Speaking in Washington to representatives of almost ninety nations about the dangers of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related equipment, U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said that Iran poses a great proliferation risk:
"Iran is a particular worry since it is both a potential proliferator and an active state sponsor of terror, and thus a potential route of WMD [weapons of mass destruction] for terrorist groups."
The position of the United States and many other nations concerning Iran is clear, said Mr. Hadley:
"We will not betray future generations by allowing Iran to have a nuclear weapon."
To make good on that promise, the United States, along with many international partners, will continue to turn up pressure on the Iranian regime, in order to compel Iran to comply with its international nuclear obligations. That pressure, Mr. Hadley said, will include diplomatic isolation, implementation of United Nations sanctions, and additional financial measures:
"At the same time, we will continue to open the door for a negotiated solution that offers Iran economic, political, and security benefits, if [it] will only give up its nuclear weapons ambitions."
No one argues that Iran should not have a peaceful nuclear energy program, said National Security Advisor Hadley. But that program does not require indigenous enrichment-related, reprocessing, and heavy water-related capabilities that give rise to proliferation risks.
"To walk through the door of negotiation, Iran must first verifiably suspend its uranium enrichment program," he said:
"We cannot allow the Iranian regime to use negotiations to stall for time, to hedge its bets, and keep open an indigenous route to a nuclear weapon."
If there is one thing nations can agree on, said U.S. National Security Advisor Hadley, is that "a nuclear-armed Iran would be disastrous for the peace of the Middle East and the world."