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A "strong step" against Iran.

Is Iran's nuclear capability a threat to the United States? Yes, say President George W. Bush and many U.S. intelligence experts. "We face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," said a recent report by the Bush administration.

Earlier this year, Iran said that it would end an agreement with the European Union (EU) to limit its nuclear program. (See 'Iran's Nuclear Threat?" JS, 2/20/06.)The agreement had been made after pressure from the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, on behalf of the EU.

Then, last month, the Middle Eastern country announced that it had already begun to make fuel for its nuclear reactors. Iran, an anti-Western theocracy (rule by religious leaders), says that it plans to greatly expand its nuclear capability.

The U.S., which has sought to place limits on Iran's nuclear potential, is reacting with alarm. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called for a new "strong step" from the United Nations Security Council. President Bush has also warned that tough action against Iran may be taken.

Iran insists on its right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes. But the U.S. and other nations fear that Iran will use the technology to make weapons. They believe that the Iranian government is too hostile to be trusted with such power. Even worse, they fear that nuclear arms may spread to other unfriendly governments, and finally to terrorists.

Some analysts have urged calm, saying that Iran is years away from being able to reach its nuclear goals.
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Title Annotation:nuclear energy policy
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:May 8, 2006
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