Iran’s Envoy: Israel only obstacle to nuclear-free Middle-East

FNA- Iranian Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi warned the international community of the major threat posed by Israel’s nuclear arsenals to global peace and security, and called the Zionist regime the main impediment to the establishment of a nuclear-free region in the Middle-East.

“While, over the past 35 years, Israel hypocritically voted in favor of the UNGA resolution on the nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, it stubbornly opposes taking any action for the implementation of this and the 1995 resolutions,” Najafi said, addressing the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference in Vienna on Tuesday.

“While the unjustified objection of Israel remains the only and main obstacle in the establishment of such a zone, the role of US in rendering blind support to this regime in continuing its opposition should not also be overlooked,” he added.

The full text of his remarks is as follows:
In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.

Mr. Chairman,

Welcoming the efforts for establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ), the Islamic Republic of Iran underlines that their establishment, however positive it may be, is not a substitute for total elimination of nuclear weapons. To be effective, NWFZ should be established in other parts of the world.

This is of particular importance in the Middle East, where the nuclear weapons of the Israeli regime continue to threaten the region and beyond. It is a source of grave concern that after 43 years from the adoption of the first UNGA resolution on the nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, after 22 years from the adoption of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East and after 7 years from the adoption of the 2010 action plan to implement that Resolution by convening a conference in 2012, none of them was implemented yet. Even worse, unfortunately, the 2015 Review Conference was unable to reach an agreement on its outcome document because of the objection by US and two others to a decision contained therein on the implementation of the 1995 Resolution.

Why were those resolutions and action plans not implemented? The answer is clear. Because, the Israeli regime stubbornly opposed their implementation. Because in this case, that regime should place all its nuclear activities and installation under the IAEA comprehensive safeguards. Because if they were implemented, this regime had no choice but to accede to the NPT and, as a precondition, to eliminate all its nuclear arsenals. And because, if this regime loses its nuclear arsenals, it will lose its main tool for bullying, aggression, oppression, intimidation, and expansionist policies in the region.

While, over the past 35 years, Israel hypocritically voted in favor of the UNGA resolution on the nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, it stubbornly opposes taking any action for the implementation of this and the 1995 resolutions.

Mr. Chairman,

While the unjustified objection of Israel remains the only and main obstacle in the establishment of such a zone, the role of U.S. in rendering blind support to this regime in continuing its opposition should not also be overlooked. When Iran and all Arab countries had officially declared their decisions to participate in the 2012 conference, the U.S., in a statement on 23 November 2012, announced that the conference could not be convened, and US “would not support a conference in which any regional State would be subject to pressure or isolation”. Moreover, the 2015 Review Conference was unable to reach an agreement on its outcome document because of the objection by three countries, including the U.S., to a decision contained therein on the implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East.

Therefore, while such U.S. policies in sightless support of the Israeli regime need to be discontinued, the only way for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East is to exert and maintain, by the international community of States, a sustained pressure on Israel in order to compel it to accede, promptly and unconditionally as a non-nuclear weapon party, to the Treaty and to place all of its nuclear activities and installations under the IAEA full-scope safeguards, as reaffirmed by the 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences.

Iran attaches great importance to, and strongly supports, the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, an idea which was presented by Iran in 1974. As a party to the 1925 Geneva Protocol, the NPT, the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, and a signatory to the CTBT, and by having in place a Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, based on which all of its peaceful nuclear facilities are under the Agency safeguards, Iran has a high record of accession, among the Middle Eastern countries, to the international instruments banning weapons of mass destruction. This, indeed, is a clear manifestation of the firm commitment of Iran to the cause of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as the realization of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. It also testifies to how strong the commitment of Iran is to achieving the objective of the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling, threat or use of weapons of mass destruction, in the Middle East in particular and at the global level in general.

Rejecting the justifications raised by the US as one of the co-sponsors of the 1995 Resolution for not implementing it, Iran stresses their special responsibility in implementing the Resolution, which remains valid until its goals and objectives are achieved. The US should also fulfill its all other international obligations, including those under the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA). The US cannot escape its responsibilities under JCPOA by raising irrelevant issues such as defensive missiles program.

In conclusion, my delegation urges the 2020 Review Conference to consider this issue on a priority basis and agree on concrete steps for the speedy implementation of the 1995 Resolution that is an essential and integral element of the outcome of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference and of the basis on which the Treaty was indefinitely extended without a vote.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.