TEHRAN, 30 Sept. (IPS) Iran reacted angrily on Tuesday at the European Union’s warning that it would face economic sanctions if it did not comply with demands by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“This is unacceptable for the Islamic Republic”, the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s senior spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi was quoted by the Iranian students news agency ISNA as having commented on the 15-25 members organization’s statement issued Monday in Brussels.

The warning was "unacceptable" and "far removed from the principles of cooperation" between the EU and Tehran, he said, according to ISNA.

EU foreign Affairs ministers issued the warning to the Islamic Republic as the two sides continue talks on the signing of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Political analysts told Iran Press Service that Europe could stop the TCA, which is very important for Iran, if Tehran fails to sign the additional Protocols to the Non Proliferation Treaty by the end of October.

"More intense economic relations can be achieved only if progress is reached in the four areas of concern", the ministers said in a statement, referring to Iran’s nuclear programs, its support for international terrorism and its opposition to peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.

“Iran’s harsh reaction shows that it had not expected the EU taking such a hard line on Iran”, one political analyst in Tehran said, noting that Tehran has counted on Europe as a bargain chip and counterweight to US and Israeli pressures.

“The EU should act in an independent manner, without account of the climate that has been artificially created (by the United States), ISNA quoted Asefi as having said, as the Vienna-based IAEA’s Chief Dr Mohammad El-Bradeh’i warned on Tuesday that, unless Iran began to give him "full cooperation" soon, it could face international sanctions.

On 12 September, the 35 Governors of the IAEA gave the Islamic Republic until the end of October to sign the Additional Protocols or its case would be passed on the United Nations Security council for decision, that could include economic punishments against Tehran.

The Resolution utterly angered the Iranian ruling ayatollahs, with some of them openly urging the government to leave the NPT.

The additional Protocols would allow inspectors from the UN’s nuclear watchdog unlimited access to all of Iran’s nuclear sites.

On Monday, Tehran said it would limit access for IAEA’s inspectors, due to arrive in Tehran on Thursday, to declared nuclear sites, including its controversial uranium enriching plants that were built secretly.

"If we cannot have full cooperation, full disclosure, unfortunately I'll have to say that I am not able to verify the Iranian statements", that their nuclear program is purely peaceful, IAEA chief Mohamed El-Barade’i told reporters.

He said on Tuesday the "number one priority" was to understand the nature of Iran's uranium enrichment program.

The IAEA has found traces of weapons-grade uranium at two sites in Iran, diplomats told Reuters, raising suspicions that Iran has long been making enriched uranium.

Iran says the traces were due to contamination from imported equipment, but that explanation has met with skepticism inside and outside the IAEA.

The uranium enriching plants have increased international concerns that Iran is after a nuclear arsenal, an allegation strongly rejected by Iranian officials, claiming that the enriched uranium is to be used in Iran’s nuclear powered electricity plants.

But experts pointed out that the enriched uranium needed for the Booshehr plant would be provided by Russia, the country that is building the nuclear-powered station in this Persian Gulf city.

After meeting with his Iranian counterpart in New York, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Igor Ivanov said Moscow had “no problems” in continuing its atomic cooperation with Iran.

El-Barade’i said Iran had yet to answer any of the outstanding questions outlined in the September 12 IAEA board resolution, though he hoped all would be answered before the deadline.

He also said that Iran had yet to open talks on signing the Additional Protocol.

"This (the protocol) is not my number one priority," he said. "My number one priority is to resolve past outstanding issues, primarily the enrichment program". ENDS EU IRAN NUCLEAR 30903