Iran calls for timetable to disarm

Published: Thursday 9th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Iran has accused Britain and the United Nations’ other nuclear-armed powers of failing to take concrete action to eliminate their stockpiles and called for talks to achieve disarmament by a target date.

Iran’s deputy UN ambassador Gholam Hossein Dehghani told the world body’s Disarmament Commission that “a comprehensive, binding, irreversible, verifiable” treaty was the most effective and practical way to eliminate nuclear weapons.

He accused the nuclear powers – the US, Russia, China, Britain and France – of promising nuclear disarmament, but making no significant progress.

Mr Dehghani’s speech came days after the announcement of a framework agreement between Iran and the five nuclear powers and Germany aimed at keeping Tehran from being able to develop a nuclear weapon. It has to be finalised by June 30.

The commission, which includes all 193 member states, is supposed to make recommendations in the field of disarmament, but has failed to make substantive proposals in the past decade.

Its three-week meeting is taking place ahead of the five-year review of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), the world’s single most important pact on nuclear arms, which begins on April 27.

The NPT is credited with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to dozens of nations since entering into force in 1970. It has done that via a grand global bargain: nations without nuclear weapons committed not to acquire them; those with them committed to move towards their elimination; and all endorsed everyone’s right to develop peaceful nuclear energy.

Mr Dehghani said that as a non-nuclear weapon state and NPT member, Iran believed it was time to end the incremental approach towards disarmament and to start negotiations with all nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states on a convention that would set a deadline for ridding the world of the warheads.

He noted that a proposal in 2013 by the Nonaligned Movement, which represents more than 100 developing countries, to start talks on a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention in the Conference on Disarmament gained wide support.

Russia said President Vladimir Putin had confirmed that Moscow was ready for a serious and substantive dialogue on nuclear disarmament.

But Olga Kuznetsova, a counsellor in Russia’s Foreign Ministry, warned in a speech on Tuesday that the US deployment of a global missile defence system could lead to the resumption of a nuclear arms race.

The only way to change the situation, she said, is for states that pursue anti-missile capabilities follow the “universal principle” of not trying to strengthen their security at the expense of the security of other states.

Ms Kuznetsova also warned that development of high-precision non-nuclear weapons threatened “strategic parity” between the two nuclear powers and could lead to “global destabilisation of (the) international situation in general.”

Chinese counsellor Sun Lei urged countries to “abandon Cold War mentality” and said those with the largest nuclear arsenals should be the first to make “drastic and substantive” cuts in their nuclear weapons.

Ukraine’s representative called for the urgent development of a binding agreement that would give assurances to countries without nuclear weapons that they will not be threatened by nuclear weapons. Pakistani ambassador Maleeha Lodhi echoed that call.

The United States said the negotiation of a treaty that would cap available fissile material “is the next logical step on the multilateral nuclear disarmament agenda”. John Bravaco said the US has not produced fissile material for nuclear weapons since 1989.

North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador An Myong Hun declared that “our nuclear forces are the life and soul of our nation” and would not be given up as long as nuclear threats remained in the world.

Published: Thursday 9th April 2015 by The News Editor

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