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Israel has no excuse to refrain from ratifying CTBT: UN

Press TV – January 29, 2016

A senior UN official says Israel is now left without an excuse to evade ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) after a nuclear deal between Iran and the West.

Lassina Zerbo, the executive secretary of the CTBT Organization, said with the implementation of the nuclear deal, Israel’s biggest pretext for refraining from ratifying the CTBT has been taken away.

He made the remarks to a week-long conference marking the 20th anniversary of the treaty being opened for signing in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty has 196 members but the treaty has not entered into force because it still needs ratification by nuclear-armed signatories such as the US, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Zerbo said Israel is “the closest” of the signatories to ratifying the treaty and assuring the world it will never conduct a nuclear test explosion.

That is because “the biggest threat for Israel is gone and over” after Iran reached a nuclear agreement with the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany in July, he said.

An open secret for decades, the Israeli atomic stockpile is estimated at some 200-400 warheads, though Israel refuses to confirm or deny its existence under a policy of deliberate ambiguity.

Israel is also refusing to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and denying international access to its atomic arsenal.

Zerbo said he is hoping to visit Israel and talk to its leaders although he doesn’t expect immediate results on ratification.

“I think that they’re the ones who can unlock what is stopping the CTBT from moving,” he said.

Zerbo is also hoping to visit Iran, which signed CTBT in 1996, to convince the country to ratify the treaty.

The Islamic Republic says its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity. The country is an NPT signatory and its nuclear facilities are open to regular UN inspections which have not found any diversion.

Zerbo, however, said if both Iran and Israel signed CTBT, it would “provide momentum — first for Egypt to ratify the CTBT and then to start negotiations for a nuclear test-free zone in the Middle East.”

“You can’t jump and get a weapon-free zone in the Middle East if the CTBT isn’t ratified,” he said.

Israel’s arsenal is the only obstacle to a Middle East free of nuclear weapons because no country possesses a nuclear arsenal in the region other than the Tel Aviv regime.

Zerbo also said China won’t ratify the CTBT before the US, India won’t ratify before China, and Pakistan won’t ratify before India. He also emphasized that US action is crucial in this regard.

He said North Korea is the least likely country to ratify the CTBT.

The UN official said the international community needs to change the way it engages with North Korea.

“What they need at this point in time is… maybe a bit of respect and dignity in the dialogue we have with them.”

January 29, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia slams US, NATO allies for violating NPT

Press TV – June 12, 2015

Russia has censured the United States and its NATO allies for “violating” the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by conducting nuclear planning and missions.

“The so-called joint nuclear missions practiced by the United States and their NATO allies are a serious violation of the said treaty,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Thursday.

The statement also called for the return of all US nuclear weapons to the country, a ban on nuclear warheads abroad and the dismantling of the technology that facilitates the use of nuclear weapons as well as abstaining from nuclear exercises.

Back in April, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Washington is breaching the NPT by deploying its nuclear weapons in Belgium, Italy, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.

Also in March, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich urged the US, as a NATO member, to withdraw its nuclear weapons from Europe, highlighting that their deployment on the continent violates the NPT.

“We have repeatedly drawn NATO’s attention to the fact that such practices directly run counter to the spirit and the letter of NPT,” he said on March 24.

The remarks came days after the US State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, claimed that “the deployment of US nuclear weapons on the territories of our NATO allies is consistent with the NPT.”

Under the article 1 of NPT, no country is allowed to transfer its nuclear weapons to other parties while article 2 of the treaty prohibits those countries lacking nuclear know-how from having access to nuclear weapons, Lukashevich stated, adding that the US deployment of nuclear arms in Europe infringes upon the terms of the agreement.

Washington-Moscow relations have become markedly tense in recent months. The US and NATO accuse the Kremlin of supporting pro-Russia forces in east Ukraine. Russia categorically denies the allegation, saying NATO’s presence near the Russian borders is responsible for the flare-up in the restive region.

June 12, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Some states have hijacked NPT in favor of Israel: Researcher

Press TV – April 28, 2015

Press TV has conducted an interview with Soraya Sepahpour Ulrich, an independent researcher and writer, in Irvine, to get her take on the stance of Iran and other countries over the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Mohammad Javad Zarif’s spokes of fairness and equity when it comes to the implementation of the NPT, has that been like that ever since this treaty came into effect?

