- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 27, 2004

NEW YORK — Several countries in addition to Iran and North Korea may be trying to develop nuclear weapons, and Washington is pursuing the customers of an underground Pakistani network, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton said yesterday.

Mr. Bolton wouldn’t name the countries because U.S. officials are still seeking information.

“There are several others,” Mr. Bolton said. “There’s a lot of information that we don’t necessarily have corroboration for, but we are pursuing our concerns where we do have information, trying to get additional information, learning from others and trying to assess the exact magnitude of the threat.

“Certainly one of the things that we’re very interested in is finding out if A.Q. Khan’s network had other customers, and we’re pursuing that in cooperation with a number of other states,” he said.

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, set up an underground network that supplied nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. In February, he admitted being the mastermind of the scheme but was pardoned by Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

“There’s more out there than we can discuss publicly,” Mr. Bolton said, “and it’s one of the reasons why the depth of our concern about the international market black market in weapons of mass destruction and related materials is as substantial as it.”

Mr. Bolton spoke to reporters after accusing “at least” four countries that have ratified the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) of using its provisions “as cover for the development of nuclear weapons,” either currently or in the past.

“States like Iran are actively violating their treaty obligations, and have gained access to technologies and materials for their nuclear weapons programs. North Korea violated its NPT obligations while a party, and then proved its strategic decision to seek nuclear weapons by withdrawing from the treaty entirely,” he said.

In the past, Iraq and Libya also violated the treaty, Mr. Bolton said at a meeting of the committee preparing for next year’s U.N. conference to review the 1968 pact, which is considered the cornerstone of international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

Declaring that “there is a crisis of NPT compliance,” Mr. Bolton said President Bush “is determined to stop rogue states from gaining nuclear weapons under cover of supposed peaceful nuclear technology.”

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