March 17th, 2010
07:31 PM ET

U.S. official: Iran's nuclear pursuits clouding talks

Iran's continued failure to comply with international mandates on its nuclear program is casting a shadow over the upcoming Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference, according to a top U.S. energy official.

Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman called the NPT the cornerstone of global non-proliferation efforts and said it is being "seriously challenged" by Iran's behavior.

"If the Non-Proliferation Treaty is not viewed as a useful mechanism ... then I think continued support of it will come increasingly into question," Poneman told an audience at a Washington think tank on Wednesday.

Poneman said governments signed the NPT out of self-interest and he predicted the restraints in the treaty will mean nothing to the nations surrounding Iran, if Iran develops nuclear weapons.

"If that calculated self-interest leads them to a different conclusion that the NPT no longer provides them the kind of protection that they thought, of a stable region in which they could prosper in peace without the need to consider those other kinds of weapons, than I think we're going to have some problems," said Poneman.

He cited a recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report which criticized Iran on a number of issues including its failure to provide adequate notification of its decision to enrich uranium at a higher level, and Iran's not satisfactorily responding to the IAEA's concerns about Iranian military involvement in its nuclear program.

Although the door to diplomatic engagement is not closed, Poneman said

President Barack Obama has made it clear the U.S. is turning its attention to developing a "significant regime of sanctions" to pressure Iran to meet its international obligations.

The United States and its allies have maintained Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons despite Iran's claim its program is for peaceful energy purposes.

The NPT review conference is scheduled for May.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Levend

    100% correct, so when do we ask Israel to dismantle their nukes? Thats the whole reason Iran wants to develop its own right? If not peaceful use of nuclear power if allowed, unless proof to the contrary is provided which no one has been able to provide yet is smell a WMD again oh wait that was burgers on the BBQ. India gets preferential treatment even though it snubbed its nose at the WMD. Didn't Bush threaten Iraq with nukes before the war, from what I remember NPT says something about countries with nukes not being allowed to threaten countries without it. When the policeman doesn't follow the law how can the rest of the community?
    Lets be consistent, you either have a rule for all or no rule for everyone.

    March 17, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • usanh

      Israel is not saying that Iran should be blown off the face of the earth. Iran is not surrounded by enemies that threaten its destruction constantly. How can you seriously compare the too. The only reason Iran syria libya is not in a war right now with Israel is because of there nuke capabilities.I mean cmon are we really supposed to let them build nukes after all the times the iranian President has said that Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth. Do you think he was just kidding or maybe he was trying to punk them. egt real

      June 9, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alex

    The hypocritical non-proliferation regime has become a politically driven tool in the hands of the United States to selectively "lay down the law" on weaker states. Why the fuss over Iran when Israel remains in a state of nuclear denial? And why does a member of the NPT like Iran get punished for seeking civilian enrichment technology, when India and its nuclear arsenal has chosen to remain outside the regime and challenge it overtly, gets a big reward from Washington instead? Furthermore, why expect compliance with Western preferences in the NPT if the major nuclear powers have been unable to honor their part of the deal and move decisively toward disarmament?

    March 18, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |