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U.S. Rejects Iran Offer on Nuke Monitors (AP) By BARRY SCHWEID WASHINGTON 06/11/03 1:28 PM)Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44761-2003Jun11.html AP} ASSOCIATED PRESS AP} ASSOCIATED PRESS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 treaty.

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 efficient.

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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