CAPITOL HILL —
As North Korea continues to threaten the United States and its allies with nuclear attack, three U.S. House Foreign Affairs subcommittees have held a joint hearing on "Breaking the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nexus." Lawmakers and witnesses at the hearing agreed that the growing relationship among the three governments poses broad risks to international security and nuclear non-proliferation efforts.
House Foreign Affairs Committee leaders detailed the triangular relationship between Iran, North Korea and Syria at a hearing in Washington. Lawmakers said Iran has been providing arms and fighters to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army, and that North Korea and Iran have been working together on what amounts to a joint nuclear weapons program.
Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called on the Obama administration to get tough on the three countries’ governments.
“History has proven that diplomatic relations with these regimes have been a waste of time," said Ros-Lehtinen. "The administration must fully and vigorously enforce sanctions against this triangle of proliferation and have a coherent and coordinated strategy to counter these threats.”
Democratic Representative Brad Sherman said the countries’ ties do deserve attention.
“We are dealing with three evil countries, or at least evil governments, but they are at very different stages," said Sherman.
Sherman said the Syrian government seems to be on the verge of collapse, North Korean President Kim Jong Un seems to be focused on his own survival, and Sherman said he believes Iran poses the greatest threat to the United States.
Former CIA Director James Woolsey also called on the Obama administration to take action against the nexus between North Korea, Iran and Syria.
“Our primary and overall goal should be to break, literally destroy this axis, not destroy the countries but destroy the interaction between these three states," said Woolsey.
Woolsey said the United States needs to do more to support non-Islamist opposition in Syria, and that the Obama administration should speak up more strongly against what he termed the three rogue states’ behavior.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to hold talks in South Korea about the nuclear threats from North Korea.