Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered the conditional suspension of the additional protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Fars news agency reported yesterday.
Meanwhile, Iran could face sanctions if it keeps provoking Israel and the West, European leaders warned yesterday even as the Tehran regime's interior minister said the Iranian president's remarks had been :"misunderstood."
Ahmadinejad aggravated already simmering tensions with the West this week by calling the Holocaust a "myth," a statement that came two months after he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
European leaders said Ahmadinejad's remarks were the latest "provocative political moves" from Tehran since May.
"These comments are wholly unacceptable and have no place in civilized political debate," the leaders said in a summit statement yesterday.
In a written order to Vice-President Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh, who is also head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization, Ahmadinejad called for the implementing of the recently approved law to suspend all voluntary cooperation with the IAEA if the Iranian nuclear case is referred to the UN Security Council.
The Iranian parliament last month approved a bill urging the government to suspend the IAEA additional protocol conditionally.
According to the bill, the government will be urged to limit or even stop IAEA inspection of Iranian nuclear sites if Tehran is referred to the Security Council.
Ahmadinejad said last Wednesday that there should be no doubts whatsoever that the government will not retreat one inch from realizing the legitimate right of the Iranian nation to have nuclear technology.
EU leaders warned Tehran they would review diplomatic options for possible sanctions against Iran.
The condemnation came as Iran prepares to resume talks on Wednesday with European envoys over its nuclear program, which the EU and US fear is intended to build atomic weapons. Envoys from Britain, Germany and France are trying to get Tehran to halt uranium enrichment.
"I haven't seen any evidence that Iran is interested in a deal that is going to be acceptable to an international community that is extremely skeptical of what the Iranians are up to," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Washington.
Rice predicted that the US would have enough votes at the UN Security Council to impose international sanctions against Iran but hinted that she was waiting for other nations to join such an effort.
EU leaders warned that the bloc was losing patience in mediating the standoff. "The window of opportunity will not remain open indefinitely."
The leaders said they were "gravely concerned at Iran's failure to build confidence that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful."
On Ahmadinejad's comments regarding the Holocaust, Iran's interior minister insisted on Friday that the West had "misunderstood" what the Iranian president was saying.
Ahmadinejad "wanted to say that if others harmed the Jewish community and created problems for the Jewish community, they have to pay the price themselves," Mostafa Pourmohammadi said in Athens, Greece. "People like the Palestinian people or other nations should not pay the price," he said.
"A historical incident has occurred. Correct or not correct. We don't want to launch research or carry out historical investigation about it," Pourmohammadi said.
In Berlin, German lawmakers unanimously condemned the Iranian president's remarks, calling them "completely unacceptable."
Denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany, a country sensitive about its Nazi past and the genocide that killed more than 6 million Jews during World War II.
"What the Iranian president has said about the state of Israel is completely unacceptable," Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said Friday at the EU.
"He knows that he is denying the Holocaust and he is wrong," Persson said.
But Iran continued its verbal assault against Israel, with the defense minister saying in Tehran that any Israeli attack would provoke a "destructive" response.
Israeli defense officials say they have not ruled out a military strike against Iran if it carries on further toward obtaining some nuclear weapons.