UN SG speaks on nuclear disarmament, calls for openness from Iran

UN SG speaks on nuclear disarmament, calls for openness from Iran

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[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] called for Iran to prove its commitment to not seeking nuclear weapons after giving remarks [text] at an event marking the 15th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) [text, PDF] on Friday. The CTBT bans the testing of nuclear weapons internationally, but it will not come into force until it is ratified by the US, Iran and six other countries. Iran has claimed that it is not developing nuclear weapons and is researching nuclear power as another energy option, whereas the US has a well-developed nuclear weapon program [Brookings Institute report]. Ban called on all nations to ratify the treaty and end research on nuclear weaposn:

So today I issue a challenge to all leaders of all countries that have not yet endorsed the CTBT: Visit the site of a nuclear test. Speak to the population exposed to the fallout. Then take action to prevent this from ever happening again. Today, on this fifteenth anniversary, we remember the victims. At the same time, we remember the hope in which the CTBT was conceived. The hope for a future where international peace and security do not depend on the mad doctrine of mutually assured destruction or hang on the thin thread of good luck. Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are not utopian ideals. They are critical to global peace and security. We have a legal and moral obligation to rid our world of nuclear tests and nuclear weapons. When we put an end to nuclear tests, we get closer to eliminating all nuclear weapons. A world free of nuclear weapons will be safer and more prosperous. Governments now spend vast sums of money to build and test arsenals of death. The world is over-armed and development is under-funded. It is time to reverse that equation.

After the speech, Ban spoke to reporters [AP report] about an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) [official website] report [text, PDF] published in November that claimed there were activities in Iran that were “specific to nuclear weapons.” Ban urged Iran to cooperate with international diplomacy efforts on its nuclear program.

There continues to be international debate over Iran’s nuclear program and whether or not the nation is seeking a nuclear weapon. Earlier this month, the US began imposing strict sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear program. Iran claims that its nuclear rights are being taken away [JURIST reports], but there are those who argue the IAEA has a legal right to regulate nuclear weapons [JURIST op-ed]. There has also been a continued international response from the UN with new sanctions being imposed in June 2010 to increase the restrictions placed on Iran from the first set of sanctions in 2006 [JURIST reports].