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US Vice President: Iran Will Not be Allowed to Develop Nuclear Weapons


Vice President Dick Cheney says Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons and is warning that the United States is keeping all options on the table to deal with what he called the irresponsible conduct of the Iranian regime.

Vice President Cheney says the Iranian government is continuing to defy the world with its nuclear ambitions and will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.

"Of course this matter may soon go before the U.N. Security Council," he said. "The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course the international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences. For our part, the United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime. And we join other nations in sending that regime a clear message. We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."

Cheney's remarks came during a speech in Washington to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israel lobbying group.

He spoke as the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency met in Vienna to discuss Iran's nuclear program and whether to seek sanctions from the U.N. Security Council.

The United States and other nations say Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran says it has a right to nuclear technology and that its program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.

Vice President Cheney says the United States supports the democratic aspirations of the people of Iran, but he denounced the current government in Tehran.

"Iranians have endured a generation of repression at the hands of a fanatical regime," he said. "That regime is one of the world's primary state sponsors of terror. The current president has spoken openly of wiping Israel off the map and of a world without America. He has made despicable statements doubting the crimes of the Nazis, aligning himself with the rest of the fantasy world of holocaust deniers."

Cheney also addressed the recent victory of Hamas in Palestinian parliamentary elections.

The vice president says if Hamas wants the support of the international community, the Palestinian government must recognize Israel's right to exist.

"One thing is certain," he said. "The United States will not be a party to the establishment of a Palestinian state that sponsors terror and violence."

Cheney says Hamas must renounce terror and dismantle what he called the infrastructure of terror in the Palestinian territories.