Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on nuclear weapons states across the world to give up their nuclear stockpiles.
“I sincerely believe that the nuclear agreement between my country – a non-nuclear-weapon state – and P5+1 (which control almost all nuclear warheads on Earth) is symbolically significant enough to kick-start this paradigm shift and mark the beginning of a new era for the non-proliferation regime,” Zarif wrote in an op-ed published in The Guardian on Friday.
“One step in the right direction would be to start negotiations for a weapons elimination treaty, backed by a robust monitoring and compliance-verification mechanism,” he added.
Iran and P5+1– the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany – finalized the text of a nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in the Austrian capital Vienna on July 14.
Under JCPOA, limits are put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for a set of commitments by P5+1, including the removal of all economic and financial bans against the Islamic Republic.
In his article, Zarif also criticized states having nuclear arsenals, because they “have hardly even talked the talk, while completely brushing off their disarmament obligations under NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and customary international law.”
He further slammed Israel’s non-compliance with the NPT and its long-standing aggressive campaign against diplomatic efforts by Iran and P5+1 to find a solution to the Western dispute with Tehran over its nuclear program.
“That is to say nothing of countries outside the NPT, or Israel, with an undeclared nuclear arsenal and a declared disdain towards non-proliferation, notwithstanding its absurd and alarmist campaign against the Iranian nuclear deal,” the Iranian minister wrote.
Israel is widely believed to be the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East and has so far blatantly violated the international rules regarding nuclear non-proliferation.
In December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution urging the Tel Aviv regime to join the NPT and put its nuclear facilities under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Tel Aviv reportedly maintains between 200 and 400 atomic warheads.
Zarif also called for the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and expressed the Islamic Republic’s willingness to cooperate with the international community in this regard.
He added, “Iran, in its national capacity and as current chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, is prepared to work with the international community to achieve these goals, knowing full well that, along the way, it will probably run into many hurdles raised by the skeptics of peace and diplomacy.”