U.S. Official: Iran Nuclear Aims a Threat (AP) By ADNAN MALIK MANAMA, Bahrain 01/30/05 7:11 PM)
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MANAMA, Bahrain - A senior U.S. official said Monday he was
consulting Arab states in the Persian Gulf to coordinate policies in
light of the perceived threat of Iran´s nuclear ambitions.
John Bolton, the State Department´s top international security
official, said countries in the region were "well aware" of the
threat posed by Iran, which maintains its nuclear activities are for
peaceful energy purposes.
"Their repeated support for terrorism makes it particularly dangerous
if they were to acquire a nuclear weapon," Bolton told reporters.
"Whether they would use it directly as the government of Iran or
whether they would transfer it to a terrorist group leaves us very
concerned," said Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and
Bolton said he has explained to leaders in the Gulf America´s stance
on the "Iranian problem and how we´ve been dealing in the past and
how we proposed to deal with in the future."
The United States alleges that Iran´s nuclear program is aimed at
producing weapons. Earlier this month, President Bush reaffirmed his
support for a diplomatic settlement of Iran´s nuclear program but
said he would not take any option off the table, including a possible
Bolton, who arrived here from Kuwait, also was scheduled to visit the
United Arab Emirates.
"There are a series of things that we have discussed in which
additional diplomatic pressure can be put on Iran to prevent them
from acquiring the necessary material and technology that they need
for their nuclear weapons program," he said.
Bolton stressed that the United States advocated a Middle East free
of nuclear weapons and dismissed the possibility of nuclear threats
"Israel has a particularly close relationship with the United States
and I think that more than anything else is what convinces us that
there is no threat from use of Israeli nuclear weapons," Bolton said.
Israel maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its nuclear
program, neither confirming nor denying that it has nuclear weapons.
It has said its reactor is used only for peaceful purposes.
In 1986 former technician Mordechai Vanunu gave information and
pictures of a reactor facility to London´s Sunday Times. On the basis
of his revelations, experts concluded that Israel has the world´s
sixth-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, consisting of hundreds of
"We don´t see Israel as a threat to use nuclear weapons anywhere in
the region, in part because it´s a democratic state and in part
because it´s allied with the United States and we have made it very
clear where we stand on their capabilities," Bolton said.
France, Germany and Britain have been in talks with Iran to persuade
it to indefinitely suspend or scrap its uranium enrichment program in
exchange for technological, financial and political support of
Tehran´s efforts to break out of isolation.
Iran has suspended enrichment activities - which can produce both
nuclear fuel and the core of atomic weapons - during the talks, but
has repeatedly insisted the freeze would be of short duration.
Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, on
Saturday suggested European efforts to persuade Iran to limit its
uranium enrichment program may fail if the United States refuses to
get involved in the negotiations.
The U.S. administration has suggested taking Iran to the U.N.
"If Iran can ... either acquire weapons or develop them indigenously,
it will be a signal that the international community is powerless to
stop a very determined country that wants to acquire nuclear
weapons," Bolton said. "That would be a bad lesson indeed."
(Copyright 2005 Associated Press. 01/30/05)
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