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Iranian government in row with parliament over new nuclear law

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Iranian government in row with parliament over new nuclear law

A bill passed by hardliners in Iran on the country’s future nuclear policy has sparked an open dispute between the government and parliament.

The local press quoted government spokesman Ali Rabiei on Wednesday saying “parliament has no authority to deal with the issue of nuclear policy at all, only the Security Council can do that.’’

The Iranian Atomic Energy Agency (AEOI) and the Foreign Ministry also criticized the new law as politically unwise and technically unrealistic.

Iran claims its nuclear programme is primarily for civilian power generation, but world powers fear Tehran has ambitions to produce atomic weapons.

“We not only have the authority, but also the duty to intervene,’’ countered Parliamentary President Mohammed Bagher Ghalibaf.

The law should ensure that “the Iranian nuclear programme does not become a one-way street of the West,’’ Ghalibaf said.

Iranian government in row with parliament over new nuclear law

The background to the row is a law according to which the AEOI should produce and store 120km of 20-per-cent enriched uranium per year.

In the longer term, the supply of low-enriched uranium is to be increased to 500km per month and faster centrifuges are also to be manufactured.

The politically sensitive part of the law is Iran’s withdrawal from the additional protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which would then also restrict or even prohibit the access to Iran’s nuclear sites by UN inspectors.

The law violates in all respects the Vienna Nuclear Agreement of 2015, which was intended to deter Iran from a nuclear weapons programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.

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