Tel Aviv adheres to a policy of ‘nuclear ambiguity’, meaning that it neither confirms nor denies possessing nuclear weapons. At the same time, the country reserves itself the right to bomb, sabotage or otherwise act to stop activities of any Middle Eastern power it believes could lead to the development of a nuclear weapon.
Israel’s suspected nuclear arsenal poses a threat to the Middle East and the world, and Tehran is concerned by the country’s apparent preferential treatment with the International Atomic Energy Agency despite its status as a non-signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, has said.
“Since all [countries] in the Middle East region, except the Israeli regime, are parties to the NPT and have undertaken to accept the Agency’s comprehensive safeguards, development of a clandestine nuclear weapons programme by this regime poses a continuing serious threat not only to the security and stability of the region and the world, but also to the effectiveness and efficiency of the NPT and the Agency’s safeguards regime,” Gharibabadi said, speaking at the meeting of the IAEA border of governors meeting this week.
The diplomat suggested that despite Israel’s censure at the United Nations and the IAEA over its suspected non-proliferation violations, the country has refused to accede to the NPT, or to place its nuclear facilities and activities under the IAEA’s safeguards regime.
“Ironically, Israel is now even enjoying a more preferential treatment as compared with that of the Nuclear Weapons States, since they are members of the NPT and have several obligations specifically under Articles 1 and VI of the Treaty,” Gharibabadi argued. The articles he mentioned relate to the non-transfer of nuclear weapons technologies, and to good-faith talks on the cessation of the nuclear arms race and disarmament.
“It is a clear contradiction that Israel as a non-member to the NPT is enjoying the full rights and privileges due to its membership to the IAEA, while at the same time, it considers itself free from any responsibility, and participates in all deliberations of the Agency related to members of the NPT,” the diplomat said.
It is “an irony” that the IAEA has focused its attentions on Iran and other members of the NPT while making “the chronic strategic mistake” of “overlook[ing] Israel’s nuclear materials and activities in the volatile region of the Middle East,” Gharibabadi suggested, suggesting that this “very serious shortcoming” needs to be addressed.