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Iran's parliament votes to revise ties with the U.N. nuclear agency.

Iran's parliament votes to revise ties with the U.N. nuclear agency.

Iran's parliament voted Wednesday to urge the government to "revise" ties with the U.N. nuclear agency in a move seen as likely to reduce the country's cooperation with the international atomic authority.
The vote came four days after the U.N. Security Council decided to impose limited sanctions on Iran for its refusal to cease enrichment of uranium _ a process that produces the material for either nuclear reactors or bombs.
Members of Iran's ruling hierarchy had repeatedly urged the government to cut ties with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, if the Security Council imposes sanctions.
"The bill gives a free hand to the government to decide on a range of reactions _ from leaving the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to remaining in the International Atomic Energy Agency and negotiating," speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said during the debate, which was broadcast live on state radio.
What steps Iran would take was not immediately clear. Legislators and newspapers have mooted that Iran might restrict the IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities _ cutting the number of inspections and barring inspectors from certain sites.
The bill said that the government was "obliged to accelerate the country's peaceful nuclear program and revise its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency based on national interests."
In Vienna, the IAEA declined to comment on the vote.
The government supported the bill. "This is a very helpful proposal," Deputy Foreign Minister Hamid Reza Asefi told the assembly. "I ask legislators to vote for it."
Speaker Haddad Adel said that 161 of the 203 legislators in the assembly voted for the bill. Fifteen legislators voted against it, and another 15 abstained. The opponents and abstainers were reformists and moderate conservatives.
The Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog controlled by hard-line clerics, approved the bill very quickly _ showing how seriously the ruling hierarchy regarded the move.
"I was informed that the Guardian Council also approved the bill, minutes after the parliament," said deputy speaker Mohammad Reza Bahnoar.
Some hard-line legislators pushed for a bill that took a more aggressive line against the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, which they accused of being dominated by the United States.
"The draft is not appropriate to the United States' animosity to Iran," said legislator Hassan Kamran. "This is a weak draft. It should be stronger."
But other legislators said the bill should be thrown out.
"There is no need for the bill. We should lessen tensions," said legislator Noureddin Pirmoazzen, a reformist.
The nuclear program is supported by all political factions in Iran as it is seen as a symbol of the country's technological progress. The opposition to Wednesday's vote shows there are those who believe the authorities are pursuing a policy that is unnecessarily confrontational.
The bill will take effect 15 days after it is signed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has ardently championed the nuclear program.
The United States and some allies accuse Iran of using a civilian nuclear program as a cover for developing a nuclear bomb. Iran denies this, saying its program is strictly for generating electricity from nuclear fuel.
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Updated : 2020-12-01 14:11 GMT+08:00