Iran's parliament on Dec 27 approved a bill obliging the government to "revise its cooperation" with the UN nuclear watchdog in retaliation for Security Council sanctions slapped on Tehran.
|Iran parliament votes to reduce IAEA cooperation|
The text of the bill, which also tells the government to "accelerate" Iran's controversial nuclear programme, was approved by an overwhelming majority in the conservative-controlled parliament, with 161 in favour and 15 against.
The formulation leaves the government a free hand to cut cooperation with the Vienna-based agency as it feels best. This could involve limiting UN inspections of its atomic sites, a move urged by several lawmakers.
"Officials from the foreign ministry and the supreme national security council should be left to interpret the text," said Deputy Foreign Minister Hamid Reza Asefi who promoted the bill in parliament on behalf of the government.
"We do not have the intention of leaving the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," said parliament speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel.
"The government should react (to the bill) in a way appropriate to the international pressure.
"This could mean quitting the NPT or staying there. We will give a free hand to the government to take its decisions," he added.
Lawmakers first voted on the title of the bill and then on the fuller text which reads that "the government is obliged, following resolution 1737, to accelerate the nuclear programme and revise its cooperation with the IAEA".
After weeks of diplomatic wrangling, the UN Security Council on Saturday adopted a resolution which imposes restrictions on Iran's nuclear industry and ballistic missile programme.