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8/21/04 - IRAN’S NUCLEAR PLANS - 2004-08-23


Speaking to Japanese reporters in Washington, D.C., U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell urged government and business leaders in Japan to weigh Iran's failure to respond to concerns that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons. "We would hope that as Japan examines its relationship with Iran, it would take into account in any business transaction or any proposals that come along. . .that Iran is not behaving in a responsible manner."

Mr. Powell said that the International Atomic Energy Agency, or I-A-E-A, has found "serious deficiencies" in Iran's dealings with the agency. And he said that despite a previous agreement with three European foreign ministers, Iran is continuing uranium enrichment activities that could be used to support a covert nuclear weapons program. "It seems clear to us," said Mr. Powell, "that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, and it is essentially saying to the international community, 'No matter what you think, we're going to go ahead…and preserve the option of going further.'"

In an interview with Fox News, Richard Lugar, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also expressed concern about Iran's nuclear program "We're going to have to get very tough," Mr. Lugar said. "The fact is that the Iranians are moving toward weaponization of the uranium experiment that they have. And they've been clearly doing this. And some, in fact, in Iran are asserting, as a sovereign right, they have the ability to do this and the right to do it."

The board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency meets again in September to take up Iran's case. Senator Lugar says the U.S. is expecting the I-A-E-A to bring the issue of Iran before the United Nations Security Council. Many agree, he says, that Iran's plan to acquire nuclear weapons "has to be stopped."

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