Iran says Israel’s undeclared arsenal of approximately 200 atomic warheads is the only obstacle in the way of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.
In a Monday address to the third session of the preparatory committee for the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York, Iranian delegates hit out at the lack of world action on Israel’s possession of atomic nuclear weapons — which can be launched from land, sea and air.
According to the delegates, the Israeli military’s indiscriminate and deliberate use of white phosphorus shells against Palestinian civilians shows that “Tel Aviv is not fit to possess nuclear weapons”.
“Israel’s nuclear arsenal represents the single greatest threat to countries in the region,” said the delegates, while criticizing the West’s hands-off approach to Tel Aviv’s development of nuclear weaponry.
“Washington echelons and their European counterparts actually helped equip Israel with nuclear weaponry, in complete violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” the delegation asserted.
Israel is widely regarded as the sixth-largest nuclear power in the world and the sole possessor of an atomic arsenal in the Middle East. It reportedly houses at least 100 bunker-busting bombs, which come in the form of laser-guided mini-nukes with the ability of penetrating underground targets.
Over the past decades, US presidents have largely colluded with Israel’s so-called policy of nuclear opacity.
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed that former US president Richard Nixon and his chief foreign policy adviser Henry Kissinger privately endorsed Israel’s atomic arsenal in 1969 and banned any inspection of its Dimona nuclear center.
Although Tel Aviv was not a signatory to the NPT, the US leadership went on to to provide it with advanced weapons such as krytrons (nuclear triggers) and supercomputers.
The Iranian delegation called for a non-discriminatory disarmament process, saying the West’s silence on Israeli nuclear weapons sends a negative message about double standards.