Los Angeles Times: Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday that there are no plans to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, despite the Pentagon's recent agreement to sell
Israel 500 bunker-buster bombs capable of disabling underground weapons plants.
But speaking to reporters, Powell pointedly added, "Every
nation has all options available to it" to stop Iran from ... Los Angeles Times

Maggie Farley

UNITED NATIONS - Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday that there are no plans to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, despite the Pentagon's recent agreement to sell Israel 500 bunker-buster bombs capable of disabling underground weapons plants.

But speaking to reporters, Powell pointedly added, "Every nation has all options available to it" to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. The Bush administration contends it is secretly trying to build nuclear weapons. On Tuesday, Iran announced it would continue preparations to enrich uranium in defiance of the U.N. nuclear agency's demand that it stop. Enriched uranium can be used to make fuel for nuclear power plants or weapons.

"We're talking about diplomacy and political efforts to stop this movement on the part of the Iranians toward a nuclear weapon, and we're not talking about strikes," Powell said. "Every option, though, of course remains on the table."

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Wednesday that the issue should be sent to U.N. Security Council "to put an end to this nightmare."

"We know that the Europeans are trying now to engage with the Iranians, but we know that the Iranians will never abandon their plans to develop nuclear weapons. They're only trying to hide it," he said.

Shalom sidestepped the question of whether Israel -- which itself is presumed to have nuclear weapons -- would take military action against Iran if it continued to resist U.N. directives on its nuclear program. In 1981, Israel bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor.

Pentagon officials confirmed Tuesday that the United States would soon approve the sale to Israel of a package of air-launched munitions worth as much as $319 million. It includes 500 BLU-109 bunker-buster bombs that can burrow more than 10 feet into reinforced concrete and take out underground weapons silos and command facilities.

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