Iran responded to additional sanctions being imposed by the United Nations (UN) Security Council by saying that it would partially suspend cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The UN Security Council unanimously agreed on 24 March on a further package of sanctions against Iran for not suspending its uranium enrichment program. The latest sanctions block Iranian arms exports and freeze the assets of 28 people and organizations involved in Iran's nuclear and missile work.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a defiant statement saying that "Iran's enrichment of uranium is a legal issue," maintaining that the country's nuclear program was solely for energy production. He said that Iran "will not stop its peaceful and legal nuclear trend even for one second because of such an illegal resolution."
Ahmadinejad said the additional Security Council sanctions "stem from the hostility by some powers against Iran," adding that Iran would "adjust" its ties with those behind the sanctions.
On 25 March, government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham announced on state television that, "after this illegal resolution was passed last night, it forced the government to "suspend parts of its activities" with the IAEA. He said that the cabinet had decided to suspend "code 1-3 of minor arrangements of the safeguards" with the IAEA. Elham added that "subsidiary arrangements" with the agency would be affected until Iran's nuclear program was referred back to the IAEA from the Security Council.
Under Iran's Safeguards Agreements with the IAEA, part of its commitments under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran must report to the agency six months before it introduces nuclear material of any kind into any facility. Tehran has also committed to inform the IAEA of any planned new nuclear construction before such constructions begins.
A number of world leaders called on Iran to return to talks and consider a package of incentives to end its uranium enrichment program. Javier Solana, the European Union's (EU's) foreign policy representative, said that he would contact Iran's nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, "to see whether we can find a route to negotiations."
Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said that his country would issue an official response to an offer by the USA, the UK, China, France, Germany and Russia to return to talks aimed at ending the stalemate over Iran's nuclear program. However, he gave no indication that the country would suspend its uranium enrichment, a prerequisite set by the other countries involved.
WNA's Iraq, North Korea & Iran - Implications for Safeguards information paper
WNN: Russia toughens stance with Iran
WNN: Iran: Enrichment freeze deadline approaches
WNN: Insight Briefing: Iran rebuked by sanctions