Iran may reconsider atomic watchdog cooperation

By the CNN Wire Staff
November 14, 2011  

(CNN) -- Iranian lawmakers want Tehran to reassess its cooperation with the U.N. atomic agency after the latter published what Iran calls a "politically motivated" report on its nuclear program, state-run Press TV reported
Ali Larijani, speaker of the parliament, said Sunday the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency was based on outdated information from the United States and Israel.
"I think we should seriously reconsider our cooperation," according parliament member Siamak Mareh Sedq, who said the negatives of IAEA membership outweigh positives.
"Anyone in his right mind will think twice before becoming a member of such an organization," lawmaker Mehdi Kouchakzadeh said.
Mohammad-Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard, vice speaker of the parliament, suggested a different approach.
"I think we must work with the IAEA. This way we can continue to prove that the agency has no independence," Aboutorabi-Fard said. "The opposite is also true; as a member we can help the agency revise its policies and become politically independent and effective as an international body."
According to the report released last week, Iran is believed to have continued weapons research and technology development after 2003, when the intelligence community thought it had stopped. Instead of halting, it seems Iran took a hiatus, although the program has progressed at a more modest pace since then, the report said.
Iran has always said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
President Barack Obama said Sunday that the United States continues to work with the international community, especially Russia and China, to isolate Iran and strengthen sanctions against them.
"I have said repeatedly and I will say it today, we are not taking any options off the table, because it's my firm belief that an Iran with a nuclear weapon would pose a security threat not only to the region but also to the United States," Obama said during a news conference after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii.
"But our strong preference is to have Iran meet its international obligations, negotiate diplomatically, to allow them to have peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with international law, but at the same time, forswear the weaponization of nuclear power."
The United States will continue to consult with Russia and China in the coming weeks on possible options available, Obama said. The three nations agree that they don't want a nuclear arms race triggered in the region, according to the president.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that Russia will not support new sanctions.
"I think that the campaign (around the IAEA report) might have been orchestrated to stir up passions and to prepare the ground for new unilateral sanctions. We think that the potential of sanctions against Iran has been spent," he said, according to the Interfax news agency.
Israel, meanwhile, warned it will consider all options to confront its archnemesis.
"It's clear that Iran is trying to achieve a nuclear weapon and Iran needs to be stopped," Tzipi Livni, an Israeli opposition leader and former foreign minister, said last week. "Iran needs to understand ... that all options are on the table."
But Germany on Monday said it will not take part in discussions about military action.
"We think such discussions are counterproductive and even dangerous," said Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.