White House: Iran, North Korea remain of "axis of evil"

Other News Materials 22 July 2008 04:04 (UTC +04:00)

Iran and North Korea remain part of the "axis of evil" despite diplomatic overtures by the United States aimed at resolving disputes over both regime's nuclear programmes, the White House said Monday.

"Until they give up their nuclear weapons programmes completely and verifiably, I think that we would keep them in the same category," spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

US President George W Bush coined the phrase "axis of evil" during his 2002 State of the Union address to character the two countries along with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, all of which had links to terrorism while being suspected of pursuing weapons of mass destruction. Over the years, US officials have stopped using the terminology.

North Korea has agreed to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme after Washington pledged to remove Pyongyang from a terrorism blacklist and to foster better economic and diplomatic relations with the recluse communist state.

The dispute with Iran remains at a stalemate, as the Islamic state refuses to comply with UN Security Council demands to halt uranium enrichment.

Seeking to break the impasse, the US government sent a senior diplomat on an EU delegation to meet with the Iranians on Saturday in Geneva. It was the highest-level diplomatic exchange with Iran in nearly 30 years, dpa reported.