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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

No reduction in UK's operational nuclear warheads

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, May 27, IRNA -- Foreign Secretary William Hague has revealed that there has been no reduction made in the number of operational nuclear warheads held by Britain despite a pledge by the previous government to cut the number by 20 percent.

The UK will retain up to 160 operationally available warheads, Hague said in a statement to parliament, in which he also announced a review of the circumstances under which the UK might use the missile as part of the new government’s defence review.

But for the first time, he also specified that the overall stockpile of nuclear warheads would not exceed 225, whereas previous announcements have only acknowledged an unspecific margin above the operationally available warheads.

“We believe that the time is now right to be more open about the weapons we hold. We judge that this will assist in building a climate of trust between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states and contribute therefore to future efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons worldwide,” Hague insisted.

When announcing the controversial replacement of Britain’s Trident nuclear missile system four years ago, Britain’s Labour government said it would cut Britain's 160 "operational warheads" by 20 per cent, but the foreign secretary made no mention was made of this.

He simply said the new coalition government has pledged a strong UK role in the NPT Review Conference and was “showing our commitment to working towards the long term goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”

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