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White House Concerned About Nuclear Discovery in Iran - 2004-02-19

The White House says it is concerned about reports that U.N. inspectors have found parts of a uranium enrichment centrifuge in Iran.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan says the Bush administration has "serious concerns" about reports that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have found previously undisclosed equipment in Iran that could be used to enrich uranium.

"We have always stated our belief that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program under the cover of pursuing nuclear power for peaceful reasons. A country with the vast oil and gas resources of Iran has no legitimate need for nuclear energy," he said.

Mr. McClellan says full confidence about Iran's nuclear program requires that it abandon enriching uranium, and comply with additional protocols it agreed to that allow for broader international inspections.

He says the president looks forward to hearing the U.N. agency's next report on Iran. That will come at next month's board of governors meeting, which could recommend bringing the issue before the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

Iran says its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful and not military.