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Israel main obstacle to Middle East free of nuclear weapons: Iran

Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Reza Najafi

The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned the international community of the major threat posed by the Israeli regime's nuclear arsenal to global peace and security, urging the creation of a Middle East region without nukes.

“The Israeli regime, with the indiscriminate support of the US, is the main obstacle to the establishment of a Middle East region free of nuclear weapons,” Reza Najafi said in an address to the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the Austrian capital city of Vienna on Tuesday.

He added that the elimination of nuclear arms is of particular importance in the Middle East, where the “nuclear weapons of the Israeli regime are a matter of concern and a serious threat to regional and international peace and security.”

The Iranian envoy to the UN nuclear agency emphasized that if a nuclear-weapon-free zone is declared and established in the Middle East, the Israeli regime would have no choice but to accede to the NPT and to eliminate all its nuclear arsenal.

He said if the Tel Aviv regime is stripped of its nuclear arsenal, it will lose its main tool for bullying, aggression, oppression, intimidation, and expansionist policies in the region.

He added that the only way for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East is for the international community to exert sustained pressure on Israel in order to compel it to accede, promptly and unconditionally, to the NPT and to place all of its nuclear activities and installations under complete IAEA safeguards.

Israel, which pursues a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its nuclear weapons, is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. The regime has refused to allow inspections of its military nuclear facilities or sign the NPT.

Najafi said Iran supports the idea of building a region without nukes, adding that the Islamic Republic’s membership at many disarmament treaties and conventions as well as its close cooperation with the IAEA indicate Tehran’s full compliance with non-proliferation and a Middle East without any nuclear weapons.

The envoy urged the 2020 Review Conference to prioritize the consideration of the issue of a nuke-free Mideast and agree on concrete steps for the speedy implementation of all previous resolutions in this regard.

The preparatory committee, which opened in Austria on May 2 and will conclude on May 12, is responsible for addressing substantive and procedural issues related to the NPT.

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