Reuters: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that Iran and North Korea could spark regional arms races through their pursuit of nuclear programs, which she said threaten peace and stability around the world.
By Andrew Quinn
MANAMA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that Iran and North Korea could spark regional arms races through their pursuit of nuclear programs, which she said threaten peace and stability around the world.
Speaking in Bahrain where she is attending a security conference, Clinton said the entire region shared the U.S. concern over Iran’s nuclear aspirations and hoped Tehran would come to Geneva talks next week ready to negotiate.
“Perhaps the Iranians, with their return to the talks in Geneva starting Monday, will engage seriously with the international community on what is a concern shared by nations on every continent but most particularly right here in the region,” Clinton said.
Talks between Iran and six big powers — the United States, France, Russia, Britain, China and Germany — are due to resume next week in Geneva in the first such meeting in more than year.
Clinton, who will meet the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea in Washington on Monday to discuss mounting tension with North Korea, said the twin threats posed by Pyongyang and Tehran showed the need for international solidarity against nuclear proliferation.
“We’re all concerned about these two countries…(but) its not directed at the people of either country. It is a concern about decisions being made by the leaders of these countries that puts at risk the peace and stability of two regions in the world,” Clinton said.
The United States has no quarrel with Iran’s desire to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, she added.
“What we object to is the pursuit of nuclear weapons that can be used to threaten and intimidate their neighbors. It will spark arms races in both regions,” Clinton said.
Clinton said on Thursday that North Korea posed an “immediate threat” following its revelations of new nuclear facilities and an artillery attack on a South Korean island which sent tensions on the divided peninsula soaring.
(Reporting by Andrew Quinn; editing by Tim Pearce)