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I.A.E.A. To Cut Aid To Iran

The International Atomic Energy Agency, or I-A-E-A, has released a report with its recommendations for implementing the suspension of I-A-E-A technical cooperation to Iran, which is mandated under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1-7-3-7. The I-A-E-A determined that nearly half of its Technical Cooperation projects for Iran are inconsistent with resolution 1-7-3-7, including some that may involve assistance in activities explicitly prohibited under the resolution. The I-A-E-A Board of Governors will consider the report and recommendations during its next regular session in March.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that the I-A-E-A is right to cut technical assistance to Iran:

"We have a real issue with the idea that an international organization, part of which we fund, as well as other countries, would be offering technical assistance on nuclear energy and the technologies associated with it while you have a country that is under Chapter Seven resolution, precisely because the rest of the world doesn't trust their assurances that they are not seeking a nuclear weapon."

President George W. Bush says there is no doubt that the Iranian government's desire for a nuclear weapon poses a grave danger to the rest of the world. But it is a danger, he says, that can be resolved diplomatically:

"All major problems should be solved diplomatically. In other words, the military is the last resort to solve problems. And I believe we still have the capacity to solve this issue diplomatically because a lot of the world now understands the dangers of Iran having a nuclear weapon. And so we're working toward that end and we're pressuring the regime through diplomatic channels."

"The Iranian people, says President Bush, "are good, decent, honorable people":

"And they've got a government that is belligerent, loud, noisy, threatening; a government which is in defiance of the rest of the world and says, 'We want a nuclear weapon.'"

"Our objective," says Mr. Bush, "is to continue to keep the pressure and hope that rational folks [in Iran] will show up and say, 'It's not worth it; it's not worth the isolation.'"