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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

NPT states call for disarmament, nuclear weapons free Middle East

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New York, May 29, IRNA -- Representatives of about 200 states signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty last night struck a deal on a series of small steps towards disarmament, including a 2012 conference to discuss a nuclear weapons-free Middle East.

After a month of wrangling, the NPT member states agreed on a 28-page final declaration which requires the world's five self-confessed nuclear states – the US, Russia, France, Britain and China – to speed up arms reductions. They will report on progress in four years.

IRNA reporter in New York said that the main point of the declaration was a unanimous call for a Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction intended to put public pressure on Israel to scrap its nuclear weapons.

Initially reluctant, the US changed tack and went along with the proposal. Iran and Syria had expressed dissent over whether the treaty was tough enough, but no objections were raised in the final session, and Iran's chief delegate, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, joined other nations in applause at the deal in the UN's general assembly hall.

NPT signatories gather every five years to review the objectives of the original treaty which presses for non-nuclear nations to remain free of weapons, while forwarding moves by nuclear nations towards disarmament.

The last gathering, in 2005, failed to reach consensus, partly because the Bush administration declined to back a ban on nuclear testing.

This week's final deal commits the five official weapons states to "accelerate concrete progress" towards reducing their arms stockpile and to reduce the role of nuclear arms in their military doctrines.

End News / IRNA / News Code 1144672



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