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Iran warns West over UN nuclear referral - report
Updated: 2006-01-23 08:49

Iran will resume industrial-scale uranium enrichment if it is referred to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear standoff with the West, a senior Iranian official was quoted on Monday as saying.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani urged the European Union to reopen talks which stalled after Tehran broke U.N. seals on uranium enrichment equipment.

The West suspects Iran wants the radioactive material to help make nuclear arms. Tehran says it will be used to generate electricity.

"If the negotiating route is open, we prefer to reach a conclusion through talks," Larijani told the newspaper. "But if this route is closed, we are obliged to follow up our other scenario. Everything depends on the way we are treated."

Asked if there was a timescale for uranium enrichment on an industrial scale, he said: "Yes. We have a plan for resumption.

"If we are referred to the Security Council, the government is obliged ... to lift all voluntary measures."

Washington and the EU want the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for pressure including possible sanctions.

Three EU powers, Germany, Britain and France, have refused to hold more talks until Tehran again suspends its uranium enrichment work.

Last month, Moscow proposed setting up a joint venture with Iran that would enrich uranium on Russian soil for Iran's planned nuclear reactors.

Larijani said no decision had been made on the Russian proposal.

"It is one we can study," he told the FT in a report on its Web site (http://www.ft.com). "This proposal, however, has to be completed. There are some points which should be reconsidered in a more comprehensive plan."

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