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I-A-E-A To Meet On Iran Dispute

The International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors will meet on February 2nd to discuss Iran's nuclear program.

The European Union, with the support of the United States, called for the emergency meeting. They want the I-A-E-A board to refer Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council.

In September 2005, the I-A-E-A board found that Iran's twenty-year history of hiding sensitive nuclear activities was in violation of its own safeguards agreement with the I-A-E-A. In addition, Iran unilaterally broke a two-year-old agreement with Germany, France, and Britain, the E-U-3, and resumed uranium conversion last August, and related activities earlier this month. Highly enriched uranium can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the time has come to make Iran's government accountable for its actions:

"They have walked out of negotiations with the E-U-3. They have broken the moratorium on enrichment and reprocessing that they had been involved in. They have broken the seals at [the] Natanz [nuclear power plant]. It seems to me that the case for referral is very strong and that's what we intend to seek at the I-A-E-A Board of Governors meeting. The Security Council can then take up the matter at a later time, but the referral absolutely has to be made."

Secretary of State Rice says it is the Iranian government, not the Iranian people, which is isolating Iran from the rest of the world:

"The Iranian people are a great people who deserve to be fully integrated into the international community. And I think that one thing that we will want to think about is. . . .whatever the course that is taken with Iran, the message gets through loud and clear, both in rhetoric and reality, to the Iranian people that we do not wish to isolate them."

Secretary of State Rice said that the United States and Europe stand together in their determination to see that the Iranian regime does not develop nuclear weapons. "Iran must know," she said, "that there is a firm international consensus against the activities that Iran is currently engaged in. We would all like to solve this diplomatically and we are all committed to doing so. But Iran must recognize the concerns of the international community and has not done so."

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