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Vice President Dick Cheney warned Iran of “serious consequences” should it continue to develop a nuclear weapon. “The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences,” Cheney said to applause at a Washington Institute for Near East Policy retreat on Sunday. “The United States joins other nations in sending a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.” Bush administration officials in recent weeks have ratcheted up warnings to Iran to roll back its suspected nuclear weapons program. President Bush last week described an Iran with nuclear weapons know-how as likely to lead to “World War III.”

Such expressions go beyond earlier U.S. statements that mostly have been limited to pledges to intensify economic sanctions against Iran. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.

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