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Bolton: Bush won't tolerate nuclear Iran

Jerusalem Post/HERB KEINON | January 24 2006

US President George W. Bush will not accept a nuclear Iran, John Bolton, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said Monday.

Bolton, speaking from New York via video hook-up to the Interdisciplinary Center's Herzliya Conference, said that Bush was determined to pursue the issue through peaceful and diplomatic means, "but has made clear that a nuclear Iran is not acceptable."

According to Bolton, Bush worries that a nuclear-equipped Iran under its current leadership could well engage in a nuclear holocaust, "and that is just not something he is going to accept."

Bolton said that if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) referred the Iranian nuclear issue to the UN Security Council in early February, it would still be unlikely for the UN to immediately slap sanctions on Teheran.

"In the first instance I suspect that if it comes to the Security Council in a few weeks we would look for a statement that essentially calls on Iran to comply with the existing IAEA resolutions," Bolton said. "I think that would be a gut check for the Iranians, and if they don't heed that warning we would have to consider what to do next."

Bolton said that referring the issue to the Security Council was a form of pressure on Iran to convince them to make the same strategic decision Libya made in 2004 - that their national interests would be better served, and they would be safer in giving up the purist of nuclear weapons, than in continuing that pursuit.

Bolton, who was very critical during his comments of the UN's treatment of Israel, said - in an answer to a question - that the time had come to re-evaluate UNRWA, the UN body devoted to Palestinian refuges.

When looking toward a two state solution, Bolton said, "you have to ask why one state, Palestine, has an entire UN agency devoted entirely to it."

Bolton asked why the UN Development Program, and other UN programs present in other countries around the world, would not be applicable to a Palestinian state as well.

"Looking at the future of UNRWA is definitely something we should all be doing, thinking about how to transition to a new UN involvement in the region," Bolton said.

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