Collective security and disarmament race have been the keywords of the Opening Meeting of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at the United Nations headquarters in New York, April 27.
For the first time in the past 20 years, Israel has attended the high-end meeting in hopes of fostering friendlier relations with the Arab Nations and Iran particularly. However, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mr. Mohammad Jamad Zarif seemed to not have met the friendly intentions of the Israeli officials.
Iran has been under strict economic sanctions imposed by the international community since 2006, when allegations of its nuclear program being used in military purposes reached the international forums. Despite its denial of these allegations and the interdiction for International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to look into the real purposes of the existing nuclear facilities, the Iranian official have always maintained their stance that the use of their nuclear program was only civilian.
It was only in 2015 that after long negotiations the P5 plus 1 group broke the ice with Iran’s officials and promised sanction relief in exchange for ensuring that the nature of Iran’s nuclear activities is entirely peaceful. To this end, a draft of a final nuclear accord is due by the end of June.
However, the stance of the Iranian Foreign Minister at the United Nations Opening Meeting has left many unturned from their initial understanding of the Iranian position on nuclear proliferation. Mr. Zarif stated that there should be no limits to the transfer of technology and know-how between the signatories of the NPT. This statement was made in the name of the Non-Aligned Movement.
At the same time he urged the nuclear weapon states to start the elimination of both technology and stocks in order to ensure credibility and the disarmament of the Middle East region in particular. He added that a simple reduction in warheads does not add to anything but an incentive for further armament races and fear mongering.
In this respect he was applauded by all the non-nuclear weapon states which over the years have complained that too little is done among the signatories of the NPT to truly relief the tensions and push forward the disarmament race.
Mr. Zarif also made a point referring to Israel’s assumed nuclear weapon stockpile. Israel is seen by many of the Non-Aligned Movement as a continuous threat to its neighbors and other states.
Against this background, the Israeli officials who took part as observers at the Opening Meeting on the NPT have had no remarks. It was neither confirmed nor denied that Israel is really in the possession of nuclear arsenal. The situation thus remains weary in what regards Israel’s role in the nuclear disarmament efforts, especially when taking into consideration that it is not a signatory of the NPT.
The Israeli official declared that Israel considered submitting to international nuclear inspections and controls only under the condition that it would reach full peace with Iran and other Arab states. Thus the emphasis seems to fall on protecting national security, rather than regional. Nevertheless, Israel is open to discussing common problems that the region is facing, as moderation and consensus are deemed a way forward.
Among these statements, the leader of the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called upon all signatories and observers “to abandon short-sighted political posturing and instead embrace a bold and global vision that meets the demands of humanity”.
Image Source: parliament.uk