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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 13:32, May 04, 2005
Rice urges Iran not to seek nuke
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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday urged Iran not to develop nuclear weapons under the pretenses of developing a nuclear program for civilian purposes.

"There needs to be a very clear commitment from the Iranians to live up to their international obligations and not to seek nuclear weapons under cover of nuclear civilian power," Rice told reporters after talks with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Washington has repeatedly accused Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran always denies this, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful power generation.

Prior to Rice's allegation, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher also renewed American call for Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment program.

"There is no reason for them to have an enrichment and reprocessing program," said Boucher, "We continue to believe that this is the only way for Iran to resolve this issue, and a way that the international community will be able to verify and to support."

The US officials made the remarks after Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Tuesday that Iran is "determined" to pursue all legal areas of nuclear technology, including enrichment, exclusively for peaceful purposes.

Iran last year voluntarily halted enrichment -- a process that can produce nuclear reactor fuel and, when taken to a higher level, material for bombs -- to build confidence in negotiations with European powers and avoid referral to UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

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