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Iran Vows to Defy Any UN Calls To Stop Enrichment of Uranium

By William J. Broad
and Elaine Sciolino
THE NEW YORK TIMES

Iran vowed Thursday to defy any U.N. Security Council resolution on its nuclear activities on the eve of a major report by atomic inspectors on the status of its nuclear program.

Javad Zarif, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters in New York that Iran would consider illegitimate any council resolution calling on Iran to stop uranium enrichment that invoked the so-called Chapter 7 clause, which could open the door to penalties and possibly to military action.

The United States has been pressing for such a resolution. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that the Security Council had no choice but to rebuke Iran and that negotiations had apparently broken down between International Atomic Energy Agency monitors and Iranian envoys.

On Friday, the agency will deliver to the Security Council a report expected to be highly critical of Iran’s compliance with demands that it stop enriching uranium. The Council is expected to meet, probably next week, to debate what, if any, punitive action to take against Iran.

“If the Security Council decides to take decisions that are not within its competence, Iran is not obliged to obey them,” Zarif said, speaking to reporters at the residence of the Iranian mission to the United Nations in Manhattan. He said the matter should properly be handled by the atomic energy agency, not the United Nations.

He also sought to portray Iran’s defiant stance as nothing more than a logical response to U.S. threats against Iran. “We’re not upping the ante,” he said. “We’re simply responding to others upping the ante.”

Rice, speaking in Bulgaria at a conference of envoys from NATO and the European Union, said, “What is clear is that it is highly unlikely that Iran is going to accede to the demands of the international community.” She added that “in order to be credible, the Security Council of course has to act.”

Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter deals with “threats to the peace, breaches of peace, and acts of aggression” and its application in this case would make Iranian compliance binding under international law.