R E G I O N: Iran says US, Israel are the real nuclear threats
* Iranian ambassador to UN says US never had the intention to scrap its arsenals
UNITED NATIONS: The United States and Israel represent the real nuclear threat to the world, not Iran, Tehran’s chief envoy to the United Nations said on Friday after an abortive conference on controlling nuclear weapons.
Javad Zarif, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, said the United States never intended to scrap its nuclear arsenal, despite promising to eventually disarm when it signed the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the landmark arms control pact. Zarif, in an interview with Reuters, said Israel, which is widely believed to have nuclear weapons, was the threat to the Middle East region. “There is unanimity on the threat that is posed not only by Israeli nuclear weapons but by its aggressive policy (in general),” he said.
Washington is backing efforts by Britain, France and Germany to persuade Tehran to halt its nuclear fuel programme, which they fear may be intended to make atomic bombs. Iran denies this, insisting its programme is peaceful. Zarif dismissed as hollow US pledges in 1995 and 2000 reaffirming its commitment to scrap its nuclear arsenal. “The US never had any intention of living up to its commitments under Article 6 of the treaty,” he said.
In Article 6 of the NPT the five treaty signatories with nuclear weapons - Russia, the United States, France, Britain and China - agreed to eventually disarm.
Smoke screen: Zarif said US attacks on Iran’s nuclear programme were a “smoke screen to divert attention from its violations” that included a US willingness “to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.”
Every five years the 188 members of the NPT meet for a month to review the landmark treaty. The 2005 review ended on Friday without any agreement on how to improve the accord. Many delegates blamed both Washington and Tehran for what they described a failure of the conference to do anything.
Washington worked hard to prevent the conference - which works by consensus - from approving any documents that refer to its 1995 and 2000 pledges to disarm, while Iran blocked anything that referred to it as a proliferation threat and NPT violator.
The conference approved a document that merely listed the agenda and the participants.
Egypt also worked hard to prevent any substantive conclusion from the conference when it saw it had no chance of focusing criticism on Israel’s assumed atomic arsenal.
“Israel is the threat to the region,” he said. “It is one of the great ironies of our age that a country outside the framework of legality in the area of nonproliferation is one of the countries that is the most active participants against Iran,” he said. Like atomic-armed India and Pakistan, Israel has never signed the NPT. It neither admits nor denies having the bomb, Israel is estimated to have some 200 nuclear warheads. reuters