As Iran’s nuclear issue is resolved following a historic agreement with the global powers, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has called for the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.
In a Wednesday statement, NAM hailed the mid-July accord between Tehran and the P5+1 group reached in Vienna, noting Tehran’s “choices and decisions” should be respected in regard to the peaceful application of nuclear energy.
“States’ choices and decisions, including those of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear technology and its fuel cycle policies must be respected,” the statement said.
NAM, whose rotating presidency has been assumed by Iran, also expressed confidence in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s “professionalism and impartiality” in the process that aims to clarify Iran’s nuclear activities, saying it should be “based on sound technical and legal grounds.”
“There should be no undue pressure or interference in the agency’s activities, specially its verification process, which would jeopardize the efficiency and credibility of the agency,” said the statement, read out by Iran's Ambassador to the IAEA Reza Najafi (pictured below) at a monthly meeting of the agency’s Board of Governors.
NAM further called on Iran to “enhance its cooperation" with the IAEA "to provide credible assurances regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran in accordance with international law.”
On July 14, Iran and the IAEA signed a road map in the Austrian capital Vienna for “the clarification of past and present issues” regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
NAM said it would back a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East, calling it a “positive step towards attaining the objective of global nuclear disarmament.”
Israel, which has vehemently been campaigning against the conclusion of Iran’s nuclear talks, is deemed to be the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
Unlike Tel Aviv, Tehran has reached a UN-backed agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy in the country with the US, Britain, Russia, China, France, and Germany.
In addition, Iran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has been cooperating with the IAEA, which has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to military purposes.