|Iran reiterates call for nuclear weapons free Mideast||
TEHRAN – The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reiterated Tehran’s call for more global efforts to create a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East.
Reza Najafi made the remarks during his speech at the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York on Thursday.
According to Najafi, the proposal to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was first presented by Iran back in 1974, saying the suggestion enjoys the firm support of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the IAEA General Conference.
Najafi also suggested that the Review Conference and the Preparatory Committee take measures to compel the Israeli regime to join the treaty.
Israel is widely believed to be the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. It has refused to sign the NPT despite international pressure to do so.
“International efforts, over the past few decades, on making a Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone have failed simply because of the (possession of) nuclear weapons by the Israeli regime and its nuclear activities outside the framework of the IAEA Safeguards Agreement,” Najafi noted.
The Preparatory Committee is holding its third session from April 28 to May 9 at the United Nations Office in New York. This meeting is the third of three sessions that will be held prior to the 2015 Review Conference.
The purpose of the PrepCom is to prepare for the Review Conference in terms of assessing the implementation of each article of the NPT and facilitating discussion among states with a view to making recommendations to the Review Conference.
The NPT, which entered into force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely in 1995, requires that review conferences be held every five years. The treaty is regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. It was designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to further the goal of nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament, and to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, according to its website.
In relevant remarks on the opening of the conference, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, on behalf of NAM members, reiterated the demand for Israel to “renounce possession of nuclear weapons” and join the treaty without delay.
Natalegawa urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the United States, Britain, and Russia to convene a long-delayed international conference to promote a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
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