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BUSH WANTS SEN. DOLE TO LEAD MISSION TO IRAN
Earthquake aid effort would be first public visit by U.S. official in 20 years

CNN
January 2, 2004

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush would like to send a humanitarian mission to Iran, headed by Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., administration officials said Friday.

The mission would include an as-yet unnamed member of the Bush family, the officials said.

One administration official stressed the U.S. delegation, if allowed in, would be there strictly on a humanitarian, not a diplomatic mission.

Dole is the former president of the American Red Cross.

Sen. Elizabeth Dole is the former president of the American Red Cross.

Bush met with senior officials last Sunday to discuss what more the United States can do to help Iran.

An official said separately that Dole has told Secretary of State Colin Powell she wants to go to Iran, and officials decided it would be a good idea.

If Tehran were to allow the mission, it would be the first public visit from a U.S. official in more than 20 years.

Last week, the White House announced that it was offering humanitarian assistance to Iran in the wake of the December 26 earthquake -- a 6.6 magnitude -- near the southeastern city of Bam, which killed at least 30,000 people.

"I eased restrictions in order to be able to get humanitarian aid into the country," Bush said. "It's right to take care of people when they hurt."

Bush said Thursday that the assistance did not signify an easing of relations with Tehran. He demanded that the Islamic nation's leaders hand over captured al Qaeda operatives and "abandon their nuclear weapons program."

The comments by Bush about Iran's nuclear program were some of the toughest from the president since Tehran signed an additional nuclear protocol last month to allow U.N. inspectors greater access to Iranian sites.

In order to expedite disaster relief, Bushon Wednesday ordered the temporary easing of some restrictions on sending money and goods to Iran. (Full story)

Bush said Thursday that the assistance did not signify an easing of relations with Tehran. He demanded that the Islamic nation's leaders hand over captured al Qaeda operatives and "abandon their nuclear weapons program." (

http://www.benadorassociates.com/admin/docedit.php?id=920)

 

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