Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
by Staff Writers
Vienna (AFP) Nov 26, 2012
A US announcement that a conference on a Middle East free of nuclear weapons cannot be held as foreseen is a "serious setback," Iran said Monday, accusing Washington of protecting Israel.
"The US cannot unilaterally decide for the sake of Israel to announce that the conference cannot be held. This is a very serious setback for the non-proliferation regime," Iran's ambassador to the UN atomic agency told AFP.
"In a nutshell the US has taken the Middle East nuclear-weapons-free zone hostage for the sake of Israel," said the envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh.
"It is clear now for us and the whole world that the US does not have genuine political will for a Middle East being free of weapons of mass destruction. It wants to continue Israel having a nuclear weapons capability, which is a threat to the Middle East and of course to international security."
The US State Department said Friday that the gathering, which a 2010 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference decided should take place, could not now happen in Finland before the end of the year.
The 2010 conference mandated the UN secretary general, the United States, Britain and Russia to appoint a facilitator, and in 2011 Finland was tasked with organising the conference.
The State Department said the decision was taken "against the backdrop of turmoil and dramatic political change taking place in the Middle East and Iran's continuing defiance of its international non-proliferation obligations."
UN leader Ban Ki-moon said Saturday that he was now aiming for the conference "to be convened at the earliest opportunity in 2013."
The US announcement was no surprise given that Israel refuses to confirm the widespread assumption among experts that it has nuclear weapons, or to sign the NPT, and while NPT-signatory Iran is suspected by many in the international community of seeking to also get the bomb.
Iran boycotted an earlier meeting a year ago in Vienna on creating such a zone, calling it "useless", but Soltanieh announced on November 6 that his country would attend the Helsinki gathering.
Israel had not yet said whether it would go, but the head of the country's nuclear agency said in September that the "current volatile and hostile" situation in the region was not "conducive" to the creation of such a zone.
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|