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Israeli Nuclear Weapons a Threat to Middle East

Israeli Nuclear Weapons a Threat to Middle EastIsraeli Nuclear Weapons a Threat to Middle East

Iran has called on the United Nations and the international community to force nuclear-armed Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, saying that that would indeed be crucial for sustainable peace and stability in the region.

It is believed that Israel had possessed an operational nuclear weapons capability by 1967, with the mass production of nuclear warheads occurring immediately after the Six-Day War. Although no official statistics exist, estimates of Israeli nuclear weapons range from 75 to as many as 400.

“Continued pressure on the Israeli regime to compel it to become a signatory to the NPT is one of the ways to maintain peace and security in the Middle East,” Kazem Gharib-Abadi, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international organizations in Vienna, said in a speech on Thursday.  

He made the call during the 62nd annual session of the IAEA general conference held in the Austrian capital from September 17 to 21.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy

The envoy said Israel's unsupervised atomic weapons program, which is a threat to the region and beyond, is a major obstacle to the creation of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons.  

The United Nations General Assembly first endorsed calls for the establishment of the Middle East nuclear weapon free zone in a resolution approved in December of 1974 following a proposal by Iran and Egypt.    

  UN Inaction

Gharib-Abadi said it is a matter of regret that the UN nuclear watchdog is being held hostage by Israel and has failed to bring its formidable nuclear activities under strict international supervision.  

“The UN's inaction and political games have only emboldened the Israeli regime and allowed it to continue its dangerous policies,” he added.  

Israel, which is widely believed to possess a sizeable nuclear arsenal, neither confirms nor denies having a nuclear arsenal.

Attempts to rid the Middle East of nuclear weapons should be coupled with practical measures toward global nuclear disarmament, the ambassador said, criticizing the slow progress in the process of eliminating nuclear arms across the world despite being one of the main goals of the international community.  

  Israeli Threats

Earlier on Thursday, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, Gholamali Khoshroo, asked the world body to condemn Israel's nuclear threats.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a visit to a secret Israeli atomic reactor in August to warn enemies that it has the means to destroy them, in what appeared to be a reference to its nuclear arsenal.    

"UN members should not turn a blind eye to these threats and must take firm action to eliminate all Israeli nuclear weapons," Khoshroo said in letters to the UN secretary general and the Security Council, Reuters reported.

He urged the UN to pressure Israel to join the NPT and bring its nuclear program under IAEA supervision.

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