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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
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 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 With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
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 Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic 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.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

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