Be ready to face consequences: Iran to US

Posted online: Monday, October 03, 2005 at 1939 hours IST

Tehran, October 3: Iran threatened on Monday to use its 'full might' to US endanger interests if Washington upped the pressure on Tehran over its disputed nuclear programme.

Washington and the European Union have prepared the ground for the Governing Board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to send Iran to the UN Security Council next month for possible sanctions for violating international nuclear obligations.

The United States and its European allies argue Iran is making atomic fuel for use in weapons, but Tehran says its nuclear programme is dedicated solely to generating electricity.

Ali Larijani, secretary-general of Supreme National Security Council, said the United States, Iran's arch-foe, should end its aggressive policies against Tehran or face the consequences.

"If pressured by America, Iran will use its full might to endanger America's interests," chief nuclear negotiator Larijani was quoted as saying by the Siyasat-e Rouz daily. Larijani did not elaborate.

US officials have also repeatedly accused Iran of stirring up violence against their troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran denies the allegation.

The Khaleej Times daily in the United Arab Emirates quoted Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday as saying Tehran may hold back on oil sales if its nuclear programme is referred to the UN Security Council, without elaborating.

The report was later denied by Ahmadinejad's office.

Angered by last month's IAEA resolution requiring Iran be reported at a future date to the Security Council, Iran has repeatedly said it would resume a full atomic fuel cycle if its case were referred.

But although Iran's nuclear programme has become a matter of national pride, many politicians have urged the clerical establishment to be more cautious with the West to avoid isolation and being reported to the Security Council.

"We should avoid measures that could impose high cost on the nation," lawmaker Hossein Afarideh told Parliament on Sunday, in a session broadcast live on radio.

Hardline lawmakers are considering a bill that would oblige the government to stop implementing the Non-Proliferation Treaty's Additional Protocol, which allows snap UN inspections of nuclear facilities, observed under a deal with the EU3, Britain, France and Germany.

Russia, which, along with China, helped block Iran's immediate referral to the council at the last IAEA meeting, urged Iran to 'continue voluntary cooperation with the IAEA'.

"Withdrawing from it (the Additional Protocol) will not help the resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem within the framework of the IAEA," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Monday.

Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Friday Iran's nuclear impasse could still be resolved through diplomacy rather than confrontation.