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Iran And North Korea: Dangers To Non-Proliferation

A screen grab of the Nuclear Test Facility site in North Korea, via Google Maps satellite view.

U.S. concerns were echoed by strong statements from other delegations.

The two week-long Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee meeting held in Geneva concluded on May 3rd. U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman highlighted U.S. concerns about the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea, which were echoed by strong statements from other delegations.

Iran And North Korea: Dangers To Non-Proliferation
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“We continue to believe that the greatest challenge to the nonproliferation regime today are the continued activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and we’re glad that this subject got clear treatment. Obviously more needs to be done in order for the regime in Iran to hear the message that it must seriously address its non-compliance with the Nonproliferation Treaty.”

During the session, Assistant Secretary Countryman emphasized the serious challenge that North Korea poses to the global nonproliferation regime and to international peace and security.

“North Korea’s provocations,” he said, “have received resounding and overwhelming international condemnation. The United States has made it clear that we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state. North Korea must comply with its international obligations and commitments or face further isolation.”

Speaking to the press after the Geneva conference, Assistant Secretary Countryman said that Iran and North Korea were seeking to obtain materials linked to their nuclear programs in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. There is, he stated, a determined international effort to prevent transfers of all proscribed items to and from North Korea and Iran. But he noted that more can be done and urged all countries to rigorously abide by and implement U.N. resolutions on Iran and North Korea.

During the conference, Assistant Secretary of State Countryman noted, “The United States does not dispute the right of states that comply with their nonproliferation obligations to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. …The United States remains committed to working with all countries in a concerted effort to uphold the integrity and credibility of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.”