World Tribune.com

U.S.: 2003 was a very bad year
for rogue states

SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Sunday, January 4, 2004

WASHINGTON Bush administration officials said that over the last year the United States has hampered what they termed the terrorism and weapons of mass destruction policies of such countries as Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria. They said the fall of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein has prompted changes in Iran, Libya and Syria.

The U.S. achievements were listed as the following. The destruction of the Saddam regime in March 2003; Syria's agreement to cooperate against Al Qaida; Iran's signing of the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in December and Libya's agreement to end its WMD and medium-range missile programs. Officials said the administration has also envisioned lifting sanctions from Libya and eventually from Iran.

The earthquake in Iran, which has killed up to 50,000 people, has provided the United States with an opportunity for engagement with Teheran. The United States has rushed tons of supplies on a military plane for survivors of the earthquake in the Iranian city of Bam.

On Wednesday, the administration decided to waive sanctions on Iran for three months to enable U.S. relief efforts. The U.S. relief delegation in Iran has surpassed 1,100 people and the administration has sought Teheran's permission for the visit by a leading Republican senator and members of the family of President George Bush.

"What we're doing in Iran is we're showing the Iranian people the American people care, that they've got great compassion for human suffering," Bush said on Thursday. "The Iranian government must listen to the voices of those who long for freedom, must turn over Al Qaida that are in their custody and must abandon their nuclear weapons program."

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Iran, Libya and Syria driven by their desire to return to the international community have been pressured into rolling back their anti-U.S. policies. Armitage said the United States has long sought such changes in these Middle East states.

"The Libyan question, the discussions there, started over nine months ago," Armitage said in a radio interview. "The Syrians, we've been hectoring them to do the right thing for the last seven months. And Iran decided to accede to the Additional Protocol regarding nuclear inspections following the visit of the three foreign ministers of the European Union."

Armitage said Syria has cooperated in the U.S.-led war against Al Qaida. He said Syria has seized $23 million in suspected Al Qaida assets. "I think that the fact the Bush Administration has engaged in muscular multilateralism is in the back of the minds of all those three countries," Armitage said.

Officials said the Syrian cooperation in the war against Al Qaida came despite a new law that would impose U.S. sanctions on Damascus. They said Bush is likely to cite Syrian cooperation with Al Qaida in any waiver of U.S. sanctions on the Assad regime expected to be demanded by Congress during 2004.

At the same time, officials said, the United States will press Syria to end its WMD programs. They said Syria might receive U.S. guarantees that Israel will also be urged to do the same.

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