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U-S, E-U-3 Meet on Iran

The United States continues to hold regular discussions on Iran’s nuclear program with Russia, China, and the European Union 3 – France, Germany, and Britain, including most recently in London on January 16. Those talks followed the Iranian government’s announcement that it has resumed uranium enrichment-related activities, in breach of its suspension agreement with the EU3 and in contravention of numerous requests from the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or I-A-E-A. Uranium enrichment is a key step in the production of nuclear weapons.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that the participants in the London talks agreed that the actions of the Iranian government “raise serious issues” and that it should “return to the suspension of all [uranium] enrichment and reprocessing activity”:

“All parties also agreed that there should be an emergency meeting of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency. . . . I think everybody in the international community understands the importance of making sure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. . . . This is an issue of confidence, this is about the behavior of the regime in Iran. It has a long history of concealing its activities from the international community. That's why it needs to show confidence to the international community that it can be trusted, that it is not developing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian program.”

The United States believes that Iran’s resumption of uranium enrichment demonstrates clearly that Iran is rejecting all current diplomatic efforts to resolve concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. The United States, the EU, and many other countries agree that the time has come for diplomacy to enter a new phase, which should include a decision as soon as possible by the I-A-E-A Board to report Iran to the UN Security Council. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said that "the issue of Iran's nuclear weapons program is a classic threat to international peace and security."

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that given its record, there is no reason to believe that the Iranian government is willing to engage in a “serious diplomatic process” to assure the rest of the world it is not seeking nuclear weapons unless and until further diplomatic and political pressure can be brought to bear on Iran to do so. “They have to suspend their enrichment activities,” he said, “and thus far, we have not seen the Iranians willing to do that.”

U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated the EU has made quite clear that the Iranians have crossed an important threshold, that it is now important for the I-A-E-A Board of Governors to act so that Iran knows that the international community will not tolerate its continued acting with impunity against the interest of the international community.

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