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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid