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White House Renews Concerns Over Iran's Nuclear Program

The White House says it has concerns about Iran's nuclear weapons program, and is working with the international community to put pressure on Tehran as a new published report says Iran appears to be in the late stages of building a nuclear bomb.

The Los Angeles Times says it has strong evidence that Iran's nuclear power program masks a plan to build a bomb. The newspaper says its three-month probe shows Tehran is moving purposefully and rapidly toward that goal.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan will not speak to the substance of the report. But he says Iran's nuclear intentions remain a cause of concern for the United States. He says the Bush administration is working with others to put pressure on Iran and wants more intensive inspections through the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"It is a matter that remains a serious concern," he said. "We are working with the international community. We are working with the IAEA to make sure that they do not continue with this course, which is unacceptable."

He made the comments not long after an IAEA team of nuclear experts began crucial talks in Tehran on the inspection issue.

International pressure has been growing for Iran to permit more intrusive, short-notice inspections of its nuclear sites. An Iranian government spokesman insists the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will have the final say on whether Tehran agrees to a new inspections protocol.