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Iran and Nuclear Weapons

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

The radical Islamic regime in Iran denies that it has a program to build nuclear weapons -- yet it continues to say it will restart its effort to enrich uranium, a key component in the production of nuclear weapons. Iran is also reportedly denying access to certain facilities by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. If true, that would be a troubling development strongly suggesting Iran is neither cooperating fully with the I-A-E-A nor providing full disclosure about its ongoing nuclear-related activities.

Britain, France, and Germany are trying to persuade Iran to give up its fissile material production programs. White House spokesman Scott McClellan says that "Iran has made some commitments, and they need to abide by these commitments":

"We expect Iran to fully comply with its international obligations and to fully comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency. That's where our expectations are. We continue to work with our European allies to find a diplomatic resolution to Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons."

U.S. Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice says that if the European effort does not succeed, other measures could be taken:

"This would go to the [United Nations] Security Council and we would go from there. Nobody is saying that there have to be sanctions right away, or anything of the sort. What we are saying is that Iran has to be held to account for its international obligations."

An Iran armed with nuclear weapons would be an unacceptable danger to the region, and perhaps the world. That is why the issue of Iran’s enrichment program is now being watched so closely, and why it must be resolved. "Iran has to be held to account for its international obligations," says Ms. Rice. "The world is sending a message to Iran that Iran cannot be a legitimate participant in the international system, international politics, and pursue a nuclear weapon."