The United Nations Security Council adopted a third resolution imposing sanctions on for its refusal to cease enriching uranium designed to build nuclear weapons.
The resolution was adopted by a vote of 14 - 0, with Indonesia abstaining, and calls on "Member States" to inspect cargoes to and from believed to contain goods prohibited by U.N. resolutions, mandates tighter monitoring of financial institutions and imposes additional travel bans and asset freezes.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zamay Khalizad puts 's continued nuclear defiance in perspective:
Instead of suspending its proliferation-sensitive activities as the council has required, is dramatically expanding the number of operating centrifuges and developing a new generation of centrifuges, testing one of them with nuclear fuel.The documents Ambassador Khalizad referred to discredit the December 2007 National
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The latest report from the IAEA [the International Atomic Energy Agency] states that has not met its obligation to fully disclose its past nuclear-weapons program. On the core issue of whether 's nuclear program is strictly peaceful, the report showed no serious progress.
The IAEA presented with documents assembled over a period of years from multiple member states and the agency's own investigations. The documents detailed 's efforts to develop a nuclear warhead, including designs for a missile re-entry vehicle, and showed other possible undeclared activities with nuclear material.
dismissed these documents as "baseless and fabricated." But the IAEA does not share that conclusion.
Instead of slogans and obfuscations, the international community needs answers from . The international community must be able to believe 's declaration that its nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes. ian leaders must as a first step fully disclose past weapons-related work, and implement additional safeguards to ensure no continuing hidden activities. We agree with the IAEA that until takes these steps, 's nuclear program cannot be verified as peaceful.
The latest IAEA report also states that is not suspending its proliferation-sensitive activities.
For almost two years now, the Security Council has required to suspend all of its enrichment-related, reprocessing, and heavy water-related activities. I want to ask the ian leaders, "If your goal is to generate nuclear power for peaceful purposes, why do you court increasing international isolation, economic pressure and more, all for a purported goal more easily and inexpensively obtained with the diplomatic solution we and others offer?"
I want the ian people and others around the world to know that the United States recognizes 's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. They should know that the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany have offered to help develop civil nuclear power, if it complies with the Security Council's demand -- a very reasonable demand -- to suspend enrichment. They should know that the package of incentives includes active international support to build state-of-the art light water power reactors, and reliable access to nuclear fuel.
should do what other nations have done to eliminate any doubts that their nuclear program is peaceful. Many states have made the decision to abandon programs to produce a nuclear weapon. Two of them sit on the Security Council today: South Africa and Libya.
Other countries that have stepped away from past nuclear-weapon aspirations include Brazil, Argentina, Romania, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. These countries did not see their security diminished as a result of their decisions. Indeed, one could easily say their security has been enhanced. Nor did they lose their right to develop nuclear energy. We urge to take the same path these other states have chosen.
The international community has good reason to be concerned about 's activities to acquire a nuclear-weapons capability. The present ian regime, armed with nuclear weapons, would pose a greater potential danger to the region and to the world.
The ian government has been a destabilizing force in the broader Middle East and beyond. Contrary to its statements, has been funding and supporting terrorists and militants for operations in Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Iraq and Afghanistan. Their lethal assistance has harmed countless innocent civilians. The president of has made many reprehensible statements -- embracing the objective of destroying a member state of the United Nations.
Because of all these factors, the international community cannot allow to develop nuclear weapons. If continues down its current path, it would likely fuel proliferation activities in the region, which, in turn, could cause the demise of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime itself.
The U.S. remains committed to a diplomatic solution. If shares this commitment, it will suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities and let diplomacy succeed.
During his February 5, 2008 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell tried to undo some of the political and diplomatic damage done by the NIE:
Not only did McConnell testify that the Islamic Republic was working to master the enrichment of uranium--"the most difficult challenge in nuclear production"--but he also acknowledged that, "because of intelligence gaps," the U.S. government could not be certain that the ian government had fully suspended its covert nuclear programs. "We assess with high confidence that has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons," he testified. "In our judgment, only an ian political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective would plausibly keep from eventually producing nuclear weapons--and such a decision is inherently reversible."McConnell, appearing on the February 17, 2008 edition of "Fox News Sunday," Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said could have a nuclear weapon next year:
WALLACE: Finally, you have dialed back on the recent national intelligence estimate that reported that gave up its nuclear weapons program in 2003.Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert believes that could have "a nuclear weapons capacity" in a few months.
In fact, you said you wish you had the opportunity to redo the public presentation. Do you feel that the NIE understated the threat from ?
MCCONNELL: No. Chris, if the words in the NIE were correct, what I think we probably didn't do an adequate job on is reflecting — there are three parts to a nuclear program.
You have to have fissile material. You have to have a means to deliver a weapon. And you have to have the technical — to design a weapon.
The only thing that they terminated in 2003 was the design feature of the weapon. They're still pursuing fissile material. They're still pursuing missiles for delivery.
As it turns out, though, the hardest part is fissile material. The easiest part is weapons design. So when I testified on the Hill recently, the attempt was to put it in context.
WALLACE: So are you saying that and its uranium enrichment program and what that could lead to is as much of a threat as it ever was?
MCCONNELL: I am saying that. And I believe that the path they were on to achieve nuclear weapons has not been significantly changed because they terminated this technical design feature.
They can turn it on. Remember, it was secret. They've never admitted it. They could have turned it back on now and we wouldn't necessarily know. We'll try to know, but we're not 100 percent sure of that.
WALLACE: And the time frame for them to get the ability to make a nuclear bomb?
MCCONNELL: We've done an estimate in 2001, 2005 and 2007, and each time it says the same thing. They could do it by 2009 — unlikely. The range is 2010 to 2015. And the best guess is about the middle range there for having a nuclear weapon.
Continuing to dither on, Britain, France and Germany were said to preparing a draft resolution critical of that could be adopted by the IAEA's policy-making body later this week. According to the New York Times, the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan already have indicated privately they would support such a move, but Russia and China have already scuttled those plans.
The European powers continue to try the failed carrot and stick approach to eliminate any doubts that 's nuclear program is peaceful. They continue despite 's frequent insistence that its nuclear ambitions will not be deterred and even in the face of 's boasting that it "duped" the European powers while playing for time to work on its secret nuclear program.
It's time for a different approach.