News / USA

Iran, North Korea to Dominate Nuclear Non-Proliferation Talks

U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman talks to the media in this file photo, at the government building in Skopje, Macedonia, February 2011. U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman talks to the media in this file photo, at the government building in Skopje, Macedonia, February 2011.
x
U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman talks to the media in this file photo, at the government building in Skopje, Macedonia, February 2011.
U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman talks to the media in this file photo, at the government building in Skopje, Macedonia, February 2011.
Lisa Schlein
Controversial nuclear programs being pursued by Iran and North Korea are expected to dominate the agenda of global nuclear talks that have begun at the United Nations in Geneva. Over the next two weeks, representatives of 190 nations that are members of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT] will meet to prepare for the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

These preparatory talks are taking place in a charged atmosphere. The NPT aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. But the rogue actions of Iran and North Korea are setting many member states on edge.

The head of the U.S. delegation says the increasingly bellicose rhetoric of North Korea and Iran's continued defiance of its obligations under the NPT are major challenges.

Thomas Countryman, who is U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation, said North Korea has exploded a third nuclear device, and Iran has long deceived the International Atomic Energy Agency and international community regarding its nuclear enrichment program.

“The actions of Iran and North Korea should concern every member of this conference. It is clear that if Iran succeeds in the project of constructing nuclear weapons then it is not only the Helsinki meeting that becomes irrelevant, but it is in fact the entire credibility of this treaty. The possession of such weapons by Iran constitutes a threat to the entire region,” said Countryman.

A proposed international conference to establish a nuclear free zone was supposed to take place in Helsinki last December, but failed to materialize. Iran said it would attend such a conference. But Israel, which neither denies nor confirms that it possesses nuclear weapons, indicated it would not attend.

Israel has not joined the NPT. Iran, which is a member, said it is not in breach of the treaty. It says it is enriching uranium as part of a peaceful nuclear energy program, which is allowed under the treaty.  It says it is not interested in acquiring nuclear weapons.  

The United States, Israel, the European Union and other allies are suspicious of this claim, however, and fear Teheran is intent on building an atomic bomb.

Countryman warns that if Iran develops nuclear weapons, this will open the way for more proliferation of such weapons than has ever been seen.

"If you consider that Iran’s rhetoric prior to its first nuclear explosion is just as warlike as North Korea’s rhetoric after three nuclear explosions, you ought to be concerned about where continued non-adherence by Iran will bring the region and bring the world,” he said.

North Korea became a party to the NPT in 1985 and announced it was withdrawing from the treaty in 2003. Countryman said North Korea began acquiring nuclear weapons technologies while still a member of the treaty. The case of North Korea, he said, clearly shows the treaty can be abused by states that say they have withdrawn.

Countryman said there must be consequences for such action. He said he expects this issue to be discussed during the 2015 Review Conference and hopes this will be one of the areas where the treaty can be strengthened.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Charles Holley from: Paris
April 23, 2013 2:08 AM
Why does the only country who has murdered thousands of innocent people with nuclear bombs think they can tell other countries not to develop nuclear technology?
Why does the US not allow inspectors to visit the site of its latest nuclear test?
Why does the United State of Israel not sign the NPT?
Why does the US feel compelled to play war games at the DPRK border, instead of in the southern end of Korea?
Why does the US continue to believe it has any credibility left?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More