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Parsing Howard Dean's Iran "Nuclear Power" Remark

3:23 PM, Feb 28, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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During a speech today accusing President Bush of being weak on defense, Dean stated that,

under no circumstances will a Democratic Administration ever allow Iran to become a nuclear power.

What is Dean exactly saying here? Why use the phrase "nuclear power"?

Is this a "no tolerance" policy that Democrats would not allow Iran to acquire a single nuclear weapon?

Or, is Dean saying Democrats would allow Iran to build nuclear weapons so as it didn't build enough of them to qualify as a "nuclear power"?

Also, let's remember that it was the Clinton administration that rewarded North Korea -- see here -- by letting that government keeps its nuclear weapons and cheat on the "Framework" it signed. Republicans should ask Dean if he has something similar in mind for Iran.