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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 September 2005, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Iran defies nuclear referral risk
By Frances Harrison
BBC News, Tehran

Two technicians carry a box containing yellowcake at the Iranian nuclear facility at Isfahan
The EU has hardened its stance since Iran resumed nuclear activity
Iran's new foreign minister has warned of "consequences" if Europe refers Iran to the United Nations Security Council over its nuclear programme.

Speaking at a news conference, Dr Manucher Mottaki said there was no legal basis for referral because Iran had been very transparent.

He ruled out any renewed suspension of uranium conversion in the future.

But he did say Tehran favoured carrying on negotiations and would look at having more parties around the table.

'Lose-lose situation'

Talks with the European Union are unlikely, however, as Europe says Iran's decision last month to resume conversion of uranium violated the agreement underpinning months of negotiations.

Dr Mottaki has warned that referring Iran to the UN over its nuclear programme would be what he called "a lose-lose situation".

Asked if such a move would prompt Tehran to suspend its adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the minister said no such decision had yet been made.

A group of MPs has started collecting signatures for a bill obliging Iran to pull out of the NPT if it is referred to the UN.

It is not clear how serious this move is. A senior parliamentarian has told an Iranian website that the MPs do not represent the final view of parliament.

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