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News Briefs

Iran Embarks on Campaign To Defend Its Nuclear Program

The Washington Post

Iran has embarked on a publicity campaign aimed at convincing other nations that its quest for nuclear power is not a quest for nuclear weapons, and the Clinton administration responded Monday with a strongly worded pledge to block Tehran from acquiring nuclear technology.

"We are convinced, in the strongest possible way and with a solid base of information, on the question of nuclear weapons, that they desire to have this capability, and we are determined to stop them from acquiring that capability," Sate Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said.

Burns said he was expressing "the very strong degree of determination by this government" to stop Russia and China from carrying out plans to sell nuclear power reactors to Iran. He and other officials said it would be a major agenda item when President Clinton meets Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Canada next month and in all diplomatic contacts with China.

The Clinton administration has ordered a halt to virtually all U.S. trade with Iran and is urging other nations to take similar steps in an effort to limit Iran's sources of nuclear technology and undermine its ability to pay for a nuclear program.

Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has denied that its plans to develop a network of nuclear power plants presage acquisition of nuclear weapons. Now, apparently in response to the stepped-up U.S. effort to block the program, Iran has invited western reporters to Tehran to hear these denials repeated at the highest levels of the Iranian government.

Bonoir Files Fifth Ethics Complaint against Gingrich

The Washington Post

The second-ranking Democrat in the House filed yet another ethics complaint against Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., Monday, focusing new attention on the Republican fund-raising machine GOPAC in an effort to build pressure for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the speaker.

The move by Minority Whip David E. Bonior, D-Mich., a relentless Gingrich critic, marked the latest turn in a concerted effort by some Democrats both to bedevil Gingrich as he assumed control of the new Republican majority in the House and construct a case, brick by brick, that Gingrich grievously abused his office.

Monday's complaint is the fifth one filed against Gingrich. It accuses him of violating House rules and federal law by promoting the GOPAC political action committee in several speeches from the House floor in early 1990.

Steve Jost, a Democratic consultant who is closely following the complaints, said that while there has been no long-term, coherent strategy against the speaker, the chief target has always been GOPAC, which has never fully reported the sources of its roughly $2 million in annual income.