Studies and experiences gained during World War II have clearly proven that weapons of mass destruction are not only inhuman, but also inefficient and a world free of such weapons will be, no doubt, more stable and more secure.
Iran held an international conference on disarmament and nonproliferation on the basis of this notion on April 17-18, 2010.
The following interview has been conducted with Dr. Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, an international relations expert in this regard.
Q: What important obstacles exist on the way of nuclear disarmament?
A: Nuclear-weapon states constitute the most important obstacle on the way of nuclear disarmament. They do not intend to lose their nuclear arsenals. Therefore, they easily ignore nuclear disarmament which is a main pillar of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Even in a recent nuclear disarmament conference in Geneva, which is an international forum on disarmament treaties, Third World countries were enthusiastic about nuclear disarmament while nuclear-weapon states preferred to disregard it.
A periodical report on US nuclear policy, known as Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) which was released last week, has emphasized that Washington should keep its nuclear arsenal. Therefore, such states are the main obstacle on the way of nuclear disarmament.
Q: What practical approaches to nuclear disarmament exist?
A: One such approach is acceptance of nuclear disarmament by nuclear-weapon states for which legal mechanisms, including NPT, exist. Nuclear disarmament is a pillar of NPT with other pillars being nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and peaceful use of the nuclear energy. Nuclear powers, however, are not interested in disarmament and only underline the need for nonproliferation.
The United States and Russia are the world's biggest nuclear powers and they should shoulder the main responsibility for nuclear disarmament followed by other nuclear-weapon states.
On the other hand, Israel owns nuclear weapons, but is not member to any international legal arrangement on such weapons and, therefore, its nuclear arsenal should be included in discussions over any possible nuclear disarmament plan and countries developing nuclear weapons, especially the United States, should avoid use of double standards in this regard.
Q: Why nuclear-weapon states are not willing to give universal and legal guarantees to ban such weapons?
A: This is a good question. Generally speaking, such states do not easily give in to legal obligations because this would cause them remarkable restrictions. Therefore, nuclear-weapon states are not willing to issue such guarantees because they want to maintain their nuclear supremacy over other states.
Q: Can nuclear weapon, as an inhuman instrument, be used to create the balance of power?
A: During the Cold War, nuclear weapons were used to create balance of power, or more precisely, balance of fear, between superpowers.
Following the Cold War era, the situation has changed and, at present, they simply serve to spread panic, though this is not necessarily tantamount to balance of power in its classic sense. Of course, there is some kind of balance between strategic nuclear arms stockpiled by the United States and Russia, but this situation does not apply to other parts of the world.
Nuclear weapons owned by Israel in the Middle East do not represent balance of power because they cannot be considered part of the arsenal which is needed to make Israel feel secure. Up to this moment, such weapons have not been able to bring security to Israel.
Q: Why Israel is not dealt with seriously as a threat factor in the Middle East considering that it is not a member to the NPT?
A: The answer should be sought in Israel's
special relations with the United States, in particular, and with the rest of
the western world, in general. Although Israel is not a party to NPT, it owns
nuclear weapons. According to an agreement between the former Israeli prime
minister, Golda Meir, and the former US president, Richard Nixon, in late 1960s,
Israel has been prohibited from testing its nuclear weapons and, in return,
Washington will not pressure Tel Aviv to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The agreement is based on a common understanding both in Tel Aviv and Washington about special security situation of Israel and has served as a guiding light for US policies in this regard.
This agreement was actually meant to guarantee military and strategic superiority of Israel as the main US ally in the Middle East. Only in one instance, U.S. Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation called on Israel during the Third Preparatory Conference for parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York in 2009 to sign the NPT. Her remarks elicited furious reactions both in Tel Aviv and Washington and were construed as incompatible with the United States' traditional policy of silence in the face of Israel's nuclear weapons.
About Iran Review: Iran Review (www.iranreview.org) is the leading independent, non-governmental and non-partisan website - organization representing scientific and professional approaches towards Iran's political, economic, social, religious, and cultural affairs, its foreign policy, and regional and international issues within the framework of analysis and articles.
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