Middle East nuclear weapon free zone

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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).[citation needed]

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.[1]

Israel is the only Mideast country believed to have a nuclear arsenal, which was developed in the 1960s.[2] 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.[3] Israel maintains a veil of “studied ambiguity” (“amimut”), which Avner Cohen calls "opacity,"[2] about its nuclear arsenal, and has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.[4]

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.[citation needed]

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.[5] However, the conference was called off in November 2012.[3][6]

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.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Toward a Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone". European Dialogue. 
  2. ^ a b Cohen, Aver (2010). The Worst Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain With The Bomb. Columbia University Press. 
  3. ^ a b "Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone". Federation of American Scientists.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ Telhami, Shibley; Kull, Steven (January 15, 2012). "Preventing a Nuclear Iran, Peacefully". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ "Finland will host 2012 conference to start talks on nuclear weapons-free Mideast". European Dialogue. 
  6. ^ "Israel rejects UN call for nuclear transparency". RT. December 5, 2012. 

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