Features

Just can't stop the nuclear desire

International

Issue: "Year in Review 2004," Jan. 1, 2005

Iran's Islamic theocracy had a successful year shoring up its power structure at home and giving the West the runaround over its nuclear program. In February the Council of Guardians disqualified 2,400 reformist candidates from parliamentary elections, prompting hundreds to boycott the polls. Islamic hardliners easily won two-thirds of the seats.

Throughout the year the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors discovered Iran was either not disclosing all its nuclear activities, or continuing those it promised it had stopped.

• In February inspectors found designs for more advanced centrifuges than previously revealed, which can be used to make weapons-grade uranium.

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• In June they found new traces of highly enriched uranium.

• By September Iran's leaders said they were converting yellowcake uranium ore on a large scale.

Three months later, after a year of dangling carrots before the Iranians and extracting promises of good behavior, Britain, France, and Germany demanded Iran stop all uranium-enrichment activities. On Nov. 14, Iran again pledged to suspend uranium enrichment as talks continued.

So far the United States has stood back from the Iran-Europe yo-yo diplomacy, even while exposing Iran's bomb-making ambitions. Still, nourishing Iran's democracy movement-with the hopes of regime change-may be the only security guarantee against the terror-

sponsoring state.

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