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Concerns over Iran's Nuclear Programs

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers a speech during a visit to the city of Birjand, Iran, Nov. 7, 2007.
Majid
/
Getty Images
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers a speech during a visit to the city of Birjand, Iran, Nov. 7, 2007.

What Bush Said: The president sounded familiar themes on Iran, accusing it of "funding and training militia groups in Iraq, supporting Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, and backing Hamas' efforts to undermine peace in the Holy Land." He also accused Iran of continuing to "develop its capability to enrich uranium, which could be used to create a nuclear weapon." He called on Iran's leaders to verifiably suspend nuclear enrichment, paving the way for the United States to enter into wide-ranging talks on economic and diplomatic issues with Iran.

Analysis: U.S. diplomats are in the midst of negotiations on a U.N. sanctions resolution aimed at building up pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions. News that the U.S. intelligence community believes that Iran halted a nuclear weapons program in 2003 has made the sanctions debate more complicated, according to diplomats involved. So the president has been repeating, often, all of his concerns about Iran's behavior, to remind U.S. partners why they need to act.

On the Campaign Trail: Iran has been a hot topic in Democratic presidential debates. The candidates have criticized the Bush administration for failing to open a dialogue with Tehran and branding it part of the "axis of evil" in a previous State of the Union speech.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.