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8/23/04 - BOLTON ON IRAN NUCLEAR CHALLENGE - 2004-08-23


John Bolton, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, says Iran's "large-scale, covert, nuclear weapons program" poses a "fundamental" challenge to the world:

"We cannot let Iran, a leading sponsor of international terrorism, acquire nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to Europe, most of central Asia and the Middle East, or beyond. Without serious, concerted, immediate intervention by the international community, Iran will be well on the road to doing so."

Mr. Bolton says that Iran is seeking to develop highly enriched uranium and plutonium for use in nuclear bombs. According to Mr. Bolton, "The costly infrastructure Iran is building. . .goes well beyond any conceivable peaceful nuclear program." He says that "the time to report this issue to the [United Nations] Security Council is long overdue. To fail to do so would risk sending a signal to would-be proliferators that there are not serious consequences for pursuing secret nuclear weapons programs."

The International Atomic Energy Agency meets again in September. It could decide to send Iran's case to the U-N Security Council for action.

President George W. Bush says the U.S. is "working with responsible governments and international institutions to convince the leaders of. . .Iran that their nuclear weapons ambitions are deeply contrary to their own interests."

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