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Rumsfeld On North Korea And Iran

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that the pursuit of nuclear weapons by North Korea and Iran is worrisome for a number of reasons:

"First, those nations are known proliferators. They've proliferated to other nation states as well as to non-nation entities. We recently saw an example of the latter in the case of Iran supplying Hezbollah. Second, their programs point to increasing risks of lethal weapons possibly ending up in the hands of non-state entities, folks that, unlike a nation, tend not to be deterred the way a nation state would because they don't have to worry about protecting real estate, population, or leadership."

Another concern, says Mr. Rumsfeld, is that other nations may decide that "they can no longer avoid developing their own nuclear weapons":

"If this trend continues, there would be an increase in the number of countries with nuclear weapons, not just Iran and [North] Korea, but possibly others. The nuclear threshold as a result would be lower in the years ahead."

All of these possible developments threaten international security, says Mr. Rumsfeld:

"I mention that because obviously it points up the critical importance of cooperation among [members of] the international community. The task is to marshal sufficient leverage so that Iran and North Korea and other countries can be dissuaded from their current course."

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that "time will tell" whether diplomacy will be enough to induce regimes like North Korea and Iran to change their ways. But, he says, "It's the right course."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.