By Eileen Fleming
(Washington/New York)—On Monday Iran led the call by non-aligned nations for Israel to give up its nuclear weapons as the 2015 NPT Review Conference got underway.
Israel’s Negev Nuclear Research Center, Dimona. Photo by Reuters / Haaretz Archive
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted that the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is demanding that “Israel, the only one in the region that has neither joined the NPT nor declared its intention to do so, (…) renounce possession of nuclear weapons” adding the non-aligned nations are seeking “as a matter of high priority” to set up a nuclear-free-weapons zone in the Middle East.
Now through May 22, diplomats from the members of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and hundreds of nongovernmental organizations will be at the United Nations seeking to advance prospects for a nuclear-free world.
Over the past 45 years, NPT Article VI commited the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China to end their arms race, stop nuclear testing, and achieve nuclear disarmament.
Today four additional countries: India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea also possess nuclear weapons.
The goal of the 2015 NPT Review Conference is to provide:
opportunity for the treaty’s members to adopt a balanced, forward-looking action plan to improve nuclear safeguards, guard against treaty withdrawal, accelerate progress on disarmament, and address regional nuclear proliferation challenges [and] will likely reveal tensions regarding the implementation of some of 65 key commitments in the action plan agreed to at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
There is widespread frustration with the slow pace of achieving the nuclear disarmament goals of Article VI of the NPT and the lack of agreement among NPT parties on how best to advance nuclear disarmament…
In 2010, states parties decided to convene a conference on a Middle East zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, but key states, including Egypt (an NPT state party) and Israel (not an NPT state party), have failed to meet directly to agree on an agenda and to schedule the conference.
The issue could lead to some of the most heated rhetoric at the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
In solidarity with raising some heat I repeat what I wrote in The Vanunu Legend:
In May 2014, a top Iranian diplomat reiterated his country’s call for a halt to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Hamid Baeedinejad, the director general for political and international affairs at Iran’s foreign ministry addressed the third Preparatory Committee of the NPT Review Conference in New York noting:
Despite the approval of the whole NPT members and the international community’s serious call to hold the 2012 conference on the establishment of nuke-free zone in the Middle East, the Zionist regime has disapproved of the conference.
The Obama Administration also disapproved of that conference.
However, Israeli citizens of conscience called, “If Israel won’t come to Helsinki, Helsinki will come to Israel” and acted in lieu of the derailed Helsinki conference with one in Israel!
From December 5-6, 2013, current and former Israeli parliamentarians, local and international peace and human rights activists met in Haifa to call for a zone free of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and called for a world free of nuclear weapons.
The people powered Haifa Conference called for the prompt convening of the Helsinki Conference to create a WMD-free zone that was unanimously mandated by the NPT Review Conference at the United Nations in 2010 and 2013; and the General Assembly of the UN reaffirmed it in Dec. 2013.
The members of the Haifa coalition called for the end of Israel’s nuclear apartheid citing two options: nuclear weapons for all or a complete WMD disarmament in the region.
The Haifa coalition also addressed the essentials for achieving a just and lasting peace: end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories.
They also called for equal participation of women at all levels of discussion, advocacy and diplomacy in implementation of these demands.
This woman invites all to read more about The Fierce Urgency of All Things Nuclear
In his message to the 2015 NPT Review Conference President Obama stated:
As I said in Berlin in 2013, we may no longer live in fear of global annihilation, but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe…
We continue to lead efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and reduce the role and number of our own, and we are dedicated to global efforts preventing proliferation…
Over the next few weeks and beyond the time of this conference, let us come together in a spirit of partnership to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, advance the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and continue our journey on the path to peace and security.
In his Remarks at the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, Secretary of State John Kerry said:
I am pleased to stand here today representing a President and an Administration that is committed to the vision of a world without nuclear weapons and to taking the prudent actions that are necessary to one day make that possible…because few things are more threatening to the ideals of the UN and to peace and security on our planet than the spread of nuclear weapons.
The vast majority of the world has come to the conclusion – united around the belief that nuclear weapons should…be eliminated – that as President Obama said in Prague, moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon.
Can we really create a future in which nuclear weapons exist only within the pages of history books? The answer is yes…[If] you realize that it embraces a notion of change in how we resolve conflicts, in how we think, in how we conduct our daily global affairs.
So the answer is yes, but the journey will be a long one. And it will take patience, cooperation, and persistence to complete…
And that means that the world has to remain united in rejecting the proliferation of nuclear weapons anywhere…
We also remain firmly committed to holding the proposed conference on a regional zone in the Middle East, free of all weapons of mass destruction.
There is no prospect for a secure peace in the Middle East until D.C., Tel Aviv and The Media fully end Israel’s Nuclear Deceptions!
Israel is expected to attend Tuesday’s conference opening as an observer for the first time in 20 years.
A senior Israeli official said that the Israeli decision to attend was meant to demonstrate Israel’s positive attitude and to clarify that it is the Arab countries that are blocking progress toward convening a conference on a nuclear weapons-free Middle East.
The senior official said: “We hope that following our move, the Arab countries will make a similarly positive move and support direct talks with Israel on the security situation in the Middle East.”
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