Nuclear Disarmament Top NAM Priority

Nuclear  Disarmament  Top NAM PriorityNuclear  Disarmament  Top NAM Priority

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said it is the top priority of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to pursue nuclear disarmament, stressing that nuclear weapons pose the greatest threat to international security.

"We in the Non-Aligned Movement consider nuclear disarmament as its highest priority and reiterate once again that the continued existence of nuclear weapons poses the greatest threat to humanity," Zarif said on behalf of NAM member states in his speech on Monday to 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at the UN Headquarters in New York.

He also said, "We remain extremely concerned at their possible use or threat of use and are convinced that their total elimination is the only absolute guarantee against such use or threat of use," according to a transcript of his remarks sent to Financial Tribune by the foreign ministry.

"The nuclear weapon states, in the 2010 NPT Review Conference, committed to accelerate concrete progress on the steps leading to nuclear disarmament, and to fulfilling their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty and their unequivocal undertakings to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals," he said, adding, "We express deep concern at the continued lack of progress in the implementation of nuclear disarmament obligations and commitments by the nuclear weapon states, which could undermine the object and purpose of the Treaty and the credibility of the non-proliferation regime."

***Plan of Action  

He also called for urgent negotiations to bring to a successful conclusion a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention, which includes a phased program and a specified time frame for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, saying NAM in this context has put forward a working paper entitled "elements for a plan of action for the elimination of nuclear weapons."    

He went on to say that the decision of some nuclear weapon states to modernize their stockpiles is a source of serious concern, adding that the modernization of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems undermines the reductions made so far.

"We call upon the nuclear weapon states to immediately cease their plans to further invest in modernizing and extending the life span of their nuclear weapons and related facilities."

Zarif also said NAM reaffirms its principled position on nuclear non-proliferation, emphasizing that proliferation concerns are best addressed through multilaterally negotiated comprehensive and nondiscriminatory agreements.

"Additional measures related to the safeguards shall not affect the rights of the non-nuclear weapon states parties to the Treaty," he noted.

The foreign minister said NAM member states emphasize the importance of full, effective and nondiscriminatory implementation of Article IV of NPT on "the inalienable right of all the parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination."

He said, "This constitutes one of the fundamental objectives of the Treaty and as stipulated in that Article, nothing in the Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting this inalienable right.   

"Each state party, in line with its national requirements and in accordance with the rights and obligations under the Treaty, has a sovereign right to define its national energy and fuel-cycle policies, including the inalienable right to develop, for peaceful purposes, a full national nuclear fuel-cycle."

In addition, he said concerns related to nuclear proliferation should not restrict the inalienable right of the state parties to NPT to access nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes.

***Nuke Free Mideast

Elsewhere, Zarif pointed to efforts to establish a nuclear weapons-free Middle East and said, "The heads of state or government of the Non-Aligned Movement, in their Tehran Summit Declaration of 2012, reiterated their support for the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East."

"They also called upon all parties concerned to take urgent and practical steps for the establishment of such a zone and, pending its establishment, demanded that Israel, the only one in the region that has neither joined the NPT nor declared its intention to do so, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons, to accede to the NPT without precondition and further delay, to place promptly all its nuclear facilities under IAEA full-scope safeguards and to conduct its nuclear related activities in conformity with the non-proliferation regime."

 "They expressed great concern over the acquisition of nuclear capability by Israel which poses a serious and continuing threat to the security of neighboring and other states, and condemned Israel for continuing to develop and stockpile nuclear arsenals."

In conclusion, Zarif underlined the need to "agree on a comprehensive, balanced and practical substantive outcome document, containing in particular clear time-bound undertakings by the nuclear weapon states to eliminate all their nuclear weapons and related delivery systems and infrastructure."