TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian President Mohammad Khatami (search) called a nuclear deal reached with European nations a "great victory" but said Wednesday that Tehran won't respect its commitment if Europeans fail to support his country at a U.N. nuclear watchdog meeting next week.
"Europeans, under the agreement, have recognized that Iran can exercise its rights (in seeking nuclear technology). This is a great victory," Khatami told reporters.
The agreement, detailed Monday by Iran and in a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (search), commits Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment and related activities within a week in return for European guarantees that Iran has the right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program.
Khatami said Iran won't respect its commitments under the deal if Europeans fail to meet their obligations. The first test, he said, "is the IAEA board meeting."
Khatami called "positive" a report by Mohamed El-Baradei, the IAEA chief, saying the report indicated that there was no need for any extraordinary investigation of Iran's nuclear activities and that Iran's dossier needs to be normalized at the agency.
"Take the first step correctly and use Iran's confidence and good will. Show good will. If the IEAE board of governors adopts a correct decision, it will be a step in the direction that will give us more hope that our rights will be exercised," Khatami said.
"If we see that they don't keep their promise, it's natural that we won't fulfill our promise," he warned.
The deal has prompted strong criticism by hard-liners who have accused the government of ignoring Iran's rights. The deal also prompted conservative lawmakers to summon Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Hasan Rowhani, to parliament Tuesday to question him over the agreement.