Sepahpour: Regrettably, not at all and under the international law there ought to be no discrimination whatsoever. In fact, scholars have argued that the only time that discrimination if he wants to be called that is acceptable in international law is to elevate the status of a state to be on par with the rest. But right now as we said the international law has been hijacked and we see that powerful states are doling out favors to those that are pariah states, especially Israel in the region, and in fact, rewarding them for violating international law, while again themselves violating international law by not rendering assistance to those who are signatories to this treaty.

Press TV: How imperative is this for this NPT treaty to remain relevant to be able to bring Israel’s nukes under its control or supervision and also compel nations like the United States to clamp down on their own arsenals?

Sepahpour: I think if the former director general of the IAEA Mr. ElBaradei had listened to Mr. Zarif and perhaps he has, he would have applauded him. In 2004, Dr. ElBaradei, in fact, said that we need to talk seriously to Israel about its nuclear weapons whether it wants to admit to having them or not. And in fact, he called on a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. So, Mr. Zarif is right on the point in calling out, Israel is not a signatory to the NPT, is being rewarded for having nuclear weapons. And as far as the other states are not abiding by the NPT, again I’d like to quote Mohamed ElBaradei, he was the IAEA chief for three terms and he was a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize together with the IAEA, and he said of nuclear powers, it is like them having it, “dangling a cigarette in their mouth while telling others not to smoke”. You can not violate international law and expect others to comply. This will create total chaos, disorder and it is a threat not just to the Middle East but to the entire world.

Press TV: When you speak of international law, so let’s not forget Iran is a signatory to the NPT and yet it has faced multiple sanctions regarding its peaceful nuclear energy program. That in itself is another violation, would not you agree?

Sepahpour: It is absolutely a violation. The whole purpose of the IAEA, when it was established in 1957 as a body of the United Nations, was to enable peaceful nations, those there were party, there was no treaty at that time, but to spread nuclear technologies, peaceful use around the world and NPT which was presented in 1968 for signature, in fact the whole spirit of the NPT was not only to render assistance in peaceful nuclear technology to the signatories but to ultimately eliminate all nuclear weapons, total disarmament and stop proliferation none of that has happened, in fact, Iran is a victim of policies here. There are nations that would want to use this law, this international treaty as a tool to dole out favors to the nations to that their working with and to those that are demanding their rights under the international law. So, it is very hypocritical, it is very dangerous and I think that this was a good occasion for the world to listen to a representative of 120 nations. And I just want to add that Iran has asked in numerous occasions for there to be total nuclear disarmament in the Middle East and even in 2009 the Arab League had said they could no longer tolerate Israel’s nuclear weapons without it is being subjected to… become a part of the NPT and have its nuclear facilities inspected. So, the vast majority of the world understands what is going on and what needs to happen. It is for more powerful nations that have hijacked the NPT that are keeping it as hostage to come on-board and be law abiding.

April 28, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NATO plans amount to violation of NPT: Russian envoy

Press TV – April 16, 2015

Russia says the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is preparing the ground for the use of nuclear weapons by non-nuclear countries in contradiction to the Western military alliance’s obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“NATO, contrary to the obligations taken under the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, is still conducting preparations for the use of nuclear weapons by countries that are non-nuclear states,” Alexander Grushko, Russia’s envoy to NATO, said at the Fourth Moscow International Security Conference on Thursday.

The NPT, which was ratified in 1970, constitutes the cornerstone of global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to open up access to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Non-nuclear signatories to the treaty have agreed not to seek to develop or acquire nuclear arms.

The Russian official further accused the military bloc of seeking to revive the Cold War ideology.

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister General Sergei Shoigu told the conference that NATO military exercises in the Arctic and Eastern Europe are against Russia.

The minister also warned that the participation of NATO’s non-nuclear states in the drills stimulate “the use of US tactical nuclear weapons” in violation of the NPT.

In February, NATO defense ministers agreed to increase from 13,000 soldiers to 30,000 the size of the alliance’s rapid reaction force. They also announced plans to set up six new command posts in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

The Western military bloc has over the past year increased its presence and conducted several drills in Eastern Europe amid the crisis in Ukraine. Moscow, however, has repeatedly condemned NATO’s exercises and military buildup near Russia’s borders.

Moscow-West relations have been extremely tense in recent months. The West accuses Moscow of supporting pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine, an allegation strongly denied by the Kremlin.

April 16, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

No more time to wait for a nuclear weapons ban

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons | Statement to the UN First Committee | October 28, 2014

Nuclear disarmament has for too long been about waiting. Waiting for nuclear-armed states to fulfill their obligations. Waiting for the so-called “conditions” to be right for disarmament.

