Goal: a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of actual and potential weapons of mass destruction

Dr David Lowry Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Resource and Security Studies, Cambridge, MA, US, noted a serious omission in the Financial Times recently.

He pointed out that a recent article  about Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation on Iran’s alleged covert nuclear weapons programme did not mention that Israel is a nuclear-armed state, with analysts claiming it has 200 operational nuclear weapons.(“‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display”).

In April the US issued a working paper to the preparatory committee for the review conference of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) in Geneva. The seven-page paper asserts: “Over the course of recent decades, a number of regional States, including Iraq, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Libya and the Syrian Arab Republic, have all pursued undeclared weapons of mass destruction-related programs and activities, in violation of arms control obligation.”

It omitted to mention Israel, the only nation in the region possessing nuclear weapons, which refuses to join the NPT.

The Trump administration argues that a regional WMD-free zone would best be achieved outside the auspices of the NPT. Such an initiative was floated nearly 10 years ago in a Paris Summit of Mediterranean countries under the co-presidency of France and Egypt and in the presence of Israel, represented by then PM Ehud Olmert.

Signed by Mr Olmert, it concluded supporting “regional security by acting in favor of nuclear, chemical and biological non-proliferation through adherence to and compliance with a combination of international and regional nonproliferation regimes and arms control and disarmament agreements..” and added: “The parties shall pursue a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems.” (www.consilium.europa.eu)

Dr Lowry ends by presenting this agreement as one on which all parties, Iran included, could build constructively.






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