Iran Wants Genuine U.S. Opposition to Israel Nukes
7 May 09 | PTV
After an unexpected call by the US on Israel to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran emphasizes the need for taking practical steps.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad-Ali Hosseini, who represents Iran at the Preparatory Committee of the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York, both embraced and questioned the nuclear nonproliferation plans announced by the new US administration at the conference.
While describing President Barack Obama’s stance on pushing the world toward nuclear nonproliferation as containing “new aspects”, Hosseini questioned the truthfulness of such statements made by Washington.
Earlier on Tuesday in what appeared as a sharp reversal of policy toward Israel, Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller said Israel should join the NPT.
“Universal adherence to the NPT itself, including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea, … remains a fundamental objective of the United States,” she said.
The US president for his part said in his message to the meeting that “the United States believes that the NPT’s framework is sound; countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them, and all countries can have access to peaceful nuclear energy.”
Describing Washington as having frequent “changes of heart”, the Iranian diplomat said, “it is only natural for the international community not to be fully optimistic [about the remarks].”
He said that the international community is of the opinion that Washington “must take practical steps toward nuclear disarmament.”
“The halt of US cooperation with the Zionist regime could be regarded as a practical step,” Hosseini told IRNA on Wednesday.
“Any measure taken by the US regarding nuclear disarmament should be verifiable, irreversible and transparent,” Hosseini added.
Following the call by Washington, former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon’s chief strategist, Dov Weisglass, said Gottemoeller’s comments were very alarming.
“If these statements indicate a change in American policy on this issue, I believe this may be the most worrisome development for Israel’s security in many years,” he told the Army Radio.
Israel, the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, maintains a policy of ambiguity over the question of whether it has nuclear weapons and has so far refused to sign the NPT.
President Obama has made a pledge to “strengthen” the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by providing resources for international inspections and establishing “real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules or trying to leave the treaty without cause.”
A US Senate report says the Obama administration should exert a ‘right balance of pressure and opportunity’ to stop Iran’s nuclear activities.
The 11-page report submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday repeated US allegations that Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear arsenal — an accusation Tehran has categorically denied.
“At a minimum, one goal of the administration’s strategy on Iran should be to provide the right balance of pressure and opportunity to persuade the regime to agree not to take any further steps toward enhancing its capability to build a bomb and to accept strict verification standards,” investigators told the committee, which is led by Democratic Senator John Kerry.
The report, which underlined the need for diplomacy backed by the threat of tougher sanctions, comes while President Barack Obama plans to directly engage Iran.
“The ultimate solution to the conundrum of Iran’s nuclear ambitions is not technical, but political,” said the report, which collected findings from unclassified reports as well as from research in Austria — home to the UN nuclear watchdog agency — and Israel.
“Only a political decision by the country’s leaders is likely to prevent Iran from someday producing a nuclear weapon. And that decision is inherently reversible,” as long as Iran retains the ability to enrich uranium, it added.
Kerry said on Wednesday that Washington no longer sought a ‘regime change’ in Iran, urging the country to begin engagement with the US.
Iranian officials have described a real shift in US foreign policy toward Iran as a key to successful talks, saying the Obama administration should change previous attitudes and reverse the past policies if it seeks any negotiations with Tehran.