(VOA Editorial)  (420)
(Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America September
17, reflecting the views of the U.S. government.)

Chinese and Iranian officials recently announced that China will help
Iran to build a nuclear power plant.  The United States does not welcome
this announcement.  It has been the U.S. view for some time that any
nuclear cooperation with Iran, even for peaceful purposes, is highly
imprudent and should be avoided.

According to the Chinese-Iranian announcement, the planned nuclear reactor
would be under safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.  But
the Iranian regime's conduct in recent years raises serious questions about
whether it can be trusted to live up to its commitments under the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty.  This conduct includes statements by high-ranking
Iranian officials in support of acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

As Robert Gates, Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, told
members of Congress earlier this year, Iran has been engaged in a
significant military buildup.  According to Gates, this buildup has
included the purchase of advanced warplanes and anti-aircraft missiles from
Russia and China, and the purchase of extended-range Scud missiles from
North Korea.  Iran is also suspected of developing chemical weapons and a
biological warfare capability.  Iran, like Iraq, used chemical weapons in
1heir long war in the 1980s.

The United States and other countries are particularly concerned about
Iranian efforts to acquire or develop weapons of mass destruction because
of the Iranian regime's record as a state sponsor of international
terrorism.  One of the most ruthless terrorist groups supported by Iran is
Hizbollah.  Hizbollah has been involved in numerous acts of terrorism
against Americans and citizens of many other countries, both in the Middle
East and in other parts of the world.  Hizbollah is the leading suspect in
the terrorist bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires earlier this
year.  The bombing claimed the lives of more than two dozen people.

Because of Iran's support for Hizbollah and other terrorist groups, the
United States has placed Iran on a list of countries which may not acquire
U.S.-made weapons or other items that could be used in the development of
chemical and biological weapons or ballistic missiles.  The trade ban
includes nuclear-related goods and technology.  The United States urges
other countries, including China, to adopt similar policies in regard to
Iran and other state sponsors of terrorism.