Iranian diplomat: Israel sole obstacle to nuclear weapons-free Mideast

Iran's charge d'affairs to the UN criticizes West, claiming it has provided a shield for Israel to conduct alleged nuclear activities.

Dimona nuclear reactor (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Dimona nuclear reactor
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Iran's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations has blamed Israel as the sole obstacle for "a Middle East free of nuclear weapons." Iranian media reported on Saturday.
Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal and its refusal to sign the international Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty pose a barrier to ensuring nuclear weapons are not spread throughout the region, Gholamhossein Dehghani said at a UN Disarmament Committee conference in New York on Friday.
“Israeli non-constructive policies also impede the activities of international organizations to achieve nuclear disarmament,” Iran's Mehr news agency quoted him as saying.
He called on Israel to sign the NPT treaty and  “subject all of its nuclear centers to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) protocols.”
Dehghani also criticized the West, claiming it has provided a shield for Israel to conduct what he said were "secret nuclear activities."
Arab states and Iran often criticism Israel for not signing up to the nuclear NPT. Israel and Washington say it is Iran, which is in the 189-nation NPT, that poses the region's most urgent proliferation threat, although Tehran says its program is for peaceful uses only.
Earlier in April, a confidential document seen by Reuters showed the United States and three European allies wanted a global body controlling nuclear exports to consider whether to establish closer ties with non-members including Israel, despite its assumed atomic arsenal.
With the spread of nuclear technology, and the fears of it falling into the hands of militants or states the West fears could illicitly work on a weapons program, trade transparency and cooperation are seen as becoming more important.
In view of this, the United States, Britain and the Czech Republic sponsored a Dutch paper submitted ahead of a meeting last week of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), set up in 1975 to ensure that civilian nuclear exports are not diverted for military purposes. All members have signed the NPT.