Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Powell is unaware of the plan to attack Iran

U.S. Has No Plans To Attack Iran: Powell: "U.S. Has No Plans To Attack Iran: Powell
AFP: 9/22/2004

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 22 (AFP) - The United States has no plans to attack Iran to thwart what it claims is the Islamic republic's pursuit of nuclear weapons, but has not formally ruled out any options to deal with the matter, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday.

Instead, Powell told reporters that Washington and its allies were concentrating on a diplomatic and political route to force Iran to come clean about and abandon the alleged program within the auspices of the UN system.

"I'm not aware of any plans to attack Iran," he told reporters on the sidelines of the annual session of the UN General Assembly. "Every nation has all options available to it.

"I think we're working in the world of diplomacy and politics," Powell said, adding that he had found in conversations with foreign officials a consensus that Iran had to meet demands from the UN nuclear watchdog by November or face possible sanctions from the UN Security Council.

"If it doesn't do that by the time of the November IAEA meeting, I think there will be every reason at that point to send the matter on to the Security Council," he said.

"We're talking about diplomacy and political efforts to stop this movement on the part of the Iranians toward a nuclear weapon," Powell said. "We're not talking about strikes. But every option always, of course, remains on the table."

On Saturday, the International Atomic Energy Agency gave Iran until November 25 to clear up suspicions over the program. In the meantime, the agency has called for Iran to immediately halt its controversial uranium enrichment-related activities.

Iran's leadership has refused to back away from efforts to master the entire nuclear fuel cycle, and has argued that the latest IAEA demands are "illegal".

On Wednesday, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said Iran would not give up its plans to enrich uranium."

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