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 Post subject: Iran could blackmail world: Bush
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:13 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:13 pm
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Location: South Australia
Iran could blackmail world: Bush
From correspondents in Washington
January 24, 2006
US President George W. Bush said he is concerned at the possibility a nuclear-armed Iran could blackmail the world.

In remarks at Kansas State University, Mr Bush cited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's expressed desire that Israel be wiped off the map as a sign that Iran wanted to develop a nuclear weapon.

"The world cannot be put in a position where we can be blackmailed by a nuclear weapon," Mr Bush said.

He also had a message for the Iranian people, saying "we have no beef with you", and expressing the hope that Iraq's fledgling democracy could serve as an example for Iran.

Mr Bush said "the next logical step" in dealing with Iran was to go to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the international community must "absolutely" refer Iran to the UN Security Council for its suspected nuclear arms program at a key meeting next month.

Ms Rice set down a clear marker of US expectations for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors scheduled on February 2 to discuss the showdown over Tehran's nuclear intentions.

"It seems to me that the case for referral is very strong and that's what we intend to seek at the IAEA board of governors meeting," Ms Rice said after talks with Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini.

"The Security Council can then take up the matter at a later time but the referral absolutely has to be made," Ms Rice told reporters at a joint press conference with Mr Fini.

Washington and its European allies are trying to haul the Iranians before the Security Council after Tehran broke off talks on its nuclear program and announced it was resuming sensitive research on uranium enrichment.

Countries such as Russia and China have baulked against taking a tougher line with Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for strictly peaceful purposes.

But Ms Rice insisted UN involvement was crucial at this point.

"Without going to the Security Council we are not going to have the context in which Iran will understand that it's truly isolated on this issue and must deal with the international community's just demands," she said.

Mr Fini echoed that it was "absolutely necessary" to refer Iran to the Security Council although neither he, nor Ms Rice, made any mention of eventual sanctions.

With Reuters

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