US, Israel Highlight Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program
July 06, 2004
ABC News Online
The United States and Israel have highlighted Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program as the UN's atomic energy agency moved to probe Tel Aviv's nuclear strength. "Iran is the country that have announced that one missile toward Israel will destroy the Jewish state. So we should be concerned about the Iranians' efforts to develop nuclear weapons," Israel Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters after holding talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
He said that Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who arrived in Tel Aviv to persuade the Government to reveal its nuclear secrets, should instead step up his probe on Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Mr Shalom charged that Iran, regarded as the Jewish state's number one enemy, was trying to develop "a new missile that will include Berlin, London and Paris, and the southern part of Russia in its range".
"So if we would have to do something with ElBaradei, is to ask him to continue with his efforts to push the Iranians to put an end to its effort to develop a nuclear weapon," Mr Shalom said.
ElBaradei is expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, but Mr Sharon had earlier indicated that Israel's policy of refusing to confirm or deny that it has nuclear weapons would continue.
Most foreign experts believe that Israel possesses a nuclear arsenal, comprising around 200 warheads, although it has stuck to a policy of "ambiguity" for the last 40 years.
Mr Powell, speaking alongside Mr Shalom, said the Bush administration had been pointing out Iran's nuclear weapon capability to the international community for the last three-and-a-half years.
He noted that European foreign ministers had made trips to Iran to convince it to give up its nuclear arms program but without much success "even though they have received some commitments which have been unfulfilled".
"So the United States will continue to press in every way that we can, use all of the diplomatic and other resources at our disposal, to make sure the international community stands unified behind the effort to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons development, or worse, acquiring a nuclear weapon," Mr Powell said.
Under an understanding with the United States dating back to 1969, Israel has committed itself to abstain from any comment on its nuclear potential and not carry out nuclear tests.
In return, Washington does not pressure Israel to adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would oblige its nuclear facilities to submit to international supervision by the IAEA.
Experts have said that Mr ElBaradei's mission was more of a political gesture to convince Arab states the IAEA is as concerned about Israel as it is about Iran, being investigated on suspicions of harbouring a secret atomic weapons program.
Arrest Draws Focus on Iran Role in Iraq
London, July 6 (IranMania) - According to Associated Press Monday's arrests of two Iranians focused new attention on how Tehran is trying to protect its interests in Iraq. The Iranians were suspected of attempting to carry out a vehicle bombing in Iraq.
The announcement of the arrests by the Iraqi Interior Ministry was a rare instance tying Iranians to a particular attack. But there was no indication that the two men - who the ministry said were caught trying to detonate a car bomb in an eastern Baghdad neighborhood Monday - were Iranian government agents. They might instead be working on their own.
So far, Iran is believed to have used money, not guns, to influence Iraq - particularly by spreading wealth among Shiite political factions - while avoiding a direct confrontation with its longtime rival the United States.
Monday's arrests came on the heels of comments by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari saying some neighboring countries were financing and training terrorists in Iraq, apparently referring to Iran and Syria.
According to this report, Iran's powerful former President Hashemi Rafsanjani said Syria, Iran and Turkey should coordinate their policies to prevent the disintegration of Iraq.
The "conspiracies'' being hatched by "Washington and Tel Aviv'' against Iraq call for increased "strategic cooperation'' between Iran and Syria, Rafsanjani was quoted as saying.
Iranians showed their extreme anger that Shiite shrines in Iraq were damaged in fighting between U.S. troops and Iraqi insurgents have volunteered to join the battle against the Americans.
Iran has said it would try to stop zealots from crossing the border - and Iran's supreme leader has refused to give a green light to one group, the Devotees for Martyrdom, that says it's eager to fight in Iraq.