News Release

Nuclear Precipice: Korea and Iran

BILL MESLER
A former editor of the Seoul-based Korea Economic Journal, Mesler said today: “The upcoming talks in Beijing are a positive sign. Unfortunately the Bush administration has continued to make unacceptable demands without offering any concrete concessions, which continues to hamper the possibility of reaching a fruitful accord. The Bush administration says it wants the dismantling of the North Korean nuclear program. There already is a prudent blueprint for an agreement: the 1994 ‘agreed framework’ reached between the North Koreans and the Clinton administration. The question is: Is the Bush administration willing to return to resurrect the accord? Contrary to popular belief, the North Koreans seem to have kept their side of the agreement until 2000; then the Bush administration came into office and decided to unilaterally ignore the U.S. responsibilities…. The North Koreans also want a guarantee that the U.S. will not resort to military force.”

ROSS POURZAL
A Washington-based political analyst who is active with the Alliance of Progressive Iranians, Pourzal said today: “The best way to reverse Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program is to let it feel secure from American threat. Bush’s attack on disarmed Iraq, in contrast to his stance towards nuclear North Korea, should convince any defense planner that Iran must develop a nuclear deterrent in a hurry. After all, Iran’s cooperation with Washington in Afghanistan and Iraq has been rewarded with more belligerent White House rhetoric. Tehran is realistically fearful that U.N.-enforced transparency of its suspected nuclear facilities will make Iran as defenseless as Iraq before a U.S. attack. The way forward, Iran has suggested, is to rid all of the Middle East of nuclear weapons and to replace Russian and other ‘clandestine’ sources with verifiable American nuclear cooperation with Iran. That Washington has summarily rejected both offers cannot inspire anything but distrust in Tehran.”
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JACQUELINE CABASSO
Executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation and co-author of the report “The End of Disarmament and the Arms Races to Come,” Cabasso said today: “The U.S. is demanding that North Korea and Iran refrain from acquiring nuclear weapons in accordance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But the treaty also requires the U.S. to eliminate its own nuclear arsenal through good-faith negotiations. Instead, top-level Pentagon officials are meeting this week at STRATCOM, the U.S. military’s nuclear command and control center at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, to discuss a proposal for the production of modified and new nuclear weapons. Programs are already underway at the weapons labs to upgrade every weapon type in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, in many cases giving them enhanced military capabilities. And the Bush administration has announced that in order to defend its national security, ‘America will act against … emerging threats before they are fully formed,’ including, potentially, with nuclear weapons….”
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MASAKAZU SAITO, KOJI UEDA [via JOHN STEINBACH]
Saito and Ueda are hibakusha — living survivors of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Steinbach is an organizer for the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area, which is coordinating a number of events marking the 58th anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. [Other events are listed at www.unitedforpeace.org/calendar.php?caltype=9.]

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167