Renewed Call for Nuclear Weapons-Free Mideast

Renewed Call for Nuclear Weapons-Free Mideast Renewed Call for Nuclear Weapons-Free Mideast

Ambassador to the United Nations Hossein Dehqani has described the need to create a nuclear arms-free zone in the Middle East as "urgent".

Speaking at the meeting of the United Nations Disarmament Commission on international security, Dehqani said, "Considering the threat imposed by Israel's nuclear weapons to the security of regional countries, it is necessary and urgent to establish a region free from nuclear weapons."

He referred to Israel as the "major obstacle" in the way of making the Middle East a region free from nuclear arms.

"As far as some countries define their military doctrine on the basis of obtaining security through nuclear weapons, the weapons remain a continuous source of threat to the entire humanity," he told UN ambassadors, the Mehr news agency reported on Thursday.  

He said, "These weapons are not built to be left on the shelf, but they are produced based on a strategy which permits their use under certain conditions."

The official said some countries which possess nuclear weapons are persistently defying their legal obligations based on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) leading to failure of efforts to implement nuclear disarmament initiatives.  

The UN ambassador added that nuclear-armed states have taken no serious action so far to fulfill their disarmament commitments, which is itself a source of serious concern.  

Dehqani said some countries apparently support nuclear disarmament efforts, but in practice they act in the opposite way, a fact which shows they are not only "irresponsible" but also "hypocrite".  

"It is necessary to raise non-compliance with nuclear disarmament (agreements) as a high-priority issue on the agenda of the next meeting of the commission to be held in New York next year to review the NPT," he commented.

"The establishment of a Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction is a major goal pursued by Iran and other peace-seeking states in the region," Dehqani said.

"All the regional states are well aware of the vicious and cruel nature of the Zionist regime and its leaders. Aggression, occupation, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity are just a few of the indivisible features of the Zionists who themselves possess nuclear weapons."

The diplomat stated that Israeli leaders' conduct runs counter to international norms.

He reiterated that "some elements" are trying to cast doubt on Iran's commitment to a peaceful nuclear program, adding Tehran has engaged in serious talks with the major powers over the past year to prove wrong the allegations concerning its nuclear work.

"Iran regards negotiations as the only means to solve the differences," he added.

"A comprehensive deal (between Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany) will bear fruitful results for all the parties involved and it is necessary for the negotiating partners to act on the basis of goodwill and take the realities into account," he asserted. The Middle East nuclear weapon free zone is a proposed agreement similar to other nuclear-weapon-free zones in other regions. Steps toward the establishment of such a zone which began in the 1960s led to a joint declaration by Egypt and Iran in 1974 which resulted in a General Assembly resolution, which was broadened in 1990 to cover weapons of mass destruction.