US says Iran will 'dupe' world on nukes

A senior US official has predicted Iran will seek to "throw sand" in the world's eyes to prevent a showdown over a nuclear inspection deadline.

    Bolton says Iran could have nuclear weapons by 2010

    Tehran has been given until 31 October by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to

    dispel international suspicion over its nuclear ambitions.

    But in remarks that will appear to some observers as displaying a remarkable lack of tact

    US Undersecretary of State John

    Bolton said:

    "I think what will happen prior to October 31st is the

    Iranians will cooperate a little bit and the issue will be, 'Did

    they cooperate enough?"

    He added: "They will try and throw sand in our eyes and use a modest

    level of cooperation to hide some level of obfuscation and lack

    of cooperation, to conceal as much as they can, to delay, to

    fight for time, and to avoid having the issue referred to the

    (UN) Security Council."

    The comments could give critics of the US fuel to claim that Washington has already made up its mind about Iran and is preempting the IAEA deadline.

    Critics of the US-led invasion of Iraq have accused Washington of cutting short the work of United Nations weapons inspectors in deciding Saddam Hussein was in breach of UN resolutions to give up his alleged weapons of mass destruction.  

    Rigorous inspections

    The IAEA

    is

    demanding rigorous inspections of suspected sites because of suspicions Tehran

     is

    secretly developing nuclear weapons.

    Iranian President, Muhammad Khatami, insisted on Wednesday

    Tehran will provide whatever cooperation is needed to prove

    its nuclear programme is solely geared to producing electricity.

    Muhammad al-Baradei is pressing
    Iran for tougher inspections 

    But Bolton predicted that if unchecked, Iran could have a nuclear

    weapons capability "towards the end of the decade", though some

    people theorise it could be much sooner.

    "The risk of outward Iranian proliferation of weapons of

    mass destruction to other countries in the region is also a risk

    we take very seriously," he added.

     

    American interests

    Asked why Washington did not take a similar line on Israel's

    nuclear programme, Bolton said: "The issue for the US is what

    poses a threat to us and to our allies...We are not platonic

    guardians, we are representing American interests." 

     

    The Proliferation Security Initiative has won support from

    10 other nations, helping ease diplomatic tensions over the

    US-British invasion of Iraq and the subsequent failure to find

    weapons of mass destruction there.

    Bolton has said deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein may well

    have got rid of his weapons.

    "In the short term we don't entirely know what Saddam may

    have done with the weapons of mass destruction. They may have

    been moved out of Iraq years ago - it's possible," he said.

    Saddam may also have ordered them destroyed, he added, "in

    which case it was a bad mistake not to keep records".

    The existence of about 1000 nuclear scientists whom Saddam

    dubbed his "nuclear Mujahideen" demonstrated

    Baghdad's dangerous intentions, Bolton added.

    SOURCE: AFP


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