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Rice In Russia On Iran Nukes

The United States and many other countries remain deeply concerned about Iran's nuclear program.

In September, a majority of the member-nations of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or I-A-E-A, adopted a resolution that found Iran in non-compliance with its safeguards obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The I-A-E-A’s statute requires that such noncompliance be reported to the United Nations Security Council.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss, among other things, Iran's nuclear program. Russia has a billion-dollar contract to build a nuclear power station at Bushehr in Iran, and abstained in the I-A-E-A Board’s vote on Iran.

Mr. Lavrov said that Russia wants to work on the Iranian nuclear issue within the framework of the I-A-E-A. But he also said there are "some questions" regarding Iran's nuclear program that "need to be clarified." Ms. Rice said that referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council remains "an option" but that "there is time for negotiation if Iran is prepared to negotiate in good faith."

The United States believes that oil-and-gas-rich Iran does not need civilian nuclear power. But if it is going to have it, Secretary of State Rice said, the Bushehr arrangement "is a reliable way to make certain that there are no problems with the fuel cycle because it calls for Russia to provide nuclear fuel for the lifetime of that reactor and to take back the spent nuclear fuel.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that the burden is on Iran to prove that it is not trying to build nuclear weapons:

"We have deep concerns about Iran's behavior, given their history. The international community is growing more and more concerned about Iran's refusal to come back to the talks. You saw at the International Atomic Energy Agency that a majority now supports sending Iran to the U.N. Security Council if they don't come back to the table and negotiate in good faith."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the United States, Russia, Europe and others should work together to get the Iranian government to "remove the many questions" about its nuclear program and "recognize that the N-P-T [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] comes not just with rights but with obligations...This is an issue of whether or not the [nuclear] fuel cycle can be trusted in Iran."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.