Iran Nuclear NewsCheney warns Iran of 'serious consequences' on nuclear program

Cheney warns Iran of ‘serious consequences’ on nuclear program

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Bloomberg: Vice President Dick Cheney said Iran faces “serious consequences” if it continues to pursue development of nuclear weapons. By Nicholas Johnston

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) — Vice President Dick Cheney said Iran faces “serious consequences” if it continues to pursue development of nuclear weapons.

“The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays its present course, the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences,” Cheney said in a speech before the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Lansdowne, Virginia. “We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”

He also accused Iran of being a “subversive” force in Iraq and working to “destabilize” the Middle East.

The Bush administration and other western governments have been stepping up pressure on Iran as the Islamic Republic continues to pursue nuclear ambitions. The U.S. says Iran’s program is a cover for the development of an atomic bomb. Iran, the No. 2 oil producer in the Middle East, says it’s intended for electricity generation.

President George W. Bush on Oct. 17 warned that allowing Iran to gain a nuclear weapon risked “World War III.”

Iran today named Saeed Jalili its chief international negotiator today, replacing Ali Larijani, who resigned because of differences with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said today on the website of the state broadcaster that the country’s unclear policies are “unalterable” and closing the nuclear program “isn’t on the agenda and won’t be.”

International Sanctions

Iran has been under two sets of international sanctions since December 2006 for refusing to stop its uranium enrichment activities. The sanctions limit the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran, restrict investment and curb the international travel of some Iranian officials.

Group of Seven finance ministers, meeting in Washington, yesterday singled out Iran as a threat to the international financial system, telling banks to “take into account” risks of doing business there.

In a speech dealing with U.S. policy in the Middle East, Cheney, 66, also said Iran was directly involved in the killing of Americans in Iraq.

“Operating largely in the shadows, Iran attempts to hide its hands through the use of militants who target and kill coalition and Iraqi security forces,” Cheney said. “Our country and the entire international community cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its most aggressive ambitions.”

The U.S. Senate on Sept. 26 approved a nonbinding resolution asking the U.S. to formally include the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps on a list of terrorist organizations. The administration has been considering such a step.

Critics of the resolution, including Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, contend that Bush could use the declaration as a pretext for going to war against Iran.

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