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NATO Chief Concerned About Iran's Nuclear Plans

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO's secretary-general (file photo) (AFP) 27 April, 2006 -- NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer today voiced concern about Iran's nuclear plans, saying that Europe and the United States are "trying to prevent developments in Iran that [neither] you, nor I, nor NATO would like to see."

He cited the threat of chemical and biological weapons, as well as of nuclear proliferation.

De Hoop Scheffer was speaking as he prepared to host talks with the alliance's foreign ministers, including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In theory, the two-day gathering should focus on issues such as the expansion of the alliance's presence in Afghanistan and its role in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan.

However, the meeting is being overshadowed by the Iran crisis, particularly as April 28, the day the conference starts, is also the deadline the UN Security Council gave for Tehran to suspend all work on enriching uranium, a key stage in the process of producing nuclear energy and also nuclear weapons.