TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham has cautioned against the danger of Israel’s covert nuclear arms program and called on the international community to responsibly address the issue.
Her comments came after the members of the UN’s nuclear agency narrowly rejected a resolution calling on Israel to join a global treaty banning nuclear arms.
Following a lively debate at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s annual general conference on Friday, the measure was defeated by 51 votes against and 43 in favor with 32 abstentions, according to Al-Jazeera.
“The Western countries’ vote against the resolution on the Zionist regime at the agency’s general conference depicts that the double standard in dealing with weapons of mass destruction is still continuing,” she noted.
“Excluding the Zionist regime of Israel from laws and regulations on banning weapons of mass destruction will have negative impact on the non-proliferation of such a global threat,” she stated.
She reiterated Tehran’s position that Iran has taken an “explicit and clear stance on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the establishment of a Middle East region free of such arms.”
Afkham added that Israel has not joined any treaty on banning weapons of mass destruction and urged the international community to responsibly deal with it.
Israel is widely thought to have nuclear arms but has not confirmed so, and is not a signatory to the landmark Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
Although Israel is a member of the IAEA, it is not subject to its inspections except for at a small research facility.
According to Aljazeera, the resolution debated at the meeting of all 159 IAEA member states expressed “concern about Israeli nuclear capabilities and calls upon Israel to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards.”
In 2009, the same resolution was narrowly approved by members of the IAEA and in 2010 it was defeated only after intensive lobbying efforts by Western countries.
Oman’s ambassador Badr Mohamed Zaher al-Hinai, talking on behalf of Arab states at the IAEA, said that the proposed resolution “could resuscitate” efforts towards a nuclear-free Middle East.
Attacking the “double standards” of Western countries, he said allegations that other Middle East countries were seeking nuclear weapons are a “huge distortion of the facts”.
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