Iran is fast becoming the centre of unwanted attention from the international community. Pro democracy protests continue in Tehran while across Europe, Iranian supporters of the People's Mujahideen Group have been setting themselves on fire - in Paris one woman died of her injuries.
The focus of the West's governments, however, is sharply on Iran's nuclear programme and US pressure via the International Atomic Energy Authority for increased inspections.
Iran insists it's only getting ready to generate electricity, the US says it's planning to create a new generation of nuclear weapons.
The Under Secretary for Arms Control and Security at the US State Department, John Bolton, flew in to London. Kirsty Wark met him at the American Embassy and began by asking him what he made of the Iranian response so far.
I think the Iranians have demonstrated a
pattern over the years of withholding
information, concealing their activities in the
nuclear field, all of which is consistent with
trying to hide a clandestine nuclear weapons
programme. The real issue here is not technical
violations of the safeguards agreement or the
non-proliferation treaty, important though
those are. The fact is the Iranians are pursuing
nuclear weapons. That makes them a danger to
the region and the world as a whole. So today's
chairman's summary at the IAEA is an
important first step in the IAEA's decision-
making progress, but we are much more
concerned about what is actually going on
What evidence do you have that they are
pursuing weapons of mass destruction?
The Iranians have activities throughout the
nuclear fuel cycle. They have a heavy water
production facility, that can only be used for a
heavy water-reactor, which is a fast way to
breed plutonium. They're mining uranium.
They only have one nuclear power plant. The
Russians are going to supply all of the fuel, so
there is no reason to be engaged in any of the
rest of this activity.
But what if they do sign up to the statement
and allow the additional protocols - what then?
If they allow that access, what will you do?
I think if they truly sign and fully implement
the additional protocol and give the IAEA
inspectors complete, unimpeded access, we
will simply see further proof that they are
pursuing nuclear weapons.
Then I think it would be up to the IAEA board
to refer the matter to the Security Council and
for the United States, the other nuclear
weapons states, to take action.
What kind of action?
I think some of the things we are doing right
now, to deny the Iranians access to the
technology they need throughout their nuclear
fuel cycle, and to alert people that they are
pursuing nuclear weapons.
So, just to be quite clear about this, no matter
whether or not the Iranians allow additional
access and additional inspections, as far as you
are concerned, if those inspections yield
nothing, they are still on the axis of evil?
The information we have, about which we
have a high degree of confidence is that the
Iranians are pursuing nuclear weapons. And I
might say they are also pursuing a vigorous
programme in ballistic missiles, increasing the
range that they have, in making themselves a
broader and broader problem.
So is there a possibility that you would take
military action in Iran if necessary?
No. The obvious intent here is to get a
peaceful solution to the problem, but the
problem is the Iranian nuclear weapons
But do you rule out military intervention?
We are nowhere close to even considering that.
But all options are obviously on the table, as
the President has said repeatedly, and there
must be, to provide a strong deterrent to those
who might otherwise seek nuclear weapons.
But when you use language like, "they
definitely have weapons of mass destruction"...
No I said "they're definitely pursuing a nuclear
weapons programme". We judge at this point
they don't have the weapons, but they are
actively pursuing them.
But if in your judgement, in the United States'
judgement, they continue this pursuit, and
show no signs of agreeing to your demands,
and if indeed you think they are going to still
be supplied with the parts for this programme,
how do you stop them?
Well, one thing that we have already begun,
based on the President's speech in Krakow,
Poland on May 31st, the Proliferation Security
Initiative, is to begin to interdict shipments of
components for a nuclear weapons programme
at sea, in the air and on land. We are working
on that right now. We had a meeting in Madrid
last week with ten other countries, all of which
signed up to the idea of going after weapons of
mass destruction shipments in international
You can see how to some people this sounds
belligerent, it sounds as if you are preparing
the ground for possible military intervention?
Well, I think the first thing you have to keep in
mind is that nuclear weapons are very
dangerous. And countries that possess nuclear
weapons and countries that possess ballistic
missiles have the ability to blackmail the rest
of us and work their will in a way that we
simply cannot find acceptable. The choice in
this case is for Iran. Iran can adhere to its
international treaty obligations and give up the
pursuit of nuclear weapons, then it would be
accepted back into the international
Is the American goal regime change in Iran?
The American goal on what I work on is the
elimination of Iran's nuclear weapons
programme. I think the President has spoken
very eloquently to the importance of true
democracy coming to Iran, of having the
people having a real chance to live in freedom.
What I'm concerned about, and what I'm
focused on, and what the IAEA today took a
very important step toward, is stopping the
Iranian nuclear weapons programme.
But if in the end, and it may be a very long
way down the road, then military action was
considered, in Iraq at the moment, America is
losing at least a soldier a day. There is no sign
of soldiers coming home. Is there an appetite
for continuing in Iraq, never mind the
possibility of starting a further military
campaign in Iran?
I think in Iraq our objective is quite clear. That
is to turn responsibility for governing the
country over to Iraqis as soon as possible. It
was never our intention to have a long
occupation. We are not an imperialist power.
What we were after was the elimination of
Saddam Hussein's regime, and the elimination
of Iraq's WMD programme. We are well on
the way on both of those. The burden is on us
to give authority back to the Iraqi people. But
we start from a very low base, decades of
Ba'ath Party totalitarianism. So it's not for
want of desiring to get authority back into the
hands of the Iraqi people that this is taking
longer than we expected, but we are working
as best as we can under the circumstances.
But briefly would there be an appetite for
further military intervention by Americans in
Americans don't have an appetite for any
military intervention. What we seek though is
the elimination of weapons programmes that
threaten us and our friends and allies.
John Bolton, thank you very much ind
This transcript was produced from the teletext subtitles that are generated live for Newsnight. It has been checked against the programme as broadcast, however Newsnight can accept no responsibility for any factual inaccuracies. We will be happy to correct serious errors.