Wednesday, 2 January 2013

WikiLeaks reveals US, Israel lies on Iran

A major theme of this year’s US presidential election campaign was the threat to world peace allegedly posed by Iran’s nuclear program. Democrat President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney competed to take the hardest line.

Obama boasted of organising the “strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history” and promised to “take all options necessary” to force Iran to abandon its nuclear program.

This narrative relies on the false assertion that Iran is developing nuclear weapons with which to attack Israel and the US. It casts the US and Israel as defenders of international peace and security, when a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities would constitute an illegal act of aggression.

While the hype about Iran continues, negotiations on a proposal that could actually reduce the threat of nuclear conflict in the region ― the establishment of a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone ― have been sidelined.

A conference on the proposal set to take place in Finland in December this year, to which Iran agreed, has reportedly been cancelled by the US and Israel.

Potential for nuclear weapons-free Middle East

The proposal to establish a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone has garnered international support since the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution, sponsored by Iran and Egypt, endorsing the idea in 1974. However, no substantive progress has been made towards establishment of the zone.

After years of pressure from Arab states, modest practical step were agreed upon at the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT) Review Conference to take the proposal forward.

The Middle East resolution outlined a plan “to convene a conference in 2012, to be attended by all States of the Middle East, on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction”. The resolution also called upon Israel to join the NPT, and was hailed as a breakthrough.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the resolution saying “Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this Conference, which has no authority over Israel”.

The head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission said in September this year that Israel will not take part in the conference, rejecting it as an attempt to impose a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone “from outside”.

This position reflects a double-standard on the part of Israel, which chooses to remain outside the NPT so it can maintain its “position of nuclear ambiguity” — allowing it to keep its nuclear weapons without being subject to the same scrutiny as NPT nuclear weapons states. Israel is also free from the Treaty's Article VI obligation to disarm.

It cannot take part directly in NPT negotiations, but Israel exerts considerable influence in negotiations on nuclear matters through its membership of the IAEA, and through the diplomatic weight carried by its ally, the US. Links and More

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