NEW YORK 3 May. (IPS) As Mr. Kofi Annan, the General Secretary of the United Nations inaugurated Monday a troublesome four-week conference aimed at reviewing the 35 years-old Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), international nuclear experts expressed serious doubts about the sincerity of Iranian ayatollahs insisting that their nuclear projects have all non military purposes.
Without naming directly the Islamic Republic of Iran or the communist North Korea, the United States two most implacable enemies, Mr. Anan called in the one hand for more strict reinforcement of the Treaty, -- which Pyongyang left in 2003 and some influential tenors in Tehran would like to emulate – to prevent new comers from building atomic weapons and on the other, facilitating all nations to obtain nuclear technology for civilian uses.
According to the World Body, it is necessary to introduce new, more strict instruments to the NPT by providing more power to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to detect and stop the proliferation of nuclear arms as well as creating new criteria for the control and the transfer of nuclear technology, imposing a five year moratorium for enriching uranium and reprocessing plutonium.
Smaller nations are rejecting the proposals that limits their rights to develop nuclear projects for civilian uses
But smaller nations, led by Iran, are rejecting the proposals that limits their rights to develop nuclear projects for civilian uses and like Mr. Annan, urges the five official members of the Atomic Club, namely the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China, all of them permanent members of the UN’s Security Council that have the veto right to start by reducing their military arsenals, including conventional weapons.
“All countries must work towards a world of reduced nuclear threat", Mr. Annan told the conference, warning that nuclear threat was “at its worst, and not only because of the terrorists”.
India, Pakistan and Israel, three other atomic nations are not signatories to the NPT, which was ratified in 2002 by 188 countries, including Iran
Washington reiterated vigorously that both Iran and North Korea, countries that President Bush has tagged as “evil states”, must be brought forward to the Security Council for sanctions, as they have breached openly the NPT clauses.
Pressing the 188 nations attending the conference to ensure Tehran and Pyongyang are denied peaceful nuclear energy benefits because they had violated the treaty, Assistant Secretary of State Stephen Rademaker said "For almost two decades, Iran has conducted a clandestine nuclear weapons program, we dare not look the other way".
Accusing the United States of war mongering and bullying, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the orthodox leader of the Islamic Republic said Iran’s atomic projects was not America’s affair.
Iran’ Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharrazi told the conference that his country was determined to develop all legal types of nuclear technology, including processes that could be used to develop fuel for weapons and criticized Washington for not scrapping its own atomic arsenal as required under the 1970 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
And addressing Britain, France and Germany, the three European powers that are engaged in talks with Tehran since two years, Mr. Kharrazi warned clearly that "no one should be under the illusion" that abolishing its enrichment program would provide what he called an objective guarantee that Tehran would not pursue the bomb.
On Monday, and the conference was inaugurated, Hamid Reza Asefi, the official spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Tehran was sticking by its decision to resume enrichment-related work.
But as the representatives from Iran contested American accusations, an international nuclear expert who visited recently some atomic installations in Iran said he or anyone of his colleagues could not confirm that Tehran was not in the process of producing nuclear weapons, as the ruling ayatollahs insist.
“It is difficult to believe a regime that has lied for more than 18 years about its nuclear intentions”, one expert said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
He also said that Iran has developed a sophisticated nuclear industry that places the country ahead of many others. “In this situation, one can say Iran is very close to making nuclear weapons”, he pointed out.
It is difficult to believe a regime that has lied for more than 18 years about its nuclear intentions.
His view was confirmed by a British journalist who had accompanied the last mission to Iran of experts and inspectors from the IAEA.
He cited the example of a military nuclear installation that, after satellite pictures where released by an American institute specializing in nuclear issues, was completely erased before the Iranians allowed inspectors to visit the site.
Explaining the inspectors frustrations, he cited cases of last minute cancellations of visits to some sites that the Iranians had previously agreed to be inspected or harassment by dozen of officials that would record and film the inspectors during inspection of nuclear installations.
Iran has acknowledged that it had concealed its atomic programs from the IAEA for years. “Due to international sanctions, we had no other option but to build everything secretly”, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was quoted as having said, adding that now Iran had opened all its projects to international inspection. ENDS IRAN NPT 3505