US, Israeli regime main hurdles in establishing WMD-free zone in ME: Ravanchi

TEHRAN, Nov. 20 (MNA) – Iran envoy to the United Nations said that policies of the Israeli regime and the United States are preventing the establishment of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

 “The idea of establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was first proposed by Iran in 1974. It is based on the right of any group of States to conclude regional treaties to assure the total absence of nuclear weapons in their respective territories as has been acknowledged in Article VII of the NPT,” Iran's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi said on Tuesday in New York while addressing the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction.

“At the practical level, the current volatile situation of the region proves more than ever the urgent need to establish such a zone when the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the region is real.”

“The Israeli regime with its more than 200 nuclear weapons in several types … remains the only possessor of nuclear weapons and non-party to the NPT in the Middle East while also brazenly threatening regional countries with nuclear annihilation. Additionally, while it possesses different categories of chemical weapons and an undeclared biological warfare program, it is not a party to the CWC and BWC,” noted Ravanchi.

“Therefore it is clear that the formation of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East requires that Israel must join all related international legally binding instruments. First and foremost, it must join the NPT without any precondition and to place all its nuclear facilities and activities under the comprehensive safeguards of the IAEA,” he highlighted.

He went on to stress that “the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran on WMD has always been consistent,” as elaborated by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution on several occasions.

“Therefore this concrete policy not only stems from our Islamic doctrine but also a rational calculation of our national interest as well as our bitter experience of being a victim of the use of chemical weapons.”

The envoy said that “the rejection of the USA and Israel to participate in the conference is a major hurdle in its success. Particularly, any possible treaty on the establishment of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East will be meaningless and ineffective in the absence of an entity possessing all types of WMD.”

Elsewhere, he said that “the official adoption of the text of the draft treaty shall be conducted at an official meeting of the conference wherein all regional countries shall be present and participate in decision making in favor of its adoption.”

Started on Monday, the conference will run through Friday and is the start of an annual meeting that aims to reach a legally binding treaty for the nuclear-free zone.

MNA/4776491

News Code 152483

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