World News

Iran speaker: will ditch fuel plan if new sanctions

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will abandon an atomic fuel swap plan brokered by Turkey and Brazil if the United States imposes new sanctions on the Islamic state, Iran’s parliament speaker said on Sunday.

In remarks broadcast on state-owned IRIB, Ali Larijani said Tehran could also review its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“If the Americans want to seek adventure, whether in the U.N Security Council or in (the U.S.) Congress, all the efforts of Turkey and Brazil will be in vain and this path will be abandoned,” said Larijani, an influential conservative.

“In this situation parliament will make a different decision over Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA.”

Parliament has the power to oblige the government to change its cooperation with the IAEA, as it did in 2006 after the Vienna-based agency voted to report Iran to the Security Council.

A day earlier, another senior lawmaker said Tehran planned to go ahead with the deal reached with Turkey and Brazil despite a new sanctions resolution pending at the United Nations.

Iran’s official news agency IRNA said on Friday Iran will hand an official letter to the IAEA on Monday with details of the agreement with Brazil and Turkey.

The IAEA brokered the basis of the deal last October in talks involving Iran, France, Russia and the United States but it soon unraveled amid Iranian demands for amendments. Larijani was a critic of that plan.

Leaders of Iran, Brazil and Turkey announced the new agreement last Monday under which Iran will send 1,200 kg of its enriched uranium stocks -- reducing its supply of potential atomic bomb material -- to Turkey in exchange for fuel rods for a Tehran medical research reactor.

But the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, after months of negotiations, brushed off the deal with a draft resolution on a new set of sanctions against Iran that Washington handed to the Security Council on Tuesday.

Western powers fear that Iran is secretly trying to produce nuclear weapons, but Tehran denies this and says it is enriching uranium only to produce fuel for nuclear power stations.

Turkey and Brazil -- both currently non-permanent members of the Security Council -- and Iran have urged a halt to talk of further sanctions because of the deal, but Western powers suspect it is an Iranian tactic to avert or delay sanctions.

The new, extended sanctions would target Iranian banks and call for inspection of vessels suspected of carrying cargo related to Iran’s nuclear or missile programs.

Reporting by Ramin Mostafavi; editing by Maria Golovnina