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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 September 29 - October 5  > Denuclearization of Middle East: step toward a world without nuclear weapons
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2010 September 29 - October 5 [WORLD]

Denuclearization of Middle East: step toward a world without nuclear weapons

October 4, 2010
Establishment of nuclear-free zones where the development, stockpile, or use of nuclear weapons are banned is one of the concrete measures that can be used to achieve the abolition of such weapons. Nuclear-free zones have expanded to Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central Asia.

The NPT Review Conference in May agreed to hold an international conference in 2012 to address the possibility of building a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

US employs double standards

In the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in late September, a resolution was submitted calling on Israel to join the NPT and allow comprehensive inspections by the IAEA. However, it was voted down with 46 in favor and 51 opposed.

The resolution was strongly opposed by Israel and the United States. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, citing the breach of obligation by Iran and Syria to accept IAEA inspections, insisted that a statement to criticize Israel in particular should not be adopted. She even warned that adoption of such a resolution will discourage Israel from participating in the 2012 international conference and thus prevent its success.

Iran claims that its promotion of the uranium enrichment program is for peaceful purposes. It is a matter of course for Iran, an NPT member, to fulfill its obligation to prove that its nuclear development is for peaceful uses. However, the U.S. government undermines the NPT’s credibility by opposing a resolution to urge a nation allegedly possessing nuclear weapons to join the NPT while criticizing other NPT members’ breach of their obligation under the treaty. Countries in the Middle East and other regions are mounting their criticism against the use of a double-standard.

With effort to eliminate nuclear weapons

It should be duly noted that Iran and Syria have expressed their intention to support an international convention to ban nuclear weapons. Denuclearization of the Middle East must be pursued in connection with the effort to start international negotiations for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. Based on the international determination expressed in the final statement of the NPT Review Conference, the abolition of nuclear weapons must be strived for in order to achieve peace and security in the Middle East and the rest of the world.
- Akahata, October 4, 2010
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