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2/25/04 - POWELL ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS - 2004-02-26

In Iraq, a U.S.-led coalition rid the world of a brutal and dangerous regime. The war, says U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, has also “led to some important successes in the [nuclear] non-proliferation area:

“We can see now that the Iraq war and its aftermath was a contributing factor in the decision of the Libyan leadership to forsake the path of W-M-D [weapons of mass destruction] proliferation. I can just see Colonel [Muammar] Gadhafi deciding what to do as he saw the war start to approach and as he considered his own situation.”

Colonel Gadhafi had invested huge amounts of money in trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction. But what, asks Mr. Powell, was the Libyan leader “getting for his people?”:

“Were they living a better life? Was investment coming into his country? Was he trading with other countries? No. What was he getting from this investment? And now that he saw that the world would not be scared of his weapons of mass destruction. . .and he made that choice.”

Mr. Powell says that the Iranian government has taken tentative steps to answer questions about its nuclear weapons program, but needs to do much more:

“After eighteen years of trying to deceive the International Atomic Energy Agency and the world, Iran is slowly, still too slowly, coming forward with answers needed by the I-A-E-A and by the rest of the international community to make sure that they are not violating their obligations.”

“The U.S. hopes that governments like Syria,” says Secretary of State Powell, “will realize that [weapons of mass destruction] programs won’t make their countries safer, their people more prosperous, or their own hold on power more secure.”