Friday, February 22, 2008

Nuclear Iran

So, are they or aren't they? When it comes to Iran's nuclear ambitions, it seems, no one but the Iranians know for sure. And they're not saying much, at least not publicly, beyond what appears to be exaggerated rhetoric. The International Atomic Energy Agency's secret report on Tehran's nuclear program says Iran has continued to enrich uranium despite U.N. sanctions, but has begun to answer questions about its past activities. The United States and its allies contend Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons but Iran vehemently denies this and contends it wants to generate electric power. But U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said today that Iran's enrichment activities support a third round of sanctions, which include the tightening of travel restrictions on Iran's leaders and the freezing of additional assets. Britain and France introduced a new sanctions resolution in the Security Council yesterday with support from the United States, Russia, China and Germany, according to the Associated Press. Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazee, said the report "clearly" demonstrated the "exclusively peaceful nature" of Iran's nuclear program. But the U.S. ambassador, Zalmay Khalizad, said Iran is increasing its nuclear capabilities and that "things are getting worse in terms of the enrichment part." A declassified U.S. intelligence report concluded last month that Iran stopped its weapons program in 2003, but several other countries, including Israel, warned that Iran's continuing nuclear research made weapons-building more likely. The IAEA board meets March 3.

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