Bush Would Not Tolerate Iranian Nuclear Weapon

Washington, 21 April 2004 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush says the development of a nuclear weapon in Iran would be "intolerable."

Bush told American newspaper executives in Washington today that any effort by Tehran just trying to produce a nuclear weapon would be dealt with, first by the United Nations.

"One of my jobs is to make sure they [the International Atomic Energy Agency and European leaders] speak as plainly as possible to the Iranians and make it absolutely clear that the development of a nuclear weapon in Iran is intolerable and a program is intolerable; otherwise, they will be dealt with, starting through the United Nations," he said.

The president said Iran's stated objective is the destruction of the state of Israel. Iran has denied charges that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons, saying its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said today that instability in Iraq is a threat to Iran's security.

Kharrazi also said Iran wants to help make the upcoming transfer of power in neighboring Iraq succeed. He is to have talks later today with UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who favors dissolving the U.S.-backed Governing Council and setting up a caretaker government.

Kharrazi made the remarks after talks with French President Jacques Chirac. Brahimi is in Europe this week to outline his proposal for transferring power in Iraq on 30 June from U.S. occupation authorities to a caretaker Iraqi government. Chirac will meet with Brahimi on Saturday in Paris.

Copyright (c) 2004. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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