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U.S. Official Urges Tough Stance On Iran

United Nations, 28 April 2004 -- A top U.S. disarmament official says the international community must prepare to take tougher measures against Iran if it continues what he calls its pattern of deception about its nuclear program.

U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton told a UN conference on nonproliferation yesterday that there is no reason to believe Iran it is abandoning its nuclear-weapons program, which would be a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"There is no conceivable economic justification for Iran to build costly nuclear fuel cycle facilities to support a small 'quote-unquote' nuclear power program," Bolton said. "It is clear that the primary role of Iran's nuclear power program is to serve as a cover and a pretext for the import of nuclear technology and expertise that can be used to support nuclear weapons development."

The International Atomic Energy Agency last month reported that Iran had hidden key aspects of its nuclear program from the agency.

Bolton said if Iran continues to fail to comply, the matter should be referred to the Security Council as a threat to international peace and security. The council could authorize sanctions, if necessary.

Bolton told the conference that countries that illicitly develop nuclear weapons under the treaty should lose the right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful uses.

Copyright (c) 2004. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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