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Iran president threatens nuclear treaty withdrawal in face of Council referral

[JURIST] Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [official website; BBC profile] warned Thursday that Iran may stop allowing UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) [official website] inspections of its nuclear facilities and pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) [PDF text] if international pressure to stop its nuclear program continues. Ahmadinejad's threat came shortly after key members of the UN Security Council [official website] announced [text] that Iran's failure to respond to demands to halt work that could lead to nuclear weapons would be referred to the Security Council for further consideration. Iran asserts that it wants to enrich uranium for the sole purpose of making reactor fuel. Representatives from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, the US and the EU said Wednesday that they have agreed to pursue a draft resolution [JURIST report] that would make mandatory an IAEA requirement that Iran suspend enrichment related and reprocessing activities. If Iran fails to comply with that resolution, the countries said they are committed to pursuing measures under Article 41 of the UN Charter [text], which authorizes complete or partial interruption of economic relations, means of communications and the severance of diplomatic relations.

World powers have offered a series of concessions to Iran in an effort to encourage Iran to stop its nuclear program, including diplomatic and technology incentives and multilateral talks with the US involved. In May, Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani said that Iran would not pull out of the NPT after Iranian lawmakers sent a letter [JURIST report] to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan threatening to withdraw from the NPT if Annan and other members of the Security Council failed "in their crucial responsibility to resolve differences peacefully." An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed the country's ongoing commitment [JURIST report] to the NPT in February after Ahmadinejad publicly suggested he might walk away from the treaty [JURIST report]. Iran, which resumed uranium enrichment in January, ignored an earlier non-binding Security Council demand [JURIST reports] to stop the enrichment program. AFP has more. IRNA has local coverage.

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