The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the Islamic Republic, as a major victim of weapons of mass destruction, fully supports the United Nations’ recent adoption of a global treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Reza Najafi made the remarks on Saturday hours after 122 countries endorsed the legally binding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons during a conference at the UN headquarters in New York despite the boycott by the nuclear powers and their allies.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly supports the objective of the treaty which bans possessing, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons in the world,” Najafi said.
Iran is itself a victim of weapons of mass destruction, he said, highlighting the religious decree (fatwa) issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei describing any use of nuclear arms as forbidden.
He also hailed the UN conference negotiating the treaty for making a reference in the document’s text to the contribution of religious leaders to efforts towards nuclear disarmament.
The Netherlands opposed the treaty and Singapore abstained from voting.
Elayne Whyte Gomez, president of the UN conference, said the vote was “historic,” emphasizing that the treaty was “the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty to be concluded in more than 20 years.”
“It’s been seven decades since the world knew the power of destruction of nuclear weapons and since day one there was a call to prohibit nuclear weapons,” she noted.
None of the nine countries possessing nuclear weapons — the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — supported the treaty. Many of their allies also followed suit.
In a joint statement, the UN ambassadors from the US, Britain and France said their countries do not intend to ever become party to the treaty.
The treaty “clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment” and “is incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence, which has been essential to keeping the peace in Europe and North Asia for over 70 years,” the statement read.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Najafi reminded the threat posed by Israel’s nuclear weapons in the Middle East region.
He also pointed out that Iran’s proposal for the establishment of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East is an example of the country’s efforts to rid the region of the threat.
The Tel Aviv regime, which pursues a policy of so-called deliberate ambiguity about its nuclear bombs, is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. It has refused to allow inspections of its military nuclear facilities or to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The nuclear ban treaty will be opened for signatures in September and come into force after 50 countries have ratified it.
It came 70 years after the US military’s deadly atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.