While we wait, we do not get closer to the elimination of nuclear weapons or to a more secure world. While we wait, the risks of the use of nuclear weapons remain or even increase. While we wait, the catastrophic and overwhelming consequences of such use do not diminish.

We do not have time to wait.

The conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons hosted by Norway and Mexico have clearly explained and documented these consequences.

Physicians, physicists, climate scientists, humanitarian agencies, and survivors have all presented alarming evidence about the effects of nuclear weapons.

This evidence has shown that a single nuclear weapon can destroy an entire city, inflicting massive numbers of instantaneous casualties.

This evidence has shown that acute radiation injuries kill people in a matter of minutes, days, or weeks; and that radiation-caused cancers and other illnesses continue to kill for years among those directly exposed and across generations.

This evidence has shown that the use of even a small fraction of existing nuclear arsenals would cause environmental devastation, including disruption of the global climate and agricultural production.

This evidence cannot be ignored.

We know that the only way to ensure these consequences will never occur is to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. And the only way to do that is to eliminate them entirely. The General Assembly, NPT  states parties, the International Court of Justice, the overwhelming majority of states that belong to  nuclear-weapon-free zones, and civil society have all said this repeatedly. That part of the debate is over.

We don’t have time to wait. States are in fact legally bound not to wait. Every state party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is committed to pursuing effective measures for nuclear disarmament.

Most importantly, we do not have to wait.

While the nuclear-armed states modernise their arsenals and refuse to engage in multilateral negotiations for nuclear disarmament as they are obliged to do, there is at least one effective measure that the rest of  the world can take.

That is to prohibit nuclear weapons through a legally-binding instrument.

This is not a radical proposal. Indiscriminate weapons get banned. It is what we do as human society in the interests of protecting ourselves. We have done it before with other weapon systems, including biological and chemical weapons. A treaty banning nuclear weapons would complete the set of
prohibitions against WMD.

This should not be a controversial proposal. An international prohibition is merely the logical outcome of an examination of the risks and consequences of nuclear weapons detonation. It is complementary to existing international law governing nuclear weapons.

This is a meaningful proposal. It could have a variety of effects on the policy and practice of states. It could establish a comprehensive set of prohibitions and provide a framework under which the elimination of nuclear weapons can be pursued.

This is a feasible, achievable proposal. It can be negotiated in the near-term, and have normative and practical impacts for the long-term.

Naturally, as we get closer to beginning a diplomatic process, thoughts will turn to how and where such a treaty should be negotiated.

ICAN has no fixed view on this except that effective processes that have meaningful results tend to be based on some important principles of multilateralism. Negotiations must be inclusive, democratic, and involve civil society and international organizations.

A crucial foundation for our confidence in this idea is the conviction that such a treaty can and should be negotiated by those states ready to do so, even if the states with nuclear weapons oppose it and decide not to participate. A few recalcitrant states should not be able to block a successful outcome. It would be better for all states to participate and to move towards prohibition and elimination without delay. But this seems unlikely at the present time.

While we must keep working towards that goal with absolute determination, we believe states should put a prohibition in place now.

To the nuclear-armed states that see this as a hostile idea: it is not. You have applauded groups of states for adopting nuclear-weapon-free zones in their regions. Globalising this prohibition on nuclear weapons will give increased political and legal space for you to pursue elimination. All of you have registered your commitment to a nuclear-free world. A prohibition of nuclear weapons is an important part of the process to achieve that universal goal.

To the states in alliances with nuclear-armed states that are concerned such a treaty would be inconsistent with existing commitments: it would not be. All states have agreed that nuclear weapons should be eliminated. No security alliances have ever crumbled because a weapon system was outlawed and eliminated. Any states that consider humanitarian action a priority should understand that a ban treaty would be consistent with their existing obligations and principles.

To the states that have already foresworn nuclear weapons through the NPT and nuclear-weapon-free zones, and that might baulk at the idea of taking on more of the burden for nuclear disarmament: this ban treaty will not be a burden. It will reinforce the stigma against nuclear weapons. It will undermine their purported value. It will further erode any misplaced perceptions that these weapons of mass destruction confer symbolic power and prestige. It will make global the commitments you have already made regionally. It will give you an opportunity to take charge, for nuclear disarmament is the responsibility and right of everyone. Finally, it will have normative and practical impacts that will facilitate elimination. We welcome the opportunity to consider this approach with you. As Kenya said earlier this month, discussions about this should not cause anxiety.

