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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

World Powers Discuss Iran in Wake of Satellite Launch

By VOA News
04 February 2009

Top diplomats from six world powers are holding talks Wednesday on Iran's nuclear program, a day after Tehran announced the launch of its first satellite into orbit.

Envoys from France, Germany, the United States, China, Russia and Britain, meeting in the city of Wiesbaden, are reviewing diplomatic efforts to get Iran to stop enriching uranium.

It is the first meeting of the group since U.S. President Barack Obama took office last month.

The United States, some European countries and Israel have expressed concern, following Iran's announcement that an Iranian-made rocket carried a domestically-built satellite into orbit late Monday.

Experts say the same ballistic technology used to put the probe into space could also be used in long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Hassan Qashqavi, has dismissed concerns over the space launch, telling reporters the satellite launch is a scientific achievement with "no military aims."

But Israeli Space Agency chairman and parliament member Isaac Ben-Israel says it is worrisome that Iran has the technology to launch a satellite into orbit. He disagrees with Iran that the satellite is for peaceful purposes.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that Iran has improving missile technology capable of delivering a nuclear bomb that could hit Israel and beyond.

A White House spokesman Tuesday said there is "acute concern" over Iran's actions. He told reporters the United States "will use all elements" of its national power to deal with Iran.

A U.N. resolution prohibits Iran from engaging in any missile-related activity, which Western countries fear could eventually be used to launch a nuclear weapon.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

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