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6/22/03 - IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM - 2003-06-23


President George W. Bush said Iran's nuclear weapons program is everyone's concern:

"The international community must come together to make it very clear to Iran that we will not tolerate the construction of a nuclear weapon."

At a meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations, Mr. Bush said, "we had a good discussion on the subject, with near universal agreement that we must work together to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon."

According to a report by International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, Iran failed to meet its obligations to the I-A-E-A to report its processing, use, and storage of nuclear materials. In 1991, Iran imported two tons of uranium compounds from abroad without reporting it. Later, Iran covertly processed some of that uranium. In both cases, Iran's failure to report its activities was a clear violation of its agreement with the I-A-E-A.

Iran itself barely bothers to deny the obvious. In February, Iranian Atomic Energy Minister Gholamreza Agazadeh said Iran plans to mine uranium and enrich it. He also identified facilities intended for those purposes. For a country so rich in oil and natural gas, such activities make sense only in the context of a nuclear weapons program.

Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons are especially dangerous since Iran is the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism. Iran supports Hamas, among other terrorist groups. Hamas is responsible for most of the suicide bombings that have killed or wounded hundreds of Israelis in the past two years. Hamas has vowed to destroy Israel and any effort to promote an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has warned that "terrorists are planning appalling crimes, trying to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction." Would an Iran with nuclear weapons be safe to have around?

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