[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Sunday, 5 February 2006, 15:55 GMT
Iran 'still open for negotiation'
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran cast doubt on the Russian proposal on Saturday
Iran says the door is still open for talks on its nuclear programme, despite its move to end voluntary co-operation with the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA.

Iran says it will no longer allow snap UN checks of its nuclear sites and will also end its suspension of full-scale uranium enrichment.

But a foreign ministry spokesman said talks on a Russian compromise proposal would go ahead.

On Saturday, the IAEA voted to report Tehran to the UN Security Council.

The move could lead to eventual sanctions against Iran, although any action has been put off until a report by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, on 6 March.

Iran has confirmed it will go ahead with planned talks with Russia on 16 February.

But foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the proposal - to enrich uranium inside Russia - would have to be adapted to meet the new situation.

Iranians react to nuclear row

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that following its referral to the UN Security Council, Iran no longer had any obligations towards the additional protocol, an agreement that gives international inspectors the right to make short-notice visits to Iran's nuclear sites.

"Yesterday we had two options. One was the option of resistance and the other was surrender," he said. "We chose resistance."

The protocol also means Iran will end its voluntary suspension of industrial-scale uranium enrichment.

Uranium enrichment is a process that creates fuel for nuclear reactors and, potentially, for a nuclear bomb.

Iran denies it has been concealing efforts to develop nuclear weapons, maintaining its programme is only for producing energy and does not have a military aim.

The BBC's Frances Harrison says that without the protocol the IAEA will be more restricted in its work, which was already difficult because of lack of Iranian co-operation.

US President George W Bush said on Saturday the referral to the UN Security Council "sent a clear message to the regime in Iran" that it could not gain nuclear weapons.

The move to report Tehran, agreed by 27 of the 35 states on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), could lead to possible sanctions against Iran.

'New situation'

On Saturday, Iranian deputy nuclear negotiator Javad Vaiedi appeared to cast doubt on the compromise deal with Russia, saying it was not clear how the proposal could be considered.

NEXT STEPS
16 Feb, Moscow: Russia and Iran resume talks on Russia's proposed compromise
March, Vienna: IAEA to report on Iranian compliance; possible Security Council action to follow

But Mr Asefi said the IAEA decision was not the end of the road and Iran was still ready to co-operate.

"The second round of talks will go ahead, but the Russian proposal must be adapted to the new situation so that we can examine it," he said.

The resolution urged Iran to extend "indispensable and overdue" co-operation to the IAEA and help it "clarify possible activities which could have a military dimension".

Russia and China agreed to support the resolution on condition it did not contain any immediate threat of sanctions against Iran.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch the Iranian president's comments




PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific