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Warnings to Iran

From the "Wolf Blitzer Reports" staff

Condoleezza Rice answers questions Wednesday after meeting with NATO and European officials.
Wolf Blitzer Reports
George W. Bush
Condoleezza Rice

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- "Iran with a nuclear weapon would be a very destabilizing force in the world," President Bush said Wednesday.

It came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice neared the end of her European tour, during which she's been asking allies to get behind efforts to halt Iran's nuclear program.

"Iran should not use the cover of civilian nuclear power development ... to sustain a program that could lead to a nuclear weapon," Rice said Wednesday.

Iran, which insists its nuclear program is intended only for energy production, refuses to halt its activities.

The Bush administration is pushing diplomacy as the way to get Iran to reconsider.

"The Iranians need to know that the free world is working together to send a very clear message: Don't develop a nuclear weapon," Bush said.

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair says the world is united in its message to Iran's leaders.

"They cannot breach the rules of the atomic energy authority and they cannot develop nuclear weapons capability. That is the very clear wish of the entire international community," Blair said.

Despite the tough rhetoric, Rice said she could envision no circumstances in which the United States would attack Iran during President Bush's second term.

"The question is simply not on the agenda at this point. We have diplomatic means to do this," Rice said.

Some critics are skeptical. They say the administration's statements on Iran sound disturbingly similar to its statements leading up to the war in Iraq.

Former top U.S. weapons inspector David Kay says "It's deja vu all over again. You have the secretary of defense [Donald Rumsfeld] talking about the problems of a nuclear-armed Iran. You have the vice president [Dick Cheney] warning about a nuclear-armed Iran and terrorism; you have [Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice saying, 'Force is not on the agenda -- yet.' "

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