Iran Calls on Nuclear Powers to Scrap Their Arsenals, Says Disarmament a ‘Moral Responsibility’

CC BY 2.0 / Flickr/Mark Mauno / Titan II was the longest-serving ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) in the US Air Force strategic arsenal
Titan II was the longest-serving ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) in the US Air Force strategic arsenal - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.09.2021
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The Islamic Republic has repeatedly emphasized that it has no plans to build nuclear weapons – or weapons of mass destruction of any kind, and eliminated its stocks of chemical weapons in the 1990s. Both of the country’s successive supreme leaders have issued religious rulings suggesting nuclear arms are contrary to the tenants of Islam.
Iran has called on the world’s nuclear powers to live up to their moral and legal obligations to disarm.
“Achieving global nuclear disarmament and eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons is a legal, political and moral responsibility for all states, and the nuclear weapon states, in particular,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Reza Najafi said, speaking at the United Nations Tuesday.
Blasting the United States for its “aggressive” nuclear policy, and criticising Washington and other nuclear powers for their efforts to “not only modernise but also strengthen their nuclear arsenals,” Najafi suggested that such efforts constituted a “gross violation of the spirit and letter” of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, specifically Article VI.
Article VI of the NPT obliges all parties to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament,” and the creation of a “treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
Nuclear explosion - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.09.2021
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Najafi called on NPT members to agree to “concrete decisions” for disarmament at the upcoming NPT Review Conference - scheduled to take place next year, and urged the international community to pay closer attention to Israel and Saudi Arabia over their alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Accusing Tel Aviv of threatening peace and security in the Middle East and beyond with its clandestine nuclear programme, Najafi encouraged the international community to invite the country to join the NPT immediately and place its nuclear activities under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Israel neither admits nor denies its nuclear weapons status, but is alleged to have a nuclear arsenal consisting of between 80 and 400 warheads.
Saudi Arabia, should also have its nuclear activities placed under the auspices of the IAEA, according to Najafi.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al Saud accused Iran of violating the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, and called on the international community to ‘assume its responsibilities’ in responding to these violations, and to Iran’s alleged escalation of nuclear research and development activities.
Najafi dismissed the claims as “baseless,” and pointed to Riyadh’s refusal to allow the IAEA to engage in monitoring and verification work related to the sheikdom’s nuclear activities, which Saudi authorities maintain are peaceful in nature. Najafi urged the international community to “halt” any nuclear assistance to Riyadh, suggesting that doing so would be “the only way that can alleviate these concerns about Saudi Arabia.”
In this photo released on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a missile is launched in a drill in Iran. Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard conducted a drill Saturday launching anti-warship ballistic missiles at a simulated target in the Indian Ocean, state television reported, amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program and a U.S. pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic. - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.09.2021
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Nuclear Tensions
Iran cooperates with the IAEA and allows the nuclear watchdog to monitor its peaceful nuclear activities. However, such monitoring occasionally runs into back-and-forth recriminations and allegations by the IAEA that Tehran is not allowing monitor to proceed in full. Earlier this week, the watchdog complained that it had not been granted access to surveillance cameras at the centrifuge assembly facility in Karaj, northern Iran. Iranian officials say lack of access is related to the country’s security forces’ ongoing investigation of a sabotage attack against the plant in June.
Last week, after announcing that it plans to return to JCPOA negotiations in the near future, Iran accused the Biden administration of sending a “negative signal” to Tehran by failing to facilitate new talks, and keeping the crushing sanctions imposed by its predecessor in place.
Iran suspended the implementation of its obligations on uranium enrichment and stockpiling in 2019, exactly one year after the Trump administration unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA and slapped Tehran with sanctions intended to destroy its economy and bring oil exports down “to zero.” After Joe Biden became president, Iranian and US negotiators have held several rounds of talks on restarting the JCPOA. Talks hit a wall after both sides refused to take the first steps to get out of the diplomatic deadlock. Tehran has stressed that Washington’s sanctions are illegal, and must be lifted before Iran returns to its uranium stockpiling and enrichment commitments. The US side, meanwhile, says the Islamic Republic should reduce its enrichment first, and has proposed adding a line into the JCPOA to account for Tehran’s conventional missile programmes and its activities in the region. Iranian officials have categorically rejected these demands.
The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria May 23, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.09.2021
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