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Iran raps US plan to modernize nukes to stay ‘at the top of the pack’

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)
File photo of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile launched from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN-739) off the coast of California in 2008. (Photo by US Navy)

Iran has warned about President Donald Trump’s “extensive” plan to stay “at the top of the pack” by modernizing the United States’ nuclear arsenals.

The US president seeks to acquire more nuclear weapons in order to “stay at the top of the pack”, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Gholam Hossein Dehqani said Thursday.

He made the remarks in an address to a UN General Assembly meeting to commemorate the International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons held on Thursday in New York.

Dehqani said the “disastrous” trend and the irresponsible policies of the US must be stopped. “No one should possess nuclear weapons, and we should destroy these weapons before they destroy us.”

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To achieve that goal, he said, it is necessary that countries possessing nuclear weapons comply with their explicit obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Dehqani said the NPT’s entry into force is especially important in the Middle East, where nuclear weapons belonging to the Israeli regime jeopardize the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone. 

“Israel must be compelled to join the treaty,” he said, stressing that a nuclear-weapon-free world is long overdue.

Israel, the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, has a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its nuclear program.

In a separate meeting of world leaders on climate change held on the sidelines of the 74th annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, Dehqani lambasted the illegal sanctions and restrictions imposed by the US against the Islamic Republic following its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

He said the restrictions have prevented the Iranian government from taking major steps to counter climate change.

Dehqani called for the facilitated access of all countries to the instruments needed to implement environmental obligations, and said the world’s countries should avoid imposing obstacles that run counter to the text and spirit of international conventions and treaties, especially the Paris Climate Agreement.

He also expressed hope that the UN meeting would create the political determination required to develop an international regime against climate changes.

A study carried out by the Iranian parliament says that the Iranian economy suffers billions in losses each year over the damage inflicted on the environment.

According to the study, the cost of health care provided to the people affected by change of the climate in the country is jumping high.

Iran has yet to ratify a major international agreement on climate change and environment protection signed in Paris in 2015.

Authorities have declared that they have reservations on endorsing the agreement due to its potential impacts on energy security in Iran. However, they have insisted that the government should do more as part of its own efforts to protect the environment.

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