US to retain 90 nukes on Iran border
As Washington and Moscow sign a new arms
reduction treaty, skepticism arises in Turkey as to whether those cuts will
include US atomic warheads stored in the country.
A US B-2 bomber dropping a B61 thermonuclear bomb
US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev signed a
new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in Prague on Thursday, which
requires both sides to reduce their nuclear arsenals to 1,550, or about
one-third below current levels.
This is while the Obama administration has revised US policy on atomic weapons,
as part of a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that, among other things, is said
to be aimed at reducing the US stockpile.
But silence over anticipated US plans to withdraw nuclear bombs deployed in the
Incirlik Air Base in southern Anatolia, has left many speculating on whether
Washington has any intentions to remove the weapons at all.
When asked about a possible US move to withdraw its nuclear weapons from five
European countries, including Turkey, Turkey's Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said
that Ankara had no information about such plans.
"No information has been officially announced," Gonul told reporters on
The US has positioned a total of 200 B61 thermonuclear gravity bombs in Turkey,
Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany since the Cold War. Turkey is
believed to be hosting 90 bombs at Incirlik Air Base.
On April 2, The Times reported that the United States may remove tactical
nuclear weapons deployed in five NATO member European countries, including
However, the possibility of the White House seriously considering a decision to
withdraw the B61 gravity bombs seems unlikely, as it has not consulted Ankara on
the issue so far.
In the latest NPR, while the Obama Administration has reduced the threat of
using nuclear weapons against signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT), it has excluded NPT signatory Iran from threat reduction.
During the release of the current NPT today, the US Secretary of Defense Robert
Gates said, "the NPR has a very strong message for both Iran and North Korea,
because whether it's in declaratory policy or in other elements of the NPR, we
essentially carve out states like Iran and North Korea that are not in
compliance with NPT."
"Basically, all options are on the table when it comes to countries in that
category," he elaborated.
Washington, which accuses Iran of having the "intention" of developing nuclear
weapons, is leading a push for a fourth round of sanctions against Tehran at the
United Nations Security Council in a bid to hinder the nation's drive for a
nuclear energy program.
Iran, as a signatory of NPT, insists that it neither believes in atomic weapons,
nor, as a matter of religious principles, does it intend to acquire nuclear or
other weapons of mass-destruction.
... Payvand News - 04/10/10 ... --