Condoleezza Rice revealed in a speech yesterday that a consortium of nations, including the US, stopped nuclear material from reaching Iran as well as other rogue nations over the last nine months. The participating nations of the Proliferation Security Initiative have quietly cooperated on eleven interdictions during that time, at least one of those directly involving Teheran:
The U.S. and its allies in a program to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction prevented Iran from obtaining material for its nuclear weapons program within the past nine months, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.
“The trans-shipment of material and equipment bound for ballistic missile programs in countries of concern, including Iran” was blocked as was the transfer of “equipment used to produce propellant” to a “ballistic missile program in another region” of the world, Rice said. …
Rice gave no details but said that the U.S. and 10 of its partners in the initiative have cooperated on 11 successful interdiction efforts over the past nine months. Iran was the only nation interdicted that she cited by name.
“PSI partners, working at times with others, have prevented Iran from procuring goods to support its missile and WMD programs, including its nuclear program,” she said at the State Department in Washington.
Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Stephen Rademaker said the U.S. is withholding details of the interdictions to ensure continued cooperation from countries that do not want their participation made public.
This announcement puts even more pressure on the EU-3 to contain the nuclear threat that Iran represents. If Iran has attempted to import banned technology, it demonstrates a desire to turn its so-called peaceful nuclear energy program into something more sinister. And notice that Iran, who must have expected that shipment to arrive, never publicly demanded its release once held up. Those who believe that Iran needs such a program when it sits on top of one of the world’s largest oil reserves should rethink their position in light of this news.
Many people still believe that the war in Iraq provides a distraction from other (and arguably more) important global security issues. Perhaps it does for them, but the Bush administration once again appears more than capable of dealing with more than one strategy at a time.
UPDATE: Who was the man who made the diplomatic arrangments to get over 60 nations involved in PSI? Why … none other than that hardass meanie, John Bolton. Go figure. (h/t: The Kid)