UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

IAEA chief criticizes nuclear arms states, raises challenges to NPT

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Vienna, Oct 16, IRNA
IAEA-NPT Conference-ElBaradei
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei on Monday criticized the nuclear arms states for ignoring disarmament and said that the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has faced with challenges from more countries.

Speaking at a conference on ways to upgrade controls to prevent proliferation, ElBaradei said that more countries than ever are "hedging their bets" on nuclear proliferation as they seek to develop the technology that will allow them to develop such weapons on short notice.

ElBaradei did not single out any country as being among the so-called virtual new weapons states.

Canada and Australia, have recently announced that they are considering developing enrichment programs to be able to provide nuclear fuel for countries wanting to generate energy.

Both are committed non-nuclear weapons state, and no one has suggested that they want to use their programs for weapons.

Beyond the five formally declared nuclear weapons states - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - four others are known or thought to have such arms. They are India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea.

"The knowledge is out of the tube both for peaceful purpose and unfortunately also for not peaceful purposes," ElBaradei said.

"It's becoming fashionable for countries to try to look into possibilities of shielding themselves through the possibility of nuclear weapons," ElBaradei said.

Criticizing nuclear weapons states, ElBaradei said it was illogical for them to maintain their atomic deterrents while urging others not to join the nuclear weapons club.

And he also obliquely took some of them to task for not signing or ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, suggesting that their endorsement of the pact "would have changed the behavior of North Korea, maybe."

The treaty, which prohibits all nuclear explosions, will not enter into force until it has been ratified by 44 states who possess either nuclear power or research reactors. So far 34 have ratified it.

Holdouts include the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

ElBaradei said more money and international commitment was needed for his agency's verification efforts to keep pace with the new era of suspicions prompting some countries to contemplate developing weapons programs, describing the dlrs 120 million (euros 96.6 million) annually budgeted as "a drop in the ocean."

"It's important that the system continues to be ahead of the game," he said. "We cannot continue to do business as usual." 1416/2322/1412

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list