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10/2/03 - IRAN’S WEAPONS-GRADE URANIUM - 2003-10-03

For the second time in recent months, inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency are reported to have found traces of weapons-grade uranium at an electrical plant in Iran. The plant is on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran’s capital. Earlier this year, I-A-E-A inspectors found traces of enriched uranium at a plant in the central Iranian city of Natanz.

The findings are further evidence that Iran may be secretly engaged in building nuclear weapons. Iran has vast reserves of oil and natural gas. It does not need nuclear power to supply its energy needs. Yet Iranian officials insist that they are pursuing a nuclear program only for domestic civilian purposes. White House spokesman Scott McClellan says Iran’s assurances are not credible:

“These are part of a longstanding pattern of evasion and deception to disguise the true nature and purpose of Iran’s nuclear activities.”

The I-A-E-A has given Iran an October 31st deadline to prove that its nuclear program is not a cover for building nuclear bombs. If Iran fails to comply, the United Nations Security Council will need to take action. A nuclear-armed Iran, with the capability to attack or blackmail its neighbors, would be dangerous and destabilizing. President George W. Bush says it is critical that other countries unite to prevent such a threat:

“It’s very important for the world to make it very clear to Iran that there will be universal condemnation if they continue with a nuclear weapons program. . . . People understand the danger of the Iranians having a nuclear weapons program.”

The extremist Muslim clerical regime in Tehran has made Iran the world’s most active sponsor of international terrorism. Terrorist groups supported by Iran include Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestine Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Iran has already provided some of these groups with conventional weapons.

As President Bush said recently to the United Nations General Assembly, “The deadly combination of outlaw regimes and terror networks and weapons of mass murder is a peril that cannot be ignored or wished away.”