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VP Cheney: Iran Should Follow Kazakhstan, Give up Nuclear Weapons

Vice President Richard Cheney says Iran should follow the example of Kazakhstan and renounce nuclear weapons.

He made the remark Friday at a news conference in Astana after his talks with President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Kazakhstan gave up the nuclear arsenal it inherited from the Soviet Union shortly after independence in 1991, a move that won praise in the West.

Details of Cheney's one-on-one talks with the Kazakh president were not released. They were expected to focus on international and regional stability, the war on terrorism, economic and energy co-operation and democratic reforms in Kazakhstan.

Cheney is the fourth senior U.S. official to visit Astana in recent months. Others were Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.

A senior State Department official recently told Congress that Washington is working on securing oil from North Caspian oil fields by tanker to a pipeline terminus in Azerbaijan to bypass Russia and Iran.

Cheney concludes his three-nation trip with a weekend visit to Croatia.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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