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11/28/04 - BUSH ON IRANIAN NUKES - 2004-11-29

President George W. Bush praised the governments of France, Germany, and Britain for their efforts to convince Iran to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Iran recently signed an agreement with the European Union to suspend temporarily all uranium-enrichment activity, starting on November 22nd. Enriching uranium is a key step in the development of nuclear weapons. "The reason why they [the Europeans] are involved," said Mr. Bush, "is that they do believe that Iran has got nuclear ambitions, as do we, as do many around the world":

"It's very important for the Iranian government to hear that we are concerned about their desires. And we are concerned about reports that show that prior to a certain international meeting they are willing to speed-up processing of materials that could lead to a nuclear weapon. This is a very serious matter. The world knows it is a serious matter, and we're working together to solve this matter."

Mr. Bush was referring to reports that Iran was rushing to convert large quantities of yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin Powell said he "stick[s] with" his comments that Iran is working on adapting ballistic missiles to carry nuclear warheads. "The people raising. . .questions are people who had not seen the information," said Mr. Powell. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said, "We believe that we are on very, very solid ground in pointing to a clandestine effort by Iran to develop weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. . . . This program," said Mr. Ereli, "represents a threat to the region and to U.S. interests."