May 28, 2008 / 10:55 AM / 12 years ago

Iran's speaker warns West over nuclear cooperation

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran’s parliament warned that current levels of cooperating with the U.N. nuclear watchdog were in jeopardy if major powers continue to “kick around” the country’s disputed nuclear case, state radio said on Wednesday.

Iran's would-be parliament speaker Ali Larijani (R) speaks with Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari during the opening session of Iran's new parliament, in Tehran May 27, 2008. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report on Monday, saying Iran’s alleged research into nuclear warheads remained a matter of serious concern and Tehran should provide more information on its missile-related work.

Western powers, reacting to the IAEA report on Iran, have called for more pressure on Iran, which has been hit by three rounds of U.N. sanction for defying a call to halt its sensitive nuclear work

“The West should stop kicking around Iran’s nuclear case between the P5+1 and the Agency,” said Ali Larijani, temporary speaker of Iran’s new parliament.

“If such behavior continues, parliament will set new limits for Iran’s cooperation level with the agency,” Larijani said in parliament which opened on Tuesday.

The P5+1 refers to the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany, who are offering Iran a package of incentives to give up its uranium enrichment.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who is expected to deliver the offer, said on Monday he hoped to go to Iran in the next month to discuss the nuclear issue.

Iran, the fourth-largest oil exporter, says its nuclear work is aimed at generating power and rejects Western claims that it is covertly pursuing nuclear arms. Tehran said the report showed Iran’s nuclear program was peaceful.

Iran in 2006 ended voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty that allowed for short notice IAEA inspections of its nuclear sites, after being referred to the U.N. Security Council.

The new parliament was expected to be more critical of foreign and economic policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has so far rejected U.N. demand on Iran to halt its sensitive nuclear work.

Larijani, resigned as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in 2007 for having differences with Ahmadinejad over how to handle the atomic row with the West.

His remarks were welcomed by parliamentarians, chanting “God is greatest”.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi, Editing by Matthew Jones

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