Tehran threatens to quit nuke treaty

Iran renewed its threats to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty on Sunday, with its president saying sanctions would be "meaningless" and its parliament seeking to put a final end to unannounced inspections of its nuclear facilities.

The comments recalled the case of North Korea, which left the treaty in 2003. Last year Pyongyang declared it had nuclear weapons _ unlike Tehran, which says its nuclear program is only for generating electricity.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he would not hesitate to reconsider NPT membership, speaking as Washington and its allies pressed for a U.N. Security Council vote to suspend Tehran's uranium enrichment program.

"If a signature on an international treaty causes the rights of a nation be violated, that nation will reconsider its decision and that treaty will be invalid," he told the official news agency IRNA.

Iran's parliament made similar threats in a letter to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan read on state-run radio, saying the dispute over Iran's nuclear program must be resolved "peacefully, (or) there will be no option for the parliament but to ask the government to withdraw its signature" from a protocol to the NPT allowing for intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities.

The Iranian letter also said parliament might order Ahmadinejad's government to review procedures for pulling out of the nuclear treaty, which signatories may do if they decide extraordinary events have jeopardized their "supreme interests."

President Bush, in an interview with ARD German television, said "an armed Iran will be a threat to peace. It will be a threat to peace in the Middle East, it will create a sense of blackmail, it will encourage other nations to feel like they need to have a nuclear weapon. And so it's essential that we succeed diplomatically."

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