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CND peace campaigner says West tactics on Iran 'counter-prod uctive'

London, Feb 7, IRNA-Veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent says that the nuclear power states should first put their own houses in order regarding their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) rather than driving Iran 'into a corner'.

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"If we are really anxious not to have nuclear weapons in Iran, the first thing is to call an international conference on abolishing all nuclear weapons, including Israeli nuclear weapons," said Kent, the vice president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

He said that the importance of focusing on Israel's illegal arsenal was 'because it is a factor in the Middle East that is not talked about but is very important one'.

In an interview with IRNA, the 75-year-old peace campaigner warned against the US-led strategy of singling out Iran's nuclear program and the dangers that it was undermining the landmark Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"I think the behavior of the IAEA and the Western powers really in pushing Iran into a corner is actually counterproductive. If you push anyone into a corner they will resist and fight back. I think the tactics are quite the wrong tactics," he said.

Kent said, "Iran is entitled by the treaty to go full 100 percent for nuclear energy including enrichment" and that trying to take the case to the United nations was wrongly directed.

"The treaty is not being violated by Iran," he said. If there was any possible case about provisional agreement, the matter should go 'to International Court of Justice for arbitration', he insisted.

"You don't have to go to the Security Council." The former priest and president of the International Peace Bureau suggested that it would be the fault of Western powers and be a 'very great mistake' if the campaign against Iran led to the collapse of the NPT.

"The main culpability of losing NPT in my opinion is the behavior of the five existing traditional nuclear powers because they have ignored article six of that treaty that calls for negotiations for the abolition of nuclear weapons," he warned.

"They have done negotiations but never with abolition in mind in fact we are making more nuclear weapons here, the Americans, the Russians, the French, the Chinese are probably the same," Kent said.

"I think the biggest sin is with the great powers. I don't understand how Britain can tell Iranians not to have nuclear weapons when we are determined to have them," he said.

CND, one of Europe's oldest and largest peace movements, has issued repeated warnings for more than a year against the folly of threatening military action against Iran.

Kent, who was born in London in 1929, served as an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment before studying Law at Oxford University. His involvement with CND began after he was ordained as a Catholic priest, serving as general secretary and chair from 1980 and 1990.

CND calls IAEA decision 'disappointing' and 'dangerous'

Press Release by CND, February 6, 2006

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today expressed regret at the IAEA's decision to report Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme. This decision has already led Iran to announce its withdrawal from voluntary participation in the Additional Protocols to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran signed the Protocol in 2003 but it has not yet been ratified. Nevertheless, Iran has been allowing inspections to a level as high as those that would be applicable if the Additional Protocols were in force in Iran. These voluntary measures included snap inspections of nuclear facilities by IAEA inspectors. This level of cooperation will now cease and only those measures required under the NPT itself will now be in operation.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, "Reporting Iran to the Security Council is a disappointing step backwards in nuclear non-proliferation. Already as a result we have seen Iran withdraw from voluntary confidence-building measures, such as compliance with the Additional Protocol. This can only lead to an escalation of tension, and there has already been a dangerous increase on all sides of threatening statements and talk of military action."

She continued, "Peace in the Middle East will only be achieved when all nuclear weapon states throughout the world begin to comply with Article VI of the NPT, Britain included. Britain's own likely nuclear proliferation - the Trident Replacement - sets a bad example to other states and will not discourage nuclear proliferation. Additionally, all states in the Middle East, including Israel and Iran, must give their full support to UN resolutions requiring a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East. This would make a significant contribution to the prospects for peace in the Middle East."

... Payvand News - 2/8/06 ... --

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