For at least eighteen years, Iran has secretly pursued the capability to make fissile material for nuclear weapons. Despite the best efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the I-A-E-A, to shine a spotlight on Iran’s nuclear activities, and despite demands that Iran cooperate with the I-A-E-A, the U.S. believes that Iran is continuing that clandestine program. The U.S. and other countries believe that oil- and gas-rich Iran is covertly pursing a nuclear weapons capability while telling the world that it is developing nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says, “We know Iran’s intentions, and those intentions are to keep a nuclear weapons development program going”:
“We have for three and a half years...been pointing this out to the international community. I think finally, the international community realizes there’s a problem.”
Over the past year, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s thirty-five member Board of Governors has passed four unanimous resolutions calling on Iran to tell the truth about its nuclear programs and to suspend its ambitious pursuit of the capability to make fissile material. But Iran refuses.
Mr. Powell says that European foreign ministers have made trips to Iran “to say to the Iranians they have to give up these programs”:
“The United States will continue to press in every way that we can, use all the diplomatic and other resources at our disposal, to make sure the international community stands unified behind the effort to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons development, or worse, acquiring nuclear weapons.”
Rigorous inspections of Iranian nuclear activities are continuing, and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors will take up Iran’s case again in September. The U.S. has long believed that Iran’s confirmed noncompliance with its nuclear safeguards agreement must be reported to the U-N Security Council, and the U.S. continues to work with other members of the I-A-E-A Board to that end. The Iranians “have been put on notice,” says Secretary of State Powell, “that the international community is expecting them to answer its questions and to respond fully.”