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5/17/04 - U.S. ON IRAN'S NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES - 2004-05-18

The U.S. Congress has voted overwhelmingly to condemn Iran for its covert nuclear activities. In a three-hundred-seventy-six to three vote, the House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution that expressed "the concern of Congress over Iran's development of the means to produce nuclear weapons." The resolution cites Iran's "continuing deception to the International Atomic Energy Agency [I-A-E-A] and the international community," and says it is "abundantly clear that Iran remains committed to a nuclear weapons program."

The resolution demands that Iran "immediately and permanently cease efforts to acquire nuclear fuel cycle capabilities and cease nuclear enrichment activities." It calls on "all state parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [N-P-T], including the United States, to use appropriate measures to deter, dissuade, and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

President George W. Bush has said that the world cannot tolerate a nuclear weapons-armed Iran. Congressman Tom Lantos of California says the U.S. Congress shares that view:

"It's very important that both the Iranian authorities and all the countries which are involved with this issue understand that the administration and the Congress stand together in our determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons."

Congressman Lantos says there is a logical way to deal with the issue:

"Basically the formula that Libya has adopted. Libya was developing weapons of mass destruction, and Colonel [Moammar] Gadhafi saw that this was contrary to the best interests of Libya itself. And [he] chose to give up its weapons of mass destruction. . . . We very much hope that the Iranian authorities will take a similar position, recognize that developing nuclear weapons is unacceptable and counterproductive and will give up those ambitions."

The resolution passed by the U.S. Congress urges the International Atomic Energy Agency "at its earliest opportunity, to report to the United Nations Security Council that Iran is in noncompliance with its agreements to the I-A-E-A." The I-A-E-A Board of Governors meets again in June to consider Iran's case.