“State sponsors of terrorism, such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Libya, are aggressively working to acquire weapons of mass destruction and their missile delivery systems,” says John Bolton, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Speaking in London on October 30th, Mr. Bolton made it clear that the pursuit of such weapons by these “rogue states” makes them hostile to U.S. interests. But, he said, these states “will learn that their covert programs will not escape either detection or consequences.”
Two reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency have established that Iran is in violation of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. While Iran has denied that it has any program to develop nuclear weapons, said Mr. Bolton, its shifting explanations to the I-A-E-A demonstrate that “Iran is actively concealing a weapons program.” Iran is trying to legitimize as peaceful its pursuit of nuclear fuel-cycle capabilities that would allow it to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. Iran must demonstrate that it is not developing nuclear weapons. If it fails to do so, the United Nations Security Council will need to take action.
With regard to North Korea, said Mr. Bolton, “The United States seeks the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear programs.” The U.S. hopes to bring this about through multilateral talks with North Korea that also involve China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea. “Blackmail and bad behavior. . .will not be rewarded,” said Mr. Bolton.
Syria’s nuclear research and development program is also of concern. Syria has been trying to acquire dual-use technologies that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program. Syria already has one of the most advanced chemical weapons capabilities in the Arab world and is fully committed to expanding its program.
Regimes developing weapons of mass destruction pose a serious threat to world peace, says President George W. Bush:
“The deadly combination of outlaw regimes and terror networks and weapons of mass murder is a peril that cannot be ignored or wished away.”
That is why it is critical to disrupt the spread of sensitive technology to rogue states that support terrorism.