“Pressure on Israel nukes could provide P5+1 leverage against Iran”

“Pressure on Israel nukes could provide P5+1 leverage against Iran”
September 18-23, 2009
     An Arab-sponsored IAEA resolution expressing concern about Israel’s nuclear capabilities and urging Israel to join the NPT was narrowly adopted by a vote of 49-45, with 16 abstentions. This is the first time in 18 years that Israel, the US and other Western states were unable to prevent the passage of such a resolution, which was supported mainly by developing nations as well as China and Russia. Iran’s Ali Asghar Soltanieh called the decision “a glorious moment”, while Israel’s David Danieli argued that singling out Israel was “counterproductive” to regional peace (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Haaretz).
     A separate IAEA resolution calling for a nuclear weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East was also passed with more support than a similar resolution passed last year. Arab states that boycotted last year’s vote supported this year’s resolution and cooperated in adjusting language objectionable to Israel, but Israel voted against the resolution due to a paragraph calling on all states to join the NPT (Reuters). This year’s resolution is almost identical to last year’s, with one exception being the omission of reference to the importance of “the peace process in the Middle East”.
     Andrew Butters argues that discussions on a Middle East NWFZ should be included in the upcoming P5+1-Iran talks to break the current deadlock. Butters proposes installing permanent IAEA inspectors for all nuclear programs in the region, stating that this will allow Iran “to save face” and maintain a peaceful nuclear program while Israel decommissions its nuclear weapons. Butters suggests Israel could be convinced to cooperate through incentives, such as extra security guarantees from the US, as well as a strategic reassessment in the face of a potential regional nuclear arms race (Time).
Deutsche Presse-Agentur | Haaretz | Reuters | Time


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