Undersecretary of State John Bolton warned that the United States plans
to use such 'robust' measures as seizure to halt the WMD programs of
Syria and other states he deemed as rogues. Such states, he said, includes Cuba, Iran,
Libya and North Korea.
In an address Tuesday to the Fletcher Conference in Washington,
Bolton said the United States and its allies have been steadily preparing
for the interception of WMD and missile shipments to Syria and other Middle
East states. He said U.S. allies, under the auspices of the Proliferation
Security Initiative, have been training in naval interdiction exercises in
the Mediterranean Sea and other areas.
"Rogue states such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya and Cuba, whose
pursuit of weapons of mass destruction makes them hostile to U.S. interests,
will learn that their covert programs will not escape either detection or
consequences," Bolton said. "While we will pursue diplomatic solutions
whenever possible, the United States and its allies are also willing to
deploy more robust techniques, such as the interdiction and seizure of
"If rogue states are not willing to follow the logic of nonproliferation
norms, they must be prepared to face the logic of adverse consequences,"
Bolton continued. "It is why we repeatedly caution that no option is off the
Bolton is regarded as the most powerful member of the Bush
administration in the U.S. effort to stop WMD and missile proliferation. His
assessments on the WMD programs in Syria and other countries have often
clashed with those of his State Department colleagues.
Last month, the CIA released a report that said Syria has been seeking
foreign assistance to establish a solid-propellant rocket motor development
and production capability. The report said Syria has developed the
extended-range Scud D and possibly other variants with assistance from North
Korea and Iran.
The CIA also said Syria was found to have been seeking chemical weapons
expertise from foreign sources in the first half of 2003. The report said
Damascus has stockpiled sarin and has tried to develop more toxic and
persistent nerve agents.
The undersecretary said Iran plans to continue its development of a
nuclear weapons program despite an agreement with International Atomic
Energy Agency to sign the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty. Bolton said Teheran has already backtracked from
pledges to the IAEA to end Iran's uranium enrichment program.
The IAEA resolution on Iran passed on Nov. 26 provides the Islamic
republic with its last chance to avoid international censure, Bolton said.
Citing an Article 12C of the IAEA statute, Bolton said "one more
transgression by Iran will mean that the IAEA is obligated to report Iran's
noncompliance to the Security Council and General Assembly of the United
The State Department official did not rule out U.S. action outside the
IAEA to stop Iran's nuclear program. On Dec. 16, the United States will host
the fifth operational meeting of the PSI, which includes Australia, Britain,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
The meeting will bring together legal experts to explore the authority of
nations to stop shipments of WMD and missiles.
[On Wednesday, China, a leading missile and WMD supplier to Iran and
Syria, released a so-called white paper on nonproliferation that detailed
Beijing's policy in stopping the export of missiles as well as components
for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. The report cited efforts by a
range of government agencies and came days before the scheduled visit of
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to the United States.]
"The real issue now is whether the [IAEA] board of governors will remain
together in its insistence that Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is
illegitimate, or whether Iranian efforts to split the board through economic
incentives and aggressive propaganda will succeed," Bolton said. "For our
part, the United States will continue its efforts to prevent the transfer of
sensitive nuclear and ballistic missile technology to Iran, from whatever
source, and will monitor the situation there with great care."