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GlobalSecurity.org In the News

NY Daily News September 02, 2006

Iran ex-prez arrives for historic visit

By Richard Sisk

WASHINGTON - The highest-ranking Iranian leader to visit the United States since the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover arrived in New York yesterday in a possible bid to defuse tensions over Tehran's nuclear programs.

During his two-week visit, former President Mohammad Khatami, considered a moderate in Iran, was to address the Islamic Society of North America in Chicago today and a UN conference in New York on Tuesday.

Khatami may also meet with former President Jimmy Carter, whose 1980 reelection run was derailed by the Iran hostage crisis, before attending an interfaith meeting at the National Cathedral in Washington next Thursday.

As Khatami arrived in the U.S., UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was headed to Iran for talks on Tehran's failure to meet the Aug. 31 deadline to stop enriching uranium.

The U.S. also pressed reluctant European allies to move for UN economic sanctions against Iran. "This is not the time or place" for sanctions, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said. Finland currently holds the rotating European Union presidency.

Meanwhile, military analysts were taking issue with the claim of John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, that the only use for the uranium being produced in Iran's nuclear program was for a weapon.

"Apart from a few very sophisticated uses for uranium metal by the most advanced nuclear programs in the world," Bolton said at the UN Thursday, "the only real use for uranium metal is a nuclear weapon."

But John Pike, head of the globalsecurity.org group, said uranium metal was not "a smoking gun metal," but could also be used for peaceful nuclear power generation, as Iran claims.

"The whole problem is that there's not just one use for it," Pike said. "It's an inherently dual-use metal."

With News Wire Services

Copyright 2006, USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.