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NPT: Regional Issues

John S. Wolf, Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation, Alternate Representative of the United States of America
Third Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
New York City, New York
May 4, 2004

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons has been seriously tested over the past year by developments in the Middle East, South Asia, and in North Korea. While the primary focus of this statement is compliance, we remain committed to the goal of universal NPT adherence and hope that India, Israel, and Pakistan will eventually join the Treaty as non-nuclear weapon states.


Achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East remains a key U.S. foreign policy goal. No country has worked harder to bring a settlement to this long-standing conflict. All of us here support the goal of a region free from weapons of mass destruction. It will not happen without achievement of a political settlement that provides safe and secure borders for the parties involved. The United States, the European Union, the United Nations and the Russian Federation, referred to collectively as the Quartet, worked together to develop a Road Map to realize President Bush's vision of two states -- Israel and Palestine -- living side by side in peace and security. The United States remains committed to the roadmap, the President's two-state vision, and a negotiated settlement. We welcome the disengagement plan prepared by the Government of Israel, and welcome its assurance that the disengagement will be consistent with the Roadmap and the two-state vision. These steps could mark real progress toward realizing the vision of two states living side by side in peace and security.

Even as we work for such a peace, we are determined also to counter the threat posed by states pursuing WMD and ballistic missiles in violation of their treaty and regime commitments. This threat is compounded in the Middle East because some states are sponsors of terrorism. We encourage all regional NPT parties to fully comply with their Treaty obligations.

In Iraq, a loathsome dictatorship that violated the basic rights of its people and its solemn nonproliferation commitments is gone. In the Transitional Administrative Law signed on March 8, the Iraqi Governing Council reaffirmed the commitment of the Iraqi people to Iraq's nonproliferation obligations and treaties.

Even though one grave danger to international security has been eliminated, other dangers gather. We should be deeply concerned by Iran's desire to continue developing a full nuclear fuel cycle capability and by its repeated lack of transparency in almost all aspects of its nuclear program. For the United States, it is clear; Iran long has been developing capabilities for producing nuclear weapons. We have said so publicly for more than a decade, and the facts revealed the past twelve months unambiguously support this conclusion.

At last year's PrepCom, we heard a number of statements from Iran defending the nature and scope of its nuclear program and professing full transparency and cooperation with the IAEA. An Iranian representative said that "Iran has been in constant cooperation with the IAEA" and added that Iran "is providing substantiated information in great detail and with complete transparency to address the questions" posed by the IAEA. However, later in the year Director General ElBaradei told the Board of Governors that the IAEA's efforts to verify Iran's nuclear program "have revealed a deliberate counter effort that spanned many years, to conceal materials, facilities, and activities. . . . These breaches and failures are of themselves a matter of deep concern, and run counter to both the letter and spirit of the safeguards agreement." As the IAEA has discovered and chronicled, Iran's assertions at the PrepCom were far from the truth.

Iran also asserted last year that no state party should be "limited in the exercise of its Treaty rights . . . on the basis of allegations of non-compliance not verified by the IAEA." A few months later the IAEA Director General issued a report that confirmed Iran's "breaches of obligation to comply" with its NPT safeguards agreement.

Indeed, the four reports during the past year from Dr. ElBaradei describe in striking detail a systematic, clandestine effort by Iran to acquire fissile material production capability, and to hide its undeclared efforts from the world. The ongoing IAEA investigations confirm many of our most troubling suspicions, and the IAEA's search continues. Let there be no mistake -- for at least 18 years, Iran has been in serious violation of its NPT obligations.

In response to the IAEA's detailed reports, the Board of Governors unanimously adopted three resolutions on Iran. In September 2003, the Board decided that it was "urgent" that Iran remedy all safeguards failures and called on Iran to suspend all further enrichment-related activities. The November 2003 resolution deplored Iran's "failure and breaches of its obligation to comply with the provisions of its Safeguards Agreement," confirming Iran's safeguards noncompliance. The resolution adopted on March 13, 2004 deplored additional Iranian failures, noting serious omissions in its October declarations to the IAEA, specifically including its secret work on advanced "P-2" centrifuge designs. The resolution called on Iran, yet again, to address the IAEA's serious concerns about the source of HEU particles found at Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran's response was to block IAEA inspectors from resuming inspections for a significant period, yet another example of Iran's perverse and self-serving interpretation of "full cooperation" with the IAEA.

Concerns about Iran's nuclear weapons program are not abating, particularly in light of what we are learning about Libya's nuclear weapons program -- including the weapons design information Libya received from the same black market suppliers who have helped Iran. The IAEA Board of Governors will grapple further with this issue in June and thereafter. Meanwhile, we hope all NPT parties in good standing will urge Iran to take all steps called for in previous Board resolutions. The United States also strongly discourages any supplier from providing nuclear-related assistance to Iran. As a repeated violator of its NPT safeguards agreement, Iran is not entitled to such assistance.

In stark contrast to Iran's continuing prevarications, Libya on December 19, 2003 pledged to eliminate its nuclear weapons program, declare all of its nuclear activities to the IAEA, and allow immediate inspections and monitoring to verify these actions. This brave decision represents an important victory for the nuclear nonproliferation regime, as well as for Libya itself. The United States is very pleased with the success to date in working with the UK and the IAEA to help Libya fulfill its commitment to eliminate its nuclear weapons program. The "Libyan model" is rapidly becoming the international benchmark of nonproliferation success, a compelling lesson for other countries, and a signal victory for the NPT regime as a whole.

