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Iran Calls For Treaty On Global Nuclear Disarmament

  • RFE/RL

Iran has accused the world's five nuclear powers of failing to eliminate their stockpiles and called for talks on a treaty aimed at nuclear disarmament by a target date.

Gholam Hossein Dehghani, Iran's deputy UN ambassador, told the UN Conference on Disarmament on April 8 that the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and France have pledged to disarm but have made no progress.

He said "a comprehensive, binding, irreversible, verifiable" treaty is the best way to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Dehghani said it is therefore necessary to negotiate a timetable for those world powers to get rid of their atomic arms.

His speech in New York City came nearly a week after Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany agreed on the outlines of a deal that would curb Tehran's nuclear program, which Western nations fear is aimed at developing atomic weapons, in exchange for relief from sanctions.

The deal must be finalized by June 30.

Iran says its nuclear program is purely peaceful.

The Islamic country is a foe of Israel, which is the only nation in the Middle East that is believed to possess nuclear weapons.

The call for a treaty and timetable for the elimination of nuclear weapons stockpiles could put Iran at odds with Russia, which is more supportive of Tehran than the Western nations in the Security Council.

In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a drive to rid the world of nuclear weapons, but Moscow has so far rejected his calls for cuts beyond those below levels set in the 2010 New START treaty with Russia.

Russia cites concerns about U.S. conventional weapons superiority, a U.S. missile-defense project that Moscow says could threaten its security, and other nations' stockpiles, among other things.

Russia is seeking to improve its nuclear arsenal without exceeding the limits set in New START, which obliges each of the two countries to reduce the number of nuclear warheads on its deployed long-range missiles and bombers to 1,550 by 2018.

Former Cold War enemies Moscow and Washington, whose ties are severely strained over Russia's interference in Ukraine, possess more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.

With reporting by AP and ABC news
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