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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

04 October 2005

No New Nuclear Transfers to Iran, State's Rademaker Urges U.N.

U.S. arms control official calls for freeze of ongoing nuclear projects

Washington -- A top U.S. arms control and nonproliferation official has called on all governments to prohibit new nuclear transfers to Iran and to freeze activity on all ongoing nuclear projects with that country.

Stephen Rademaker, acting assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, told the United Nations General Assembly's First Committee that all governments should note the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors' finding of Iranian noncompliance with nuclear nonproliferation obligations. (See related article.).

Governments should "adjust their national policies accordingly," Rademaker said. "No government should permit new nuclear transfers to Iran, and all ongoing nuclear projects should be frozen."

He spoke to the group, which deals with disarmament and international security issues, on October 3.

Rademaker made the remarks about Iran as part of a call for new solutions to deal with the new threats of the 21st century.  The foremost threat, he said, is the prospect of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the hands of rogue states, terrorists or "perhaps most worrisome of all," of terrorists armed by rogue states.

Deterrence is "a weak reed on which to lean in confronting these kinds of ?actors,’ who fundamentally will not be deterred," Rademaker said.  Nor do traditional arms control treaties offer protection against these risks, he said, particularly when certain countries do not honor their commitments.  He outlined some of the new approaches the United States is taking to combat those threats.

Rademaker announced the latest U.S. development in nuclear disarmament: the complete deactivation of its entire force of "Peacekeeper" intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

"Just three years ago, this missile force comprised 50 ICBMs, each capable of carrying 10 nuclear warheads.  All now have been taken out of service, consistent with our obligations under the Moscow Treaty of 2002," he said.

The State Department official held up the two-year-old Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) as another new strategy to confront today's threats.  The PSI has been designed "to strengthen our collective capacity to stop shipments of WMD, their delivery systems, or related materials to or from states or nonstate ?actors’ of proliferation concern," he said.

Rademaker also noted the 2004 passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540 as a new mechanism to combat WMD proliferation.  It mandated legal obligations on all U.N. members to create and enforce laws and rules to prevent proliferation of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons and their delivery systems.  Also, governments have been attempting to deny proliferators access to banking systems, and to prevent their partnerships with legitimate companies.

The United States also plans to push in the Nuclear Suppliers Group for strengthened controls on enrichment and reprocessing technology, while also working to ensure reliable access to fuel for civil nuclear power reactors to governments that forswear uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing -- the fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Traditional diplomacy also plays a role in dealing with proliferation threats, Rademaker said, citing the case of North Korea and Iran as examples.  He said the two governments "exemplify the alarming breakdown of compliance with the core nonproliferation undertakings contained in articles II and III of the [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- NPT] that we confront today from a small number of countries."

The United States wants an immediate start to negotiations for a fissile material cutoff treaty in the Conference on Disarmament (CD), Rademaker said.  He called it "an issue ripe for negotiation," and said a quick agreement would aid international security.

Rademaker also reiterated a U.S. proposal for the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate a ban on the sale or export of all persistent landmines.  It would complement other international restrictions on landmines, he said, "and we urge the members of the CD to give it prompt and favorable consideration."

Transcripts of Rademaker's statement to the United Nations and his remarks to the media afterward are available at the United States Mission to the United Nations Web site.

For additional information, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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