TEHRAN, IRAN (June 19)—The U.S. military's long search for weapons of mass destruction ended Wednesday when state officials in North Korea and Iran admitted to having nuclear-weapons programs.
"Our uranium-enrichment program is part of our plan to make Iran a nuclear state," Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharazi said. "The U.S. wishes to remove nuclear capabilities from our hands as a way of achieving their ultimate goal: the collapse of the ruling Islamic establishment."
North Korean Vice-Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sum said North Korea resumed its plutonium-reprocessing program as a part of its plan to produce nuclear weapons.
"The United States is correct: Weapons of mass destruction are falling into the hands of their enemies," Paek said. "My country has been reprocessing plutonium ever since the U.S. withdrew from an aid agreement after accusing North Korea of enriching uranium. Consider the situation highly destabilized."
Paek's statements echoed those of Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the IAEA, who said several months ago that he believed North Korea may have built between four and six nuclear bombs.
Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed relief that the long and difficult hunt for WMDs is finally over.
"These discoveries show us that the U.S. was right all along—dangerous nations do harbor nuclear intentions," Powell said. "Given our suspicions that hardline elements within the Iranian regime were in league with senior al-Qaeda officials, the invasion of Iraq has finally been vindicated."