Other U.S. actions to promote compliance with the NPT in the Middle East and elsewhere include support for strengthening IAEA safeguards through negotiation and entry into force of the IAEA Additional Protocol, and adoption of NPT safeguards agreements. Several NPT parties in the region still have not concluded their full-scope safeguards agreements with the IAEA, as required by the NPT. It is essential that each of them honor its NPT obligations and do so as soon as possible. Many states in the region have not adopted the Additional Protocol. They should do so as soon as possible. There are no excuses. As President Bush said: "Nations that are serious about fighting proliferation will approve and implement the Additional Protocol."


North Korea's nuclear weapons program presents a threat to regional and global security and an urgent challenge to the international nonproliferation regime. It has repeatedly violated international nonproliferation obligations. As worrisome, however, is the real possibility that North Korea would export fissile material or weapons to other rogue states or terrorists. We do not exclude the exchange of WMD technology and materials between Iran and North Korea. North Korea is a danger that affects us all. It cannot and will not be ignored.

North Korea's NPT noncompliance was first uncovered more than a decade ago. This violation related to its plutonium program. In 2002, it became clear that North Korea was pursuing a clandestine uranium enrichment program, which North Korea itself acknowledged to Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly that October. This occurred as the United States was prepared to launch a comprehensive approach that would have held out the prospect of expanded relations between our two countries. North Korea's subsequent denials of its uranium enrichment program fly in the face of evidence that A.Q. Khan's network supplied uranium enrichment assistance to North Korea.

In January of this year, North Korea showed what it called its "nuclear deterrent" to visiting members of a private U.S. delegation. It showed the delegation a storage facility at Yongbyon that no longer contained the almost 8,000 spent fuel rods previously stored there. North Korea also presented material that it claimed was plutonium separated from those fuel rods. North Korea's policy of provocation and escalation has deepened its isolation. It continues to demonstrate a total disregard for its international obligations and the will of the world community.

The United States has stated repeatedly and at the highest levels that we prefer a peaceful, diplomatic end to North Korea's nuclear program. We are convinced that a multilateral solution is imperative for this fundamentally multilateral problem. Since August 2003, the United States has engaged in two rounds of Six Party Talks, the most recent having taken place in Beijing during February of this year. With the exception of North Korea, all parties to the Talks agreed in February that our common objective is the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program. North Korea must understand that resolution of the problem it created can come about only through eliminating its entire nuclear program, including both plutonium reprocessing and uranium enrichment. Should the DPRK do so, the United States stands ready to reduce its sanctions as North Korea takes steps to address our concerns. The DPRK need only look at the steps that we have taken with Libya to understand that we will do our part to help North Korea participate more fully in the community of nations and create a better life for its people.


Turning to South Asia, our focus there is not on compliance, as neither India nor Pakistan is a party to the NPT. While we remain committed to universal NPT adherence, our focus in South Asia has been and remains on preventing actions that would undermine the global nonproliferation regime and regional stability -- be it through nuclear testing, deployment, nuclear use, or proliferation to other countries. The United States has an active dialogue with both countries on these issues.

We have taken steps recently with both countries to strengthen relations in order to advance our regional goals, enhance the fight against terrorism, and to secure cooperation from both countries on export controls. These steps should not, however, be taken to suggest that we have "accepted" the status of either country as a nuclear weapon state under the NPT. We have not. Moreover, we will not reward either country for their decisions to acquire nuclear weapons or for the 1998 tests that made the world and the region a more dangerous place.

We have steadfastly avoided taking any actions that would be contrary to our long-established nuclear export control policy. India and Pakistan remain ineligible under U.S. law and policy for any significant assistance to their nuclear programs. We continue to call on India and Pakistan not to conduct nuclear tests, to end the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, to take steps to reduce regional tensions and to prevent the use of nuclear weapons.

We are also urging Pakistan to continue to take the steps necessary to end the activities of the dangerous nuclear proliferation network spawned by A.Q. Khan. It is up to Pakistan and numerous other countries in which this multinational network operated to take the necessary measures to shut down the network and to implement comprehensive measures to prevent any recurrence. Individuals involved should be investigated and arrested; companies sanctioned, or closed. In every case, we believe the network took advantage of weak laws, and weak enforcement. We urge the countries involved to review and strengthen their export controls and their capabilities to administer new controls. Pakistan's leaders have committed to work with the United States and international efforts to roll up the A.Q. Khan network and have pledged to take steps to ensure that Pakistan will not be a source for proliferation in the future.


Mr. Chairman, this overview of regional nuclear proliferation problems encompasses the most serious challenges we face in strengthening and enforcing the NPT. We need to convince these states that the pursuit of nuclear weapons brings danger and not a better world for their people. Most of the international community has already come to that conclusion and has forsworn nuclear weapons under the NPT. The NPT will continue to serve as an effective barrier to the proliferation of nuclear weapons only if we find ways to strengthen and enforce the Treaty's nonproliferation undertakings. We must all work together toward the achievement of this objective.

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