance with the demands of the Additional Protocol.

The deputies now believe there would be no remaining reason or logic to continue Iran's voluntary confidence-building measures and cooperation if the international community insists on imposing duties on the country beyond legal regulations thereby closing the door to the Iranian nation's avowed goal of developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

With this latest Majlis ratification, the Iranian government would then be obliged to suspend its voluntary confidence-building measures, including voluntary suspension of uranimum enrichment and implementation of the NPT Additional Protocol allowing the IAEA swifter and broader investigative powers on the country's nuclear facilities, if its nuclear dossier is referred to the UN Security Council.

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