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World Leaders Warn Iran Over Uranium Enrichment

President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain accused Iran Friday of building a covert uranium-enrichment site. Former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright examines what's known about the Iranian facility.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    The U.S., Britain, and France reacted sharply today to news about Iran's nuclear program. It involved a key facility being built in secret, at least until now.

    NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman has our lead story report.

  • ANNOUNCER:

    Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States, accompanied by the president of the French Republic and the prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    The disclosure that Iran has been building a new plant to enrich uranium came amid the G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh. President Obama, flanked by the leaders of France and Britain, said Iran intentionally had hidden the plant for years.

  • U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    The size and configuration of this facility is inconsistent with a peaceful program. Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow, endangering the global nonproliferation regime, denying its own people access to the opportunity they deserve, and threatening the stability and security of the region and the world.

    We have offered Iran a clear path toward greater international integration if it lives up to its obligations, and that offer stands. But the Iranian government must now demonstrate through deeds its peaceful intentions or be held accountable to international standards and international law.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called Iran's nuclear program "the most urgent proliferation challenge that the world faces today."

    GORDON BROWN, prime minister, Great Britain: Confronted by the serial deception of many years, the international community has no choice today but to draw a line in the sand.

    And I say, on behalf of the United Kingdom today, we will not let this matter rest. And we are prepared to implement further and more stringent sanctions. Let the message that goes out to the world be absolutely clear, that Iran must abandon any military ambitions for its nuclear program.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy went further. He attached a deadline and did not rule out military action.

    NICOLAS SARKOZY, president, France: We were already in a very severe confidence crisis. We are now faced with a challenge, a challenge made to the entire international community. Everything, everything must be put on the table now. We cannot let Iranian leaders gain time while the motors are running. If by December there is not an in-depth change by the Iranian leaders, sanctions will have to be taken.

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