The US has taken the conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East hostage and this is a flagrant violation of the NPT.” Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali Asghar SoltaniehIran has censured the US decision to cancel an international conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East, calling it a blatant violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). “The US has taken the conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East as hostage and this is a flagrant violation of the NPT,” Iran's Ambassador to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali Asghar Soltanieh told Press TV on Monday. In a unilateral move, the US has announced that the conference, originally scheduled to be held in Finland’s capital, Helsinki, in December, should be postponed, he added. Soltanieh emphasized that the decision is also a breach of the nuclear treaty mandate, which was approved through consensus during the NPT Review Conference in New York in 2010.
“This is a clear sign that the US is not committed to the obligation of a world free from nuclear weapons…and this proves that the US is a close ally and supporter of nuclear weapon capability of Israel and violation of international laws,” Soltanieh added.The Iranian diplomat stated that the US failure to remain committed to the NPT is a “heavy blow” to the treaty and shows that the Islamic Republic, which has always called for freeing the world and the Middle East from nuclear weapons, is taking “firm and honest” steps to achieve this goal. “Now the US once again proves that it is ready to confront other countries in the Middle East for the sake of satisfying Israel,” Soltanieh pointed out. The major event has reportedly been scrubbed on US worries that its long-time ally in the region, the Israeli regime, would come under fire as the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Israel is widely known to possess between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads. "We would not support a conference in which any regional state would be subject to pressure or isolation," State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said on Friday, alluding to the Israeli regime. "As a co-sponsor of the proposed conference...the United States regrets to announce that the conference cannot be convened because of present conditions in the Middle East and the fact that states in the region have not reached agreement on acceptable conditions for a conference," Nuland added in a statement. The Israeli regime rejects all the regulatory international nuclear agreements -- the NPT in particular -- and refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspections. SF/SS/MA