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"Is it worth abiding by atomic rules?" Iran asks UN

Written by: Staff
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TEHRAN, Apr 26 (Reuters) Iran has asked the UN nuclear watchdog to explain why Tehran should abide by international atomic protocols when it gets so little in return, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today.

Iran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but often grumbles that it does not benefit from the treaty's entitlement to shared technology.

''We have asked them (the UN watchdog), and we are waiting for an answer: what have they given us in reward for doing our duty? What sort of help have they given us?'' he told reporters after meeting Sudan's president in Tehran.

The president's remarks come two days before Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will deliver a report on Iran's nuclear activities to the UN Security Council.

Tehran faces possible sanctions in the council after failing to persuade the international community it is enriching uranium for power stations and not for warheads.

Western diplomats argue Iran's demand for shared know-how under the NPT is spurious as this entitlement would only be valid if it were certain that Tehran's ambitions were peaceful.

Ahmadinejad reiterated his view that Iran could reconsider its commitment to the NPT and its co-operation with the IAEA if it felt it were being short-changed.

''We hope they fulfil their duties and make it unnecessary for the Islamic Republic of Iran to reconsider its relations with them,'' he said.

''Our scientists have mastered this technology with their own brains, their own might and their own hands,'' he added.

Despite always insisting the atomic programme is home-grown, Iran has been heavily reliant on Russian expertise and on black-market trade linked to the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Iran has flouted calls from both the IAEA and the UN Security Council that it halt enriching uranium. Ahmadinejad stressed these two bodies did not necessarily represent the law.

''They should know that they cannot impose any decisions upon us by using the name of the IAEA and UN Security Council because illegal decisions do not become legitimate just by using the name of the agency and Security Council.'' Although Iran says it bases its nuclear policy on the NPT, it has pulled out of the Additional Protocol to the treaty, which allows snap inspections of atomic facilities.

REUTERS DKS PM1450

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