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(VOA Editorial)  (440)
(Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America April 15,
1eflecting the views of the U.S. government.)
In a recent speech, President Bill Clinton warned that, "The
proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is a growing peaceful nations."  The magnitude of this menace was made clear
by James Woolsey, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, in testimony
to members of the U.S. Congress earlier this year.  As Woolsey pointed out,
"More than 25 countries, many of them hostile to the United States and
(its) friends and allies, may have, or may be developing, nuclear and
biological and chemical weapons...and the means to deliver them."
One of these countries is Iran.  As Ambassador Thomas McNamara, U.S.
coordinator for counter-terrorism, recently pointed out, "The Iranian
regime has practiced state terrorism since it took power in 1979; it is
currently the deadliest state sponsor and has achieved a worldwide reach."
In addition to its involvement in terrorism, the Iranian regime is a major
violator of human rights and has actively opposed efforts to achieve peace
in the Middle East.
The United States has often expressed serious concern about Iranian efforts
to acquire missiles and weapons of mass destruction.  Last year, Iran
purchased a number of extended-range Scud missiles from North Korea.  And
now there are reports that Iran is negotiating the purchase of more North
Korean missiles.  As U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said
last week, "North Korea is developing a missile (estimated to have) a range
of 1,000 kilometers.  (U.S. officials) have made clear to North Korea our
opposition to its transfers of missiles and missile-related technology."
Boucher also said the United States has urged North Korea to adopt the
export guidelines of the Missile Technology Control Regime.  In recent
years, more than 20 countries have pledged to abide by these guidelines
aimed at limiting the spread of ballistic missiles that can be used to
deliver nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.  But North Korea has still
not agreed to adopt the Missile Technology Control Regime guidelines.  The
United States will continue to work with friends and allies to persuade
North Korea to halt missile sales that contribute to the menace of
proliferation.  In addition, the United States will continue to urge North
Korea to uphold the obligations it entered into as a party to the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty and to honor its commitments under the safeguards
agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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