Iran ups nuclear tension with bill - reports

Last updated 08:30 26/12/2013

Relevant offers

Middle East

Iraqi Prime Minister orders air force strike against Islamic State inside Syria Islamic State car bomb kills more than 50 in northwest Syria Former US spy Sabrina de Sousa to be extradited for role in rendition of cleric Iraqi forces storm Mosul airport, military base to drive Islamic State from city The strange route Benjamin Netanyahu took to get from Singapore to Sydney Teen chess grand master banned for wearing a headband instead of a hijab Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls Israel a 'fake' nation, 'dirty chapter' Terrifying video of small girl being pulled alive from Syrian rubble shines light on another deadly Damascus day Gold heist: Thieves disappear after robbing jewellery store by digging 25 metre-long tunnel in Iran In Arab world, fresh doubts about the chances for a Palestinian state

Some 100 Iranian lawmakers introduced a bill in parliament that would force the government to increase uranium enrichment to 60 per cent if new sanctions are imposed on the Islamic Republic, state television reported this morning (NZT). 

The broadcaster said the bill would be put on parliament's agenda for a debate, but didn't say when it would discussed. The bill has to be approved by the 290-seat house and then be ratified by a constitutional watchdog in order to become law.

The bill is likely a response to a legislation introduced in the US Senate last week that would authorise new economic sanctions on Iran if it breaches the interim nuclear deal reached in Geneva last month or fails to strike a final agreement.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment to five per cent and neutralise its stockpile of 20-per cent enriched uranium in return for the easing of some sanctions and a pledge not to impose new ones.

Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, a member of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said the bill, if approved, will give Iran's nuclear negotiators more leverage.

"The bill is designed to oblige the government to produce 60-per cent enriched uranium to fuel submarines and ships in case the other party imposes sanctions," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying. "If the US Congress introduces legislation to impose pressures on us, our parliament should also do that too."

But prominent lawmaker Hossein Sobhaninia said the bill will harm Iran and will only give more ammunition to the US and its allies to increase their pressure on Iran.

"We should not be in a hurry. Approving such legislation will give pretext to the other party," he said in comments posted on the parliament's official website. "We are committed to the Geneva deal."

Iran's hard-liners have called the deal a "poisoned chalice," challenging moderate President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with the task of trying to convince skeptics that they are not compromising on key issues of national sovereignty.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, has supported Iran's nuclear negotiating team, calling them "sons of the revolution" and "our own children."

Iran's nuclear negotiating team have said the terms of the Geneva deal had been approved by the Supreme National Security Council, the country's top security decision-making body, in advance.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content