Iran will not quit treaty, its nuclear chief asserts

Iran will not quit treaty, its nuclear chief asserts

Urging moderation after a week of harsh rhetoric over Iran’s nuclear program, the head of the country’s nuclear agency emphasized Saturday that Iran would not seek to pull out of the international Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran’s state-run Press TV reported.

The comments by Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, came just a day after the government ratcheted up tensions with the West by saying that it would keep the details of 10 planned uranium enrichment sites secret until six months before they would become operational.

The announcement on Nov. 29 that Iran would seek to build the new sites was taken as defiance of a resolution by the United Nations’ nuclear agency pushing Iran to halt all uranium enrichment activity immediately. Several hard-line members of the Iranian Parliament went even further, demanding that Iran pull out of the nonproliferation treaty and stop complying with international inspections under the agreement.

On Saturday, Mr. Salehi sought to assure that Iran had no interest in pulling out of the treaty, and he implied that any other suggestion was an attempt by Western countries to force Iran into a corner. “I think the West is trying to force us out of the N.P.T.,” he was quoted as saying on the Press TV Web site. [continued…]

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