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    Iran pledges to continue enrichment, but stay in nuclear treaty

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    Iran will never leave the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but will continue uranium enrichment despite demands by world powers to suspend its controversial nuclear program, a senior nuclear official said.

    TEHRAN, June 18 (RIA Novosti) - Iran will never leave the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but will continue uranium enrichment despite demands by world powers to suspend its controversial nuclear program, a senior nuclear official said.

    Since Iran resumed uranium enrichment in January 2006, the country has been the focus of international concerns, with some Western countries, particularly the U.S., suspecting Tehran of pursuing a covert weapons program. Iran has repeatedly stated that any halt in enrichment activities would be absolutely unacceptable, as the country has an unalienable right to peaceful nuclear energy under the NPT.

    "Washington is attempting to provoke Iran into leaving the Non-Proliferation Treaty and suspending its membership with the IAEA," Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said in a speech late on Tuesday at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

    "Iran will neither accept leaving the IAEA, NPT nor suspending uranium enrichment," he said.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, has been investigating Iran's nuclear activity for more than five years but so far has been unable to determine whether its nuclear program has military ramifications.

    The NPT, a treaty of unlimited duration, went into effect March 5, 1970. As of 2003, it was ratified by 187 countries. Iran signed the treaty on February 2, 1970.

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