The dominant conservatives in the Iranian parliament threatened Thursday to block ratification of a tougher nuclear inspections regime after European states submitted a strongly critical draft resolution to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"If the IAEA board of governors politicizes Iran's file and adopts a hostile position, parliament will defend the national interest and ignore the agency's demand for it to adopt the additional protocol" of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, warned Allaeddin Borujerdi, a conservative MP widely tipped as the next head of the legislature's foreign affairs committee.
Agreeing to the snap inspections by IAEA teams demanded by the additional protocol was a key part of a deal brokered by the British, French and German foreign ministers here in October last year to address US charges that Iran was engaged in covert nuclear weapons development.
Another conservative MP warned that Iran might also go back on another key part of the agreement with the European Union big three and end its suspension of uranium enrichment.
"The Islamic republic will not be able to tolerate the board of governors renewing its past allegations or demanding a complete halt to Iranian nuclear activities," said Manushehr Motaki.
"If this happens, we will renew uranium enrichment."
Britain, France and Germany on Tuesday presented a draft resolution to the IAEA board of governors that was widely seen here as a sop to Iran's archfoe, the United States.
The draft stops short of provoking a showdown over Tehran's alleged secret weapons programme, but sharply criticizes Iran for failing to answer questions about alleged nuclear weapons activities, diplomats said.
Conservatives and reformers alike hit out at the draft.
"Europe hits out at Iran in the board of governors," said the headline in the reformist daily Tosseyeh. "Despite the three European countries' opposition to most aspects of White House Middle East policy... they wanted to move closer to Washington."
Another reformist daily, Sharq, bemoaned "the change of attitude by European leaders", while the government daily Iran complained of the EU's "rushed decision".
The conservative daily Javan went further. "Parliament and government alike must resist the diabolical manoeuverings of the Europeans," it said.
The European draft "deplores" the fact that Iran's "cooperation has not been complete, timely and proactive," according to extracts read by diplomats.
But it "acknowledges Iranian cooperation in responding to agency requests for access to locations including workshops" on military sites.
Iranian Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi earlier labeled as irrational and unreasonable claims by leaders at the Group of Eight summit that Tehran is failing to fully disclose its nuclear program.
"Iran has practically demonstrated its full commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its safeguard clauses," he said.
He reiterated Tehran's insistence that "the peaceful use of nuclear energy is a legitimate right of Iran. The Group of Eight nations must not expect Iran to give up this right; rather they should provide Iran with the necessary means to make use of this technology.
At their meeting in Sea Island, Georgia on Wednesday, G8 leaders cited "serious concerns" about North Korea and chastised Iran as they unveiled measures meant to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
The measures aim to curb transfers of nuclear technology; enhance the powers of the IAEA and step up abilities to prevent and respond to biological weapons attacks.
The leaders stressed: "We deplore Iran's delays, deficiencies in cooperation, and inadequate disclosures."