AFP: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called on leaders to hold North Korea and Iran to account for their nuclear programs, warning they threatened to take the world down a "dangerous slope." UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called on leaders to hold North Korea and Iran to account for their nuclear programs, warning they threatened to take the world down a "dangerous slope."
Speaking before more than 120 world leaders, Obama renewed his pledge to work toward a world without nuclear weapons and said all nations would be less secure if some avoided international inspections.
"In their actions to date, the governments of North Korea and Iran threaten to take us down this dangerous slope," Obama said at UN headquarters in New York.
Obama, who has vowed a new era of US engagement, said he supported diplomacy with North Korea and Iran "that opens a path to greater prosperity and a more secure peace for both nations if they live up to their obligations."
"But if the governments of Iran and North Korea choose to ignore international standards, if they put the pursuit of nuclear weapons ahead of regional stability and the security and opportunity of their own people, if they are oblivious to the dangers of escalating nuclear arms races in both East Asia and the Middle East — then they must be held accountable," he said.
"The world must stand together to demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise, and that treaties will be enforced. We must insist that the future not belong to fear," he said.
North Korea earlier this year carried out a second nuclear test and bolted from a six-nation disarmament accord.
Western nations have also been seeking to engage Iran, which is accused of developing nuclear weapons.