Washington: North Korea got a failing grade, with Iran and Syria not far behind, in the first nuclear arms control report card released by the independent, US-based Arms Control Association (ACA).
"North Korea, which has violated nearly every non-proliferation and disarmament standard over the past two years, warrants an overall grade of `F`," ACA executive director Daryl Kimball told reporters on Wednesday.
North Korea failed all but three of the 10 equally-weighted categories used to calculate the overall grade.
Pyongyang received a passing grade in three areas: reducing nuclear weapons alert levels, meeting multilateral nuclear security commitments, and honoring commitments to prevent nuclear terrorism and the trafficking of nuclear material.
But the grade it received in each of these three areas was a "D" -- just one step up from failing.
Iran and Syria, which don`t have nuclear arms but which are being investigated by international bodies for suspected nuclear weapons activities, failed to meet nuclear safeguard standards set by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which oversees all nuclear activities and facilities, including peaceful ones.
They also fell short on basic nuclear export controls, each earning a grade of "D."
Eight nuclear countries were also graded in the report, but none received a top mark of "A."
Britain, France and the United States got Bs, China and Russia got B-minuses; India got a C-plus, and Israel and Pakistan got C-minuses.
"India, Israel and Pakistan, the only three states never to have signed the non-proliferation treaty, earn grades in the "C" range, due largely to their policies on nuclear testing, their continued production of fissile material and the gradual increase of their nuclear forces," Kimball said.
The countries were graded on how committed they are to banning nuclear testing; their commitment to ending fissile material production for weapons; whether they have reduced nuclear alert levels, and the size of their nuclear arsenals; and whether they have pledged to not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.