Proposals for Better Implementation of Non-Proliferation Treaty

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Seyed Hossein Mousavian

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the sole internationally recognized treaty which has been dedicated to preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The treaty was recognized in 1970 as an international law. At that time, five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the United States, the UK, Russia, China, and France) were nuclear-powered states. Following the conclusion of the NPT, three more countries, namely, India, Pakistan and North Korea, in addition to Israel developed nuclear weapons as well. These are also the sole countries that have so far refrained from accession to the NPT. At present, 189 countries are member states of this treaty and committed to creating a world free from nuclear weapons. The NPT is based on three major principles: 1. Nuclear disarmament, according to which big powers have been obligated to gradually destroy their arsenals of nuclear weapons; 2. Nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, and 3. Commitment of countries to promote peaceful nuclear activities.

Member states of the NPT have committed to hold an NPT review conference every five years in order to review performance of the parties to the treaty with regard to their treaty obligations. As a result, a preparatory committee was set up in New York, which meets every year to discuss the implementation of the treaty and take necessary decisions in this regard. At the moment, the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT is underway at the United Nations Office in New York (and will continue until May 9, 2014). An expert delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran is also present at the session.

During the NPT review conference in 2010, an action plan known as the NPT Action Plan was adopted by the participants. The action plan consisted of 64 actions, including 22 actions on the nuclear disarmament and 23 actions on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. The rest of the plan was focused on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

A review of reports prepared by specialized international institutions will show that out of the aforesaid 64 actions stipulated in the NPT Action Plan, about 28 actions have been relatively implemented. The implementation of 21 actions has been very poor while the degree of progress on 15 other actions has remained practically at zero. The main point, however, is that most of those 28 actions that have been relatively implemented are related to promoting cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. On the contrary, those 15 actions, which have not been implemented yet, are all related to nuclear disarmament.

Let’s not forget that the first and foremost goal of the NPT is to create a world free from nuclear weapons. Now, more than 40 years after the treaty entered into force and despite the fact that 15 actions specified by the treaty and agreed upon by international community are related to nuclear disarmament, big powers have still retained more than 20,000 articles of nuclear weapons of which 90 percent is in the possession of the United States and Russia. As a result, the big powers have not only refused to fulfill their obligations with regard to the promotion of nuclear disarmament, but have also modernized their stockpiles of nuclear weapons during the past decades. Without a doubt, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are the biggest violators of the NPT while, at the same time, having the highest responsibility for the full implementation of the contents of the treaty.

During the past decade, big global powers have focused all the resources of international community on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program and have imposed the most brutal sanctions against the country in spite of the fact that Iran is a party to the NPT, has no nuclear weapons and, according to frequent reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there has been no diversion in its nuclear energy program toward production of nuclear weapons. However, the same powers have been largely indifferent toward possession of nuclear weapons by countries like India, Pakistan and Israel, have taken no steps against them, and have even established strategic relations with them! At the same time, those big powers have never been taken to task for the violation of their obligations with regard to nuclear disarmament.

Therefore, Iran as well as the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement and other countries that are committed to the NPT, such as Germany, Sweden, and Norway, should come up with new initiatives during the 2014 session of the Preparatory Committee, which is currently going in at the UN office in New York. Such initiatives can include, inter alia, the following decisions:

1. All countries should be required to present a meticulous and documented report on an annual basis about their performance with regard to their obligations as per the action plan which was adopted during the NPT Review Conference in 2010;

2. A practical plan should be drawn up and adopted for the implementation of 15 treaty obligations to which the big powers have been committed for the promotion of nuclear disarmament. It is obvious that proposals offered during preparatory committee’s session in 2014 – to be raised and discussed during the 2015 NPT Review Conference – can be quite fateful;

3. The big powers should be obligated to stop research and development and all kinds of tests related to the proliferation of nuclear weapons;

4. The same powers should be also obligated to destroy, at least, 20 percent of their stockpiles of nuclear weapons per year;

5. All nuclear-weapon states should be stripped of the right to streamline their nuclear weapons;

6. Countries like India, Pakistan and North Korea, in addition to Israel should be obligated to accede to the NPT and destroy their arsenals of nuclear weapons;

7. The public opinion throughout the world should be seriously and extensively informed of catastrophic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons;

8. A new time frame should be adopted for the implementation of the plan to free the Middle East region of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction.

This plan has been already approved during an NPT review conference in which the participants decided to hold an international conference on its implementation before the end of 2012. However, due to obstructionist efforts by Israel, the aforesaid conference has been postponed without any clear outlook on its possible future date.

Last but not least, by focusing the international attention on Iran's nuclear energy program, the big powers have been actually trying to find a way to evade their own treaty obligations. It is the main duty of Iranian diplomats to correct this erroneous course through their initiatives. They should also alarm the world to the threat posed by more than 20,000 articles of nuclear weapons possessed by the five global powers and take resolute strides toward the full implementation of 64 actions envisaged by the NPT Action Plan.

*Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former Iranian ambassador and spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators, is a research scholar at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. His latest book is Iran and the United States, An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace published by Bloomsbury Academic.

Source: Iran Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

More By Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian:

*Four Scenarios to Strike A Final Nuclear Deal with Iran:

*Diplomacy, Not Sanctions, Key to Deal with Iran:

*How Much Nuclear Power Does Iran Need?:

Link For Further Reading:

*Preparatory Committee for NPT Review Conference: A Closer Look at Iran's Views and Action Course in Nuclear Field:

*Photo Credit: Nuclear Information Service

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