Iran greatest threat to NPT in Middle East: Obama

President Barack Obama said the greatest threat to NPT in the Middle East is Iran`s failure to live up to its international obligations over its controversial nuclear programme.

Last Updated: May 29, 2010, 17:30 PM IST

Washington: Seeking strengthening of the
global non-proliferation regime, President Barack Obama Saturday
said the greatest threat to NPT in the Middle East is Iran`s
failure to live up to its international obligations over its
controversial nuclear programme.

"The NPT must be at the centre of our global efforts
to stop the spread of nuclear weapons around the world, while
pursuing the ultimate goal of a world without them.

This agreement includes balanced and practical steps
that will advance non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament, and
peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which are critical pillars of
the global non-proliferation regime," Obama said in a
statement.

"It reaffirms many aspects of the agenda that I laid
out in Prague, and which we have pursued together with other
nations over the last year, and underscores that those nations
that refuse to abide by their international obligations must
be held accountable," he said.

Noting that the document includes an agreement to hold
a regional conference in 2012 to discuss issues relevant to a
Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and
their delivery systems, Obama said the US has long supported
such a zone, although its view is that a comprehensive and
durable peace in the region and full compliance by all
regional states with their arms control and nonproliferation
obligations are essential precursors for its establishment.
"We strongly oppose efforts to single out Israel, and
will oppose actions that jeopardise Israel`s national
security," the President said.

"The greatest threat to proliferation in the Middle
East, and to the NPT, is Iran`s failure to live up to its NPT
obligations," he added.

"Today`s efforts will only strengthen the NPT as a
critical part of our efforts to ensure that all nations meet
their NPT and non-proliferation obligations, or face
consequences.

Together, we must work for a world where nation`s
benefit from the peaceful power of nuclear energy, while also
being secure from the threat posed by nuclear proliferation,"
Obama said.

Meanwhile, welcoming the NPT review consensus, the
Arms Control Association (ACA) said in the coming months and
years, key states will have to deliver on their promises to
strengthen IAEA safeguards, guard against treaty withdrawal,
bring Iran and North Korea into compliance with their NPT and
safeguards obligations.

Besides, bring India and Pakistan into the nuclear
weapons risk reduction and elimination process, accelerate
international cooperation on securing nuclear weapons usable
material; and advance the verifiable nuclear arms reduction
process, bringing the CTBT into force, negotiate a fissile
material production cut off, further reduce the roles and
missions of nuclear weapons, and create a framework for the
verifiable elimination of all nuclear weapons, the ACA said.

The ACA is a US-based private, non-profit membership
organisation dedicated to public education and support of
effective arms control measures pertaining to nuclear,
chemical, biological and conventional weapons.

"The 2010 NPT Review Conference Final Statement
encourages all states that have not done so to conclude and to
bring into force additional protocols.

The Conference also called for ratification of the
CTBT with all expediency. It affirmed that all States need to
make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to
achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons," Daryl
Kimball of Arms Control Association said in a statement.

"The successes achieved at the conference were made
possible by the leadership exhibited by the US team and by the
shift in US nuclear weapons policy direction under President
Obama over the past 15 months," he said.

"The Conference also agreed to a practical and prudent
approach to discuss the issues and conditions necessary to
achieve a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

The NPT Review Conference agreed to hold a meeting
among states in the region by 2012 and to name a facilitator
for the meeting," Kimball said.

"Israel was engaged in arms control discussions with
other states in the region in the 1990s.

If Israel joins in the process again, the difference
would be that Iran would also be in those discussions, and
concerns about Iran`s intentions would also be under the
spotlight," he said.

"While Iran was not specifically called out in the
conference document, Iran`s safeguards violations are well
known and were indirectly criticised in the Final Statement.

And of course, Iran remains on the hook for its
safeguards violations and continued production of enriched
uranium in violation of UNSC resolutions that call for it to
suspend its uranium enrichment," Kimball said.

PTI