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Israel main obstacle to nuke-free Middle East: Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi (Photo by AP)

Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has slammed the Israeli regime as the main obstacle to the establishment of a nuke-free Middle East, urging the international community to pressure Tel Aviv to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Tel Aviv’s “prohibited nuclear activity has seriously threatened regional peace and security and endangers the non-proliferation regime,” said Reza Najafi in an address to the 59th session of the IAEA’s General Conference in the Austrian capital city of Vienna on Thursday.

Najafi also voiced concern and regret that “this non-party to the NPT which continues to run its illegal underground nuclear military program, supported by its allies, has not even declared its intention to accede to the Treaty and abandon its weapons of mass destruction program.”

The Iranian envoy further blamed "certain" permanent members of the United Nations Security Council for Tel Aviv’s “intransigent” nuclear policy.

The file photo shows Israel’s nuclear facility in the Negev Desert outside Dimona.

“The Israeli regime, confident of the political and military support of certain UN Security Council permanent members, has neither acceded to the NPT, nor placed its secretive underground nuclear facilities under the IAEA safeguards,” he went on to say.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Najafi noted that the goal of creating a region free of nuclear weapons would not be realized unless the international community exerts “sustained pressure on the Israeli regime in order to compel it to accede, promptly and unconditionally, as a non-nuclear weapon party, to the NPT and to place all of its underground nuclear activities and installations under the IAEA full-scope safeguards.”

Israel is widely believed to be the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East and has so far blatantly violated the international rules regarding nuclear non-proliferation. The Tel Aviv regime has never allowed any inspections of its nuclear facilities.

This is while a resolution calling for the monitoring of Israel’s nuclear activities and facilities failed to secure enough votes at the IAEA’s general assembly on Thursday.

Sixty-one countries, including the United States and the entire member states of the European Union, voted against the resolution, while 43 countries, including Iran, Russia and Turkey, voted in favor, and 33 states, including Brazil and India, abstained.

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