A window of opportunity is now open to take an important next step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. We should seize this opportunity before it closes. The conferences in Oslo and Nayarit have helped us see nuclear weapons as the devastating and inhumane weapons they are. We’re confident that the Vienna conference in December will reinforce that humanitarian perspective.

It is clear to us that the logical conclusion of these evidence-based gatherings is to begin a diplomatic process to prohibit nuclear weapons through a legally binding instrument.

This will take courage. We have confidence that the overwhelming majority of states will join this process. And we look forward to accompanying you along the road to a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) represents more than 360 partner organizations in 93 countries.

November 4, 2014 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear abolition now!

The Nuclear Age – risk of omnicide and our new responsibilities

Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research | August 6, 2014

Lund, Sweden – Nuclear weapons came into the world and were used for the first time in 1945. Their specific feature as weapons of mass destruction and “omnicide” – able to kill us all – has changed what it means to be alive on this earth and to be responsible for its existence.

Until nuclear weapons, human beings could not decide whether or not to end project humankind and project planet earth.

Today we know that the arsenals and missile projection methods are such that a few decision-makers, or a technical malfunction, could blow up enough of the world to make the living – if any – envy the dead.

We live in the Nuclear Age. It means living with the permanent daily threat of extinction.

Nuclearism undermines security and democracy

The Nuclear Age has undermined not only security but also democracy.

No nuclear weapons state has ever held a referendum on whether to maintain these weapons or not. There is not a single opinion poll ever made that shows that the citizens of those states want these weapons.

The overwhelming majority of the world’s population want nuclear weapons to be abolished.

In recognition of the fact that these weapons are immoral and useless for any human political purpose, the world’s nations have signed numerous UN resolutions to the effect that we shall seek “general and complete disarmament.”

The nuclear weapons states grossly ignore their responsibilities while pointing fingers at others

The most well-known is the NPT – the Non-Proliferation Treaty (1970). It declares that those who do not have nuclear weapons should abstain from acquiring them and as a quid pro quo the nuclear states should negotiate their arsenals down to zero “in good faith” and assist those who abstained to acquire nuclear technologies to meet their civilian energy needs.

Today the nuclear weapons states have many times more and more advanced nuclear weapons and much more sophisticated missiles, submarines and aircraft to project them to all parts of the world.

Possession – not proliferation – is the essential problem

In short, the main problem is nuclear weapons possession and growth and not – as the media and nuclear leaders want us to believe – their proliferation.

The mechanism is simple: As long as some – mostly Western countries – maintain and develop their arsenals, other will want to have them too.

This argument tends to be ignored when interventions, occupations and bombings are on the agenda, be it Iraq, Pakistan, India, North Korea or Iran.

That Israel possesses 100-300 nuclear weapons in contravention of UN resolutions that declare that the Middle East should remain a zone free of such weapons is equally forgotten.

Thus, while worldwide nuclear proliferation is seen to be the major obstacle to be surmounted, we at TFF argue that nuclear possession is the fundamental problem – as is the perverse thinking it is based upon.

Nuclearism must end – like slavery and cannibalism – and here is how

We insist that nuclearism – the political view that nuclear weapons are essential for the maintenance of national security and international stability – must come to an end and be seen as incompatible with human civilization.

TFF’s pro-peace perspective is three-fold:

a) To abolish nuclear weapons, we need to think of alternative defence, security and peace concepts, policies and strategies that will render nuclear weapons superfluous; and we must undermine the “fearology” and propaganda that makes people believe that nuclear weapons offer security, protection and peace.

b) We must build on the energy and hopes embedded in the fact that so many countries that could have been nuclear weapons states today have made political decisions to abstain from them.

This is the case for Sweden, Switzerland, former Yugoslavia, South Africa, Libya, Austria, Mongolia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.

Hope-inducing is also the fact that 60% of the world’s 193 states are now parts of Nuclear Weapons-Free Zones (NWFZ).

c) It remains essential to educate the general public about the risks of nuclear weapons and what the consequences would be if they were used.

The risks comprise both technical and human failure; moreover, there remain a few elites who believe that for certain political goals the use of nuclear weapons would be justified.

Politicians, schools and media must focus on the end of nuclearism before it ends us all

While public debate and education on nuclear issues were on the world’s agenda in the 1960s and 1980s, this existential issue has virtually disappeared from the radar over the last 20 years.

TFF believes that everything must be done to bring it back to the forefront, but without contributing to the afore-mentioned “fearology”.

The focus must be on the advantages for humankind’s common good if, in the name of civilization, we could abolish these weapons like we have abolished cannibalism, slavery and other inhuman practices.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment