- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 30, 2004

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is inefficient against nuclear proliferation and oversteps its mandate in its efforts to curtail the proliferation of nuclear weapons, a senior Bush administration official said this week.

“There is, I think it’s fair to say, an enormous frustration on many occasions within the American body politic about the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of U.N. agencies,” said John R. Bolton, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, during a conference at the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday. “At the same time, there is concern that these agencies not exceed their mandates, that they have responsibilities and duties that their underlying charters or statutes or enabling treaties give them. And we want them to be confined to that.”

Charging that the IAEA has been unable to rein in either the Iranian or North Korean nuclear programs, Mr. Bolton said the agency is spending the bulk of its expertise and resources on peaceful nations, when rogue nuclear programs and terrorism are the real concerns.

“Sixty percent of the IAEA safeguards budget is spent monitoring compliance with the safeguards agreement of Canada, Japan, and Germany,” he said.

He said it was incomprehensible that the IAEA had not taken more action on Iran.

“Despite the fact that we have now had the Iranian nuclear program, under consideration in the board of governors for six meetings, extending over a period of 18 months, the board has not yet come to the conclusion that Iran should be referred to the [U.N.] Security Council,” he said.

Mr. Bolton said that according to IAEA statutes, it had a mandatory responsibility to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for violating nuclear safeguards.

“There’s no doubt that there are legitimate questions about what Iran is up to,” he said.

He said some diplomats fear that simply referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council is tantamount to punishment. He flatly denied that.

“We’re talking about discussions in the Security Council chamber. Not the Star Chamber,” he said. “We don’t have whips and chains around the side of it. We don’t have permanent representatives stretched out on racks. We don’t have thumbscrews for foreign ministers. We’re talking about the Security Council.”

Mr. Bolton said that even if Iran were referred, there is a question among U.S. policy-makers regarding the U.N.’s ability to act.

“Are we looking at another situation analogous to the Cold War, where the Security Council is gridlocked?” he asked.

For that reason, he said the United States is participating in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), “which is, like the IAEA and the Security Council, a multilateral effort.”

He called the October 2003 interdiction of the ship, the BBC China, which was bearing a cargo of uranium centrifuge equipment, ultimately destined for Libya, a PSI success he could discuss in public.

He explained, “There are alternatives that are out there that are fully multilateral; that involve close cooperation among many nations, not undertaken unilaterally by the United States, that could have and should have and will have a dramatic effect on proliferation.

“Note that our policy with respect to Iran and North Korea is resolutely multilateral, all across the board,” he said.

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