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6/30/04 - IRAN MAY FACE SANCTIONS - 2004-07-01

The International Atomic Energy Agency has passed a resolution that “deplores” Iran's failure to fully disclose its nuclear activities. The resolution calls for Iran to answer “on an urgent basis” all outstanding questions in the coming months. The discovery of a clandestine nuclear program has fueled suspicions that oil- and gas-rich Iran is covertly developing nuclear weapons under the guise of pursuing nuclear power for civilian purposes.

Iran responded to the I-A-E-A by threatening to restart its uranium enrichment program. U.S. Ambassador to the I-A-E-A Kenneth Brill says that, “If Iran were to follow up on its many repeated threats to abrogate its commitments to the Europeans to suspend its enrichment work, it would be another demonstration of their true colors, that they are determined to have an enrichment program and one that goes well beyond the needs for a power program.” That, says Ambassador Brill, “underscores their desire to pursue military purposes for their nuclear program.”

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli says the resolution by the I-A-E-A shows that nations are reaching a consensus on the dangers posed by Iran's nuclear program:

“Let's go back two years. Two years ago, the United States was saying, 'Iran had a program. Iran was a danger.' And everybody was saying, 'Oh, come on, you guys are crazy. You guys are just beating up on Iran because you got it in for them.' Two years later, everybody is on board [saying] 'there is a program. There is a clandestine nuclear program. It is a problem and we are seized of the matter, and we are united in demanding action.'”

The I-A-E-A will take up Iran's case again in September and could send it to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says the Iranians “have been put on notice. . .that the international community is expecting them to answer its questions and to respond fully. . . . We will have a chance to examine their response in September,” says Mr. Powell. “And at that time, judgments can be made as to what action might be appropriate.”