U.S. Rejects Iran Offer on Nuke Monitors (AP) By BARRY SCHWEID WASHINGTON 06/11/03 1:28 PM)
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WASHINGTON - The Bush administration on Wednesday rejected an offer
by Iran to permit additional international monitoring of its nuclear
development in exchange for the right to import advanced technology.
Iran should submit to the inspections without preconditions, a senior
State Department official said. And even if it did, the United States
would oppose Iran´s acquisition of advanced technology until it
answered questions about its nuclear program, the official said.
The United States has incontrovertible evidence that Iran is
enriching uranium for the production of nuclear weapons, said the
official who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.
He said production of two or three nuclear bombs could begin toward
the end of the decade, or possibly earlier.
On Tuesday, Iran´s nuclear weapons chief, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, said
his country was willing to sign onto additional inspections under the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty if it got access to technology that
so far has been withheld.
The U.S. official who rejected the offer ridiculed Iran´s assertion
that the nuclear program was designed to produce needed energy.
Using Department of Energy charts, the official said Iran has
supplies of gas and oil to meet its needs for at least 200 years.
And, he said, if the natural gas that is a byproduct of oil
extraction was salvaged, Iran would get four times the energy it
could expect from its nuclear facility.
The Bush administration is pressuring the U.N. International Atomic
Energy Agency to declare Iran in violation of the Nonproliferation
But Aghazadeh said "we want the (IAEA) to end discrimination against
us and allow all member states equal access to nuclear technology."
The senior U.S. official said the administration had not determined
whether Iran could develop nuclear weapons without importing advanced
technology. But he said the technology could make the program more
IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei is due to release the agency´s report on
Iran´s nuclear program on Monday.
The U.S. official said he did not expect the IAEA to recommend action
against Iran by the U.N. Security Council.
In the meantime, Undersecretary of State John Bolton headed Wednesday
for Madrid for a meeting with officials from about a dozen countries
on how to slow the spread of dangerous technology.
Intercepting shipments at sea is one proposal under consideration.
(© 2003 The Associated Press 06/11/03)
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