Bush opposes nuclear weapons inspections

31 July 2004, Dafna Linzer, The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — In a shift of U.S. policy, the Bush administration announced this week that it will oppose provisions for inspections and verification as part of an international treaty that would ban production of nuclear-weapons materials.

For several years the United States and other nations have been pursuing the treaty, which would ban new production by any state of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons. At U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva this week, the Bush administration told other nations it still supported a treaty, but not verification.

The planned treaty wouldn't affect existing stockpiles or production for non-weapons purposes, such as energy or medical research. Mainly, it was designed to impose restraints on India, Pakistan and Israel, whose nuclear programs operate outside the reach of Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty inspectors.

Administration officials said they made the decision after concluding such a system would cost too much, require overly intrusive inspections and wouldn't guarantee compliance with the treaty.

Administration officials declined to explain in detail how they believed U.S. security would be harmed by creating a plan to monitor the treaty.

Arms-control specialists reacted negatively, saying the change in U.S. position will dramatically weaken any treaty and make it harder to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists.

For Comments on the article by Digby (!) at Hullabaloo:

Administration now opposes inspections as part of nuclear treaty

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