Rice Discusses Iranian Nuclear Issue
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2005 U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today called upon the Iranian government to discontinue its suspected efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
Speaking at a gathering of NATO ministers in Brussels, Rice noted that the United States is presently content to wait and see if ongoing meetings between a British, German and French diplomatic consortium and Iranian officials bear fruit.
American and European officials believe Iran may be trying to illegally develop nuclear weapons under the cover of its nuclear power program. Iranian authorities have consistently denied the accusation.
Rice said U.S. officials are in close contact with the European emissaries trying to resolve the issue.
"The Iranians know what they need to do," America's top diplomat pointed out. "They shouldn't be permitted to, under cover of civilian nuclear power, try to build a nuclear weapon."
The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, according to news reports, has investigated Iran's nuclear-power system for suspected illegal weapons programs, but didn't find any hard evidence.
The United States has repeatedly urged the United Nations to slap Iran with political and economic sanctions if it does not comply with the international community and stop seeking to develop enriched uranium nuclear fuel. Enriched uranium can be used in the making of nuclear weapons.
"I think everybody understands," Rice observed, "that the Iranians have to be held to their international obligations."