(VOA Editorial)  (490)
(Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America October 9,
reflecting the views of the U.S. government.)

With the end of the Cold War, the threat to world peace has diminished.
Unfortunately, there are still potentially aggressive regimes in several
countries.  Some of the most dangerous are those identified by the United
States as state sponsors of international terrorism, including Iran.

Under U.S. law, American companies are prohibited from selling many items to
state sponsors of terrorism.  Among other things, these countries may not
acquire U.S.-made weapons or other items that could be used in the
development of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or ballistic
missiles.  The United States also urges other countries not to sell such
items to state sponsors of terrorism.

Unfortunately, some countries continue to sell weapons and sensitive
technology to Iran.  Recently, Russian officials confirmed the sale of
submarines to Iran.  The United States considers the sale of submarines to
be destabilizing to the volatile Persian Gulf region.

U.S. officials also spoke out last month when the Chinese government
announced plans to help Iran build a nuclear power plant.  It has been the
U.S. view for some time that any nuclear cooperation with Iran, even for
peaceful purposes, is highly imprudent and should be avoided.  The Iranian
regime's conduct in recent years has raised serious questions about whether
it can be trusted to live up to its commitments under the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty.  This conduct includes statements by high-ranking
Iranian officials in support of acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

As Robert Gates, director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, told
members of Congress earlier this year, Iran has been engaged in a
significant military buildup.  This buildup has included the purchase of
advanced warplanes and anti-aircraft missiles from Russia and China, and
the purchase of extended-range Scud missiles from North Korea.

The United States and other countries are particularly concerned about the
Iranian regime's arms buildup because of Iran's aggressive behavior in
recent years, as well as its continuing support of terrorism.  One of the
most ruthless terrorist groups supported by Iran is Hizbollah.  Based in
the Syrian-occupied Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, Hizbollah has engaged in
numerous acts of terrorism against Americans and citizens of many other
countries, both in the Middle East and in other parts of the world.
Hizbollah is the leading suspect in the terrorist bombing of the Israeli
embassy in Buenos Aires earlier this year.  The bombing claimed the lives
of more than two dozen people.

It is clearly not in the interests of world peace to be selling weapons or
1he means to produce them to such state sponsors of terrorism as Iran.  The
United States will continue its efforts to persuade all countries to
refrain from cooperating in Iran's military buildup.