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US Welcomes UN Deadline for Iran in Nuclear Inspections - 2003-09-12

U.S. officials are welcoming the vote by the International Atomic Energy governing board giving Iran until the end of October to prove that its nuclear program is peaceful.

The resolution specifies no consequences for Iranian non-compliance and the Bush administration had sought tougher language. But officials here are nonetheless welcoming the measure as an indication of rising international concern about Iran's nuclear program, which the United States has long insisted has a secret weapons component.

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said two recent reports by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei provide "compelling evidence" that Iran is violating international safeguards and hiding nuclear activities, and he said the implications of its failure to comply with the new resolution would be clear.

"If Iran fails to take those steps by the deadline, that would constitute further evidence of its ongoing efforts to conceal its clandestine activities and its clandestine nuclear weapons program," he said.

Mr. Ereli said if Iran doesn't comply, the matter could be referred to the U.N. Security Council, where Tehran could face international sanctions.