Existence of nuclear weapons is world’s greatest challenge: Salehi

March 2, 2011 - 0:0

TEHRAN/GENEVA - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has said that the greatest challenge facing the international community is the existence of nuclear weapons.

Salehi made the remarks in Geneva on Tuesday during an address at a meeting of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, which opened on January 24 and runs until April 1.
Salehi stated that nuclear disarmament must be a top priority for all members of the UN Conference on Disarmament.
The UN Conference on Disarmament, the world’s sole multinational negotiating forum for disarmament, is comprised of 65 member states, including Iran, the United States, Britain, Brazil, and Turkey.
Salehi lamented that four decades have passed since the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty came into force but no tangible progress has been made in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
He said a handful of countries posses a combined nuclear arsenal of 23,000 warheads, most of which have a destructive power greater than the atomic bombs dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945 during World War II.
The Iranian foreign minister also urged the UN Conference on Disarmament to adopt a convention imposing a total ban on the production, possession, and use of nuclear weapons.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Salehi stated that Iran’s nuclear activities are meant for peaceful purposes and the country is abiding by its NPT commitments.
And the Islamic Republic is determined to defend its right to access to civilian nuclear technology, he added.
Salehi also said that equal attention should be paid to addressing the pillars of the NPT, namely non-proliferation, disarmament, and access to civilian nuclear technology.