Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nuclear Proliferation Gaining Strength

Russia has joined the U.S. and Britain in backing Israel's view that the Middle East cannot be turned into a zone free of nuclear arms without progress on peace in the region.
That dovetails with Israel's view that peace must prevail in the Middle East before it can be made into a nuclear free zone. But it clashes with the Arab position that the two issues are separate. The Arabs say Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal is the biggest threat to Mideast peace.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied and insisted that it’s not up to Tehran to disprove the allegations, "The West must prove its claims that Iran seeks to build nuclear weapons" Ahmadinejad said today. His remarks follow the latest report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog that cited evidence indicating that Iran is conducting secret experiments toward development of nuclear weapons.

“The (U.S) tells us that we must prove that we don’t have an atomic weapons program. How can something that doesn’t exist be proved? It’s nonexistent. How can we prove it?” he told thousands of people in Pakdasht, 25 miles southeast of the capital Tehran.
“The one who levels the accusations must prove their claims. You must prove that someone is guilty,” he said.
Ahmadinejad said that if Iran decides to build nuclear weapons, it will do so openly.

The Russian statement was made available to various press agencies after a closed door meeting.The first meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) dealing with a nuclear-free Middle East assembled on Monday, with Israeli representatives describing the Arab nations' criticism of Israeli nuclear policy as unexpectedly sedate.

As a result of Iran's boycotting of the meeting, the most critical of the Arab IAEA members was Syria, whose representative depicted Israel's alleged undeclared nuclear arsenal as a "grave and serious threat."
But officials reporting on the closed meeting said that except for Syria and Lebanon, its lockstep ally, other Arab nations speaking at the meeting were lower-key than usual in chastising Israel refusing to open its nuclear program to UN perusal.
One Israeli official, who agreed to speak under conditions of anonymity said the atmosphere was "much less confrontational, much less hostile" than at other IAEA gatherings focused on the Middle East, which traditionally see Muslim nations speaking with one strongly critical voice about Israel's nuclear capabilities.
Ahmadinejad said the United States, which itself has stored 5,000 nuclear weapons, charges that Iran is guilty without providing evidence, yet it wants Iran to prove its innocence.

The president also warned that Iran would treat any country that freezes its assets as a “thief.” "The slightest appropriation of the Iranian nation’s currency reserves will be tantamount to theft. The Iranian nation will deal with the perpetrator as a thief,” Ahmadinejad warned.

He was reacting to reports that the U.S. and its allies might freeze assets belonging to Iran’s central bank following a new set of sanctions imposed on Tehran by U.S., Canada and Britain. The new sanctions seek to apply greater pressure to get Tehran to halt its suspected nuclear weapons program.
The measures were built on previous sanctions to target Iran’s oil and petrochemical industries and companies involved in nuclear procurement or enrichment activity.
How Iran Deals With Sanctions

Israel's traditional position is that a serious discussion of a nuclear-free Mideast would only take place after certain ground rules were established, such as recognition of Israel by the Arab states, as well as peace agreements that would include security arrangements and an agreement on regional disarmament from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
The session is not expected to reach any decisions, but serves as a precedent by having taken place.
In toning down their comments, most Mideast participants at the 97-nation meeting appeared to be heeding an appeal by IAEA chief Yukiya Amano.
In opening remarks made available to reporters, Amano urged Mideast nations to focus on "fresh thinking," adding he hoped they would be able to move "beyond simply restating long-established positions."

Officials and participants warned against high expectations at the gathering, which is hearing presentations on already established nuclear-free zones elsewhere as a way of stimulating discussion on the Middle East and is not meant to reach any decisions.
A decision last year by the 189 members of the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty to convene a UN-sponsored conference on establishing a Middle East nuclear-free zone in 2012 was an incentive for most of the region's Muslim nations to meet this year with Israel for the exploratory Vienna talks.

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