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Global Arms-Control System Has Mixed Success: US

Location map of Iran's nuclear facilities. The US report based its charges against Iran on what it called a series of suspicious activities, "a systematic practice of denial and deception" and the fact that a top oil producer did not need any nuclear energy.

Washington (AFP) Aug 30, 2005
International arms-control systems have produced only mixed results, with success toward disarming Libya shadowed by dangerous weapons programs in North Korea and Iran, the US State Department said Tuesday.

The conclusions were presented in the department's first report in two years detailing progress in enforcing arms-control, nonproliferation and disarmament agreements around the world.

"The United States has had some success in helping bring non-compliant countries back into compliance with their agreements and commitments," the 108-page report said.

"However, other countries have presented significant compliance problems," the document said, adding that the threat of terrorists using weapons of mass destruction made the issue urgent.

It said the most significant development since the last report in June 2003 was Libya's agreement in December of that year to renounce nuclear, biological and chemical weapons as well as long-range missiles.

A senior State Department official said it was the first time the report had contained some significant good news and was important given problems reining in the nuclear ambitions of Pyongyang and Tehran.

"It gives us a model that says, 'Look, it isn't unreasonable to ask a country to come back into compliance with their obligations,'" said the official, who spoke about the report on background.

Overall, the official painted a worrying picture of the state of efforts to prevent the spread of weapons under the 35-year-old nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"We are seeing more blatant examples in the NPT arena of non-compliance than what we've seen before," she said.

"On the other hand, the acknowledgement and recognition that there is a problem that needs to be addressed, and needs to be addressed collectively, is stronger than it has been before."

The report contained little new, accusing Iran and North Korea, known formally as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), of violating their international obligations by pursuing work on atomic bombs.

"Based on the information available, including the DPRK's own statements, North Korea possessed nuclear weapons, manufactured nuclear weapons, and has sought and received assistance in this effort," it said.

For the first time, the report categorically accused Iran of violating article II of the NPT which bars non-nuclear weapons states from seeking to manufacture atomic bombs or receiving outside help to do so.

The United States has been counting on multilateral negotiations with both Iran and North Korea to persuade them to give up their nuclear weapons programs in return for economic and other incentives.

Washington has threatened to make a new push to haul Iran before the UN Security Council after Tehran resumed sensitive fuel cycle work it had agreed to suspend last year pending negotiations with Britain, France and Germany.

The US report based its charges against Iran on what it called a series of suspicious activities, "a systematic practice of denial and deception" and the fact that a top oil producer did not need any nuclear energy.

But with the UN nuclear watchdog due to receive a new report on Iran at the end of this week, the State Department official insisted the evidence against Tehran was conclusive.

"You have to construct the best analysis that you can, based on all of the available evidence," she said. "When we construct it all together and put that case together we believe that Iran violated Article II (of the NPT)."

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US Lawmakers Head To N. Korea Over Nuclear Differences
Beijing (AFP) Aug 30, 2005
Two US Congressmen headed for North Korea Tuesday in a bid to narrow the gaps separating the two sides and urge the Stalinist state to quickly return to talks on its nuclear weapons drive.







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