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World Shares U.S. Concerns About Iran's Arms, Rice Says

August 09, 2004|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — With Iran continuing to work on its nuclear program, U.S. national security advisor Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that the world is "worried and suspicious" about Tehran's intentions and is determined not to let it produce an atomic weapon.

Rice also said the Bush administration sees a new international willingness to act against Iran's nuclear program. She credited the changed attitude to Washington's insistence that Iran's effort puts the world in peril.

However, she would not say whether the United States would act alone to end the program if the administration could not win international support.

Iran's foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, announced in late July that his country had resumed building nuclear centrifuges. He said Iran was retaliating for the West's failure to force the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency to close its file on possible Iranian violations of nuclear nonproliferation rules.

However, Kharrazi said Iran was not resuming enrichment of uranium, a process that requires a centrifuge. Although enriched uranium can be used in nuclear weapons or as fuel for nuclear reactors, Iran insists its nuclear program is for the peaceful purpose of generating electricity.

On CNN's "Late Edition," Rice said Iran was trying to hide an effort to build weapons behind a nuclear power program.

"The United States was the first to say that Iran was a threat in this way, to try and convince the international community that Iran was trying, under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, to actually bring about a nuclear weapons program," she said.

"I think we've finally now got the world community to a place, and the International Atomic Energy Agency to a place, that it is worried and suspicious of the Iranian activities," she said. "Iran is facing for the first time real resistance to trying to take these steps."

President Bush, in his 2002 State of the Union address, included Iran with North Korea and Iraq in an "axis of evil" dedicated to developing weapons of mass destruction.

On NBC's "Meet the Press," Rice said she expects to get a very strong statement next month from the IAEA "that Iran will either be isolated, or it will submit to the will of the international community."

"We cannot allow the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon," she added. "The international community has got to find a way to come together and to make certain that that does not happen."

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