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Iran calls for end to development, testing of nuclear weapons: Envoy

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)
Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations

Iran's permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations has called for an end to the development and testing of nuclear weapons, saying such a move is the first step toward total nuclear disarmament.

Kazem Gharibabadi made the plea at the 55th Session of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the Austrian capital on Tuesday and underlined Iran’s long-standing position on the need for the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons.

“Iran supports the objectives stipulated in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) with the ultimate goal of disarmament, as well as general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control,” he said.

“We also strongly believe that stopping all explosive tests of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosions, as well as ending the quantitative development and qualitative improvement of these weapons, is the first necessary step towards nuclear disarmament,” Gharibabadi added.

The Iranian envoy censured Washington’s approach on the non-proliferation regime and expressed concern over the possibility of the US conducting nuclear test explosions, saying the move undermines international peace and security.

Gharibabadi stressed that a possible resumption of the tests would breach a treaty on the moratorium on such practices, and also violates the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Iran's permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations touched on Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program and called on the kingdom to join the NPT.

Saudi Arabia’s nuclear ambitions have prompted worries in the global community over the past few years, especially after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hinted in 2018 that the kingdom may go for nukes.

Widespread reports of Saudi Arabia’s undeclared nuclear activities were confirmed in August, when satellite images revealed a large compound in a suspicious location in the heart of the desert.

The Wall Street Journal, citing Western officials, reported that Saudi Arabia had built a facility, with foreign aid, for extraction of yellow cake from uranium ore near the remote town of al-Ula.

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