Israel Main Obstacle to Nuclear-Free Middle East: Iran
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s ambassador to Vienna-based international organizations, Kazem Gharibabadi, warned against the Israeli regime’s nuclear arsenal and said Tel Aviv is the main obstacle to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that a nuclear-weapon-free zone needs to be established, in particular, in such a volatile region as the Middle East, where the unbridled reckless nuclear activities of the Israeli regime continue to threaten the region and beyond,” Gharibabadi said, addressing the General Conference of the IAEA on Agenda Item 19, entitled “Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East” in Vienna on Thursday.
“Stubborn opposition of the Israeli regime is, with no doubt, the only main obstacle in the establishment of such a zone,” he added.
Following is the full text of the envoy’s speech:
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Mr. Chairperson, Dear Colleagues,
My delegation aligns itself with the statement of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) on this agenda item, delivered by distinguished Ambassador and Permanent Resident of Venezuela.
During the past decades, a lot has been said and done on the establishment of NWFZ in the Middle East in the past few decades; resolutions have been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly since 1980, continuously without a vote, which represent the significance of the realization of this noble goal in the volatile region of the Middle East.
The past failures are sources of grave concerns, and if we continue to fail to overcome this challenge, it would continue to have its adverse impact on the very foundations, integrity, credibility and relevance of the Treaty.
The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that a nuclear-weapon-free zone needs to be established, in particular, in such a volatile region as the Middle East, where the unbridled reckless nuclear activities of the Israeli regime continue to threaten the region and beyond.
Stubborn opposition of the Israeli regime is, with no doubt, the only main obstacle in the establishment of such a zone. However, the role of some powers in rendering blind support to the Israeli regime, in many instances, such as in convening the 2012 Conference and in preventing the adoption of the Final Document of the 2015 Review Conference, should not also be disregarded. Therefore, such supports need to be discontinued as the only first step for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
Additionally, having ratified all major treaties banning Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and determined to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons, including by adhering to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and placing all its nuclear facilities under the Safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Islamic Republic of Iran firmly believes that universal adherence to the NPT as well as the universal application of the IAEA safeguards, particularly in the region of the Middle East, would effectively ensure the establishment of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the region.
Accordingly, we would like to once again reiterate our hope that by the accession of the State of Palestine as a State Party to the NPT and its initial steps to conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the Agency, CSA would apply to all occupied territories of Palestine in due course.
My delegation takes note of the Director General’s report on “Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East” (GOV/2018/38 and GC(62)6), where once again, it was reiterated that the Director General has not been able to make further progress in fulfilling his mandate pursuant to resolution GC(61)/RES/14 regarding the application of comprehensive Agency safeguards covering all nuclear activities in the region of the Middle East, only because the Israeli regime is unjustifiably taking it hostage for legitimizing itself and addressing its so-called security concerns. Again, we would like to put on record, as before, our strong reservation on the listing in the report, referring to the states of the Middle East region; also, in our view, this listing cannot be used in any other context or fora.
It is again a matter of regret and deep concern that this non-party to the NPT, confident of the political and military support of certain countries, has got such an audacity to continue to run its illegal underground nuclear military program, and has not even declared its intention to accede to the Treaty, nor placed its secretive underground nuclear facilities under the IAEA safeguards, and abandon its weapons of mass destruction program.
Maintaining the status quo is not an option anymore, and the 1995 Resolution and the 2010 plan of action cannot be ignored or silenced by certain delegations, only to safeguard the interest of a non-party, which is materially endangering the peace and security of the region. To this end, the only conceivable path for the maintenance of peace and security in the Region is through the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone and the application of the IAEA Safeguards in the region. That is to say again that, the only solution to this situation is to exert a sustained pressure on the regime of Israel to accede to the NPT, promptly and unconditionally, as a non-nuclear weapon party, and to place all of its underground nuclear activities and installations under the IAEA full-scope safeguards.
Thank you for your attention.