Middle East nuclear weapon free zone
The Middle East nuclear weapon free zone (MENWFZ) is a proposed agreement similar to other Nuclear-weapon-free zones in other regions. Steps towards the establishment of such a zone began in the 1960s led to a joint declaration by Egypt and Iran in 1974 which resulted in a General Assembly resolution (broadened in 1990 to cover weapons of mass destruction).
Such a zone would strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), would help to promote global nuclear disarmament and would also help the Middle East peace process as substantial confidence-building measures.
Israel is the only Mideast country believed to have a nuclear arsenal, which was developed in the 1960s. Israel has been unwilling to discuss nuclear demilitarization except in the context of a comprehensive peace settlement including Palestinian issues and all of Israel’s neighbors, such as Syria and Iran. Israel maintains a veil of “studied ambiguity” (“amimut”), which Avner Cohen calls "opacity," about its nuclear arsenal, and has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Four countries in the Middle East have been found in non-compliance with their IAEA safeguards obligations under the NPT: Iraq, Libya, Iran, and Syria. Of these cases, Iran and Syria remain unresolved.
Finland agreed to host the 2012 conference to start talks on the proposed Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. However, the conference was called off in November 2012.
An international group of concerned citizens, including former members of the Israeli Knesset, responded to the lack of progress in official talks by organizing an International Conference For A WMD-Free Middle East. It was held in Haifa in December 2013.
- "Toward a Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone". European Dialogue.
- Cohen, Aver (2010). The Worst Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain With The Bomb. Columbia University Press.
- "Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone". Federation of American Scientists.
- Telhami, Shibley; Kull, Steven (January 15, 2012). "Preventing a Nuclear Iran, Peacefully". The New York Times.
- "Finland will host 2012 conference to start talks on nuclear weapons-free Mideast". European Dialogue.
- "Diplomats: Mideast nuke talks called off". USA Today. 11 November 2012.
- "Israel rejects UN call for nuclear transparency". RT. December 5, 2012.
- Pontiroli Gobbi, Francesco. "Is a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East possible?" (PDF). Library Briefing. Library of the European Parliament. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
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