Chapter V. Prevent Our Enemies from Threatening Us, Our Allies, and Our Friends with Weapons
of Mass Destruction
Section C. The Way Ahead - 1. Nuclear Proliferation
We are committed to keeping the world's most dangerous weapons out of the hands of
the world's most dangerous people.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons poses the greatest threat to our national security.
Nuclear weapons are unique in their capacity to inflict instant loss of life on a massive
scale. For this reason, nuclear weapons hold special appeal to rogue states and terrorists.
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The best way to block aspiring nuclear states or nuclear terrorists is to deny them access
to the essential ingredient of fissile material. It is much harder to deny states or terrorists
other key components, for nuclear weapons represent a 60-year old technology and the
knowledge is widespread. Therefore, our strategy focuses on controlling fissile material
with two priority objectives: first, to keep states from acquiring the capability to produce
fissile material suitable for making nuclear weapons; and second, to deter, interdict, or
prevent any transfer of that material from states that have this capability to rogue states or
The first objective requires closing a loophole in the Non-Proliferation Treaty that
permits regimes to produce fissile material that can be used to make nuclear weapons
under cover of a civilian nuclear power program. To close this loophole, we have
proposed that the world's leading nuclear exporters create a safe, orderly system that
spreads nuclear energy without spreading nuclear weapons. Under this system, all states
would have reliable access at reasonable cost to fuel for civilian nuclear power reactors.
In return, those states would remain transparent and renounce the enrichment and
reprocessing capabilities that can produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. In this
way, enrichment and reprocessing will not be necessary for nations seeking to harness
nuclear energy for strictly peaceful purposes.
The Administration has worked with the international community in confronting nuclear
We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran. For almost 20
years, the Iranian regime hid many of its key nuclear efforts from the international
community. Yet the regime continues to claim that it does not seek to develop nuclear
weapons. The Iranian regime's true intentions are clearly revealed by the regime's
refusal to negotiate in good faith; its refusal to come into compliance with its
international obligations by providing the IAEA access to nuclear sites and resolving
troubling questions; and the aggressive statements of its President calling for Israel to "be
wiped off the face of the earth." The United States has joined with our EU partners and
Russia to pressure Iran to meet its international obligations and provide objective
guarantees that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. This diplomatic effort
must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided.
As important as are these nuclear issues, the United States has broader concerns
regarding Iran. The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel; seeks to thwart
Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq; and denies the aspirations of its people
for freedom. The nuclear issue and our other concerns can ultimately be resolved only if
the Iranian regime makes the strategic decision to change these policies, open up its
political system, and afford freedom to its people. This is the ultimate goal of U.S.
policy. In the interim, we will continue to take all necessary measures to protect our
national and economic security against the adverse effects of their bad conduct. The
problems lie with the illicit behavior and dangerous ambition of the Iranian regime, not
the legitimate aspirations and interests of the Iranian people. Our strategy is to block the
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threats posed by the regime while expanding our engagement and outreach to the people
the regime is oppressing.
The North Korean regime also poses a serious nuclear proliferation challenge. It presents
a long and bleak record of duplicity and bad-faith negotiations. In the past, the regime
has attempted to split the United States from its allies. This time, the United States has
successfully forged a consensus among key regional partners China, Japan, Russia, and
the Republic of Korea (ROK) that the DPRK must give up all of its existing nuclear
programs. Regional cooperation offers the best hope for a peaceful, diplomatic resolution
of this problem. In a joint statement signed on September 19, 2005, in the Six-Party
Talks among these participants, the DPRK agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons and all
existing nuclear programs. The joint statement also declared that the relevant parties
would negotiate a permanent peace for the Korean peninsula and explore ways to
promote security cooperation in Asia. Along with our partners in the Six-Party Talks, the
United States will continue to press the DPRK to implement these commitments.
The United States has broader concerns regarding the DPRK as well. The DPRK
counterfeits our currency; traffics in narcotics and engages in other illicit activities;
threatens the ROK with its army and its neighbors with its missiles; and brutalizes and
starves its people. The DPRK regime needs to change these policies, open up its political
system, and afford freedom to its people. In the interim, we will continue to take all
necessary measures to protect our national and economic security against the adverse
effects of their bad conduct.
The second nuclear proliferation objective is to keep fissile material out of the hands
of rogue states and terrorists. To do this we must address the danger posed by
inadequately safeguarded nuclear and radiological materials worldwide. The
Administration is leading a global effort to reduce and secure such materials as quickly as
possible through several initiatives including the Global Threat Reduction Initiative
(GTRI). The GTRI locates, tracks, and reduces existing stockpiles of nuclear material.
This new initiative also discourages trafficking in nuclear material by emplacing
detection equipment at key transport nodes.
Building on the success of the PSI, the United States is also leading international efforts
to shut down WMD trafficking by targeting key maritime and air transportation and
transshipment routes, and by cutting off proliferators from financial resources that
support their activities.