- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 24, 2004

John R. Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, warned yesterday that Iran could face a tough time against the United States and its allies if it persists with its program of nuclear defiance.

“A testing time with Iran is coming,” said Mr. Bolton at an American Enterprise Institute luncheon.

Later testifying before a House committee, Mr. Bolton said Iran told three European nations yesterday it will resume making uranium centrifuge parts, breaking an agreement it had struck with Britain, France and Germany in February.

Mr. Bolton said the United States had never believed that Iran had ceased making the parts and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors last week said it was troubled that Tehran had continued to do so.

“They have not, at least at this point, said that they would resume actual enrichment activities but it seems to me it is perfectly obvious that Iran is not producing components for uranium centrifuges to use them as knickknacks in Iranian living rooms,” Mr. Bolton told the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia.

“This is an act of defiance of the IAEA board of governors. It is a thumb in the eye of the international community,” he added.

Last week the IAEA board of governors unanimously passed a resolution that sharply rebuked Iran for not cooperating fully with a U.N. investigation of Tehran’s nuclear program.

Washington believes Iran is seeking to develop atomic weapons. Tehran says it wants nuclear power for electricity.

There is considerable U.S.-led pressure for the IAEA to refer the case to the United Nations Security Council, which could impose sanctions on Iran.

At the AEI luncheon, Mr. Bolton said Iran, as well as North Korea, would have to realize that U.S. action in Iraq, which under Saddam Hussein refused to comply with U.N. resolutions on its suspected weapons of mass destruction, has rewritten the “rules and consequences” of proliferation.

President Bush has termed Iran, North Korea and prewar Iraq as an “axis of evil.”

The U.S.-led intervention in Iraq, Mr. Bolton said, has created “real world leverage that even Europeans privately acknowledge is useful” and would put teeth into any future U.N. resolutions.

“Never has the [Security] Council been so feared,” he said.

Mr. Bolton said the critical view that the United States has lost credibility by failing to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was wrong.

“I suggest the exact opposite is true,” he said. “We have earned enormous credibility” while sending a message to the rest of the world that proliferation will not be tolerated.

“Our actions have made a difference. This is not a theory — we have proof,” he said, referring to Libya’s decision to surrender its weapons program and North Korea’s willingness to sit down to another round of six-party talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Mr. Bush’s policies on proliferation and his decision to break away from past dependence on “cumbersome” treaties in favor of a robust use of sovereignty against rogue states and actors was the start of a new approach, he said.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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