14879 - COMMENTARY Iran, Nuclear Proliferation and the NPT:...

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COMMENTARY Weekly EPW june 19, 2010 vol xlv no 25 21 Iran, Nuclear Proliferation and the NPT: Why Does Such Doublespeak Perpetuate? P K Sundaram Iran’s proactive nuclear diplomacy has found merit in exposing the US hypocrisy on nuclear issues, but unfortunately only to exploit the loopholes existing in the US -led system for its own eventual nuclear ambitions. India has followed a similar course in its tryst with the global order of “nuclear apartheid” – shifting from “atoms for peace” to “weapons of peace” and eventually winning some extra-regime warm embrace for its “responsible” nuclear behaviour. This “peaceful” route to weaponisation is rendered attractive by the self-contradictions of the US -led global nuclear regime. I n recent months, Iran has upped its dip- lomatic crusade against the American doublespeak on nuclear issues. Assert- ing the right of his country to have peaceful nuclear programme in the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty ( NPT ) Review Confer- ence in May, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamadinejad castigated the US for its continued reliance on nuclear weapons, equating Iran’s n uclear energy programme with nuclear weapons while maintaining silence on Israel’s nuclear weapons. 1 Iran also claimed that it is actually the US that has violated the provisions of the NPT by transferring nuclear technology to I ndia, a non-signatory state. In the run-up to the review conference and just a week after the Nuclear Security Summit called by the US , Iran organised an international conference on nuclear disarmament themed “Nuclear Energy for All, Weapons for None”. The participants from 55 coun- tries demanded global n uclear disarma- ment, protested the inequalities in the NPT regime, castigated the nuclear weapon states ( NWS ) for their unfulfilled disarma- ment promises and threatening nuclear doctrines, and upheld Iran’s and others’ inalienable right to civil nuclear pro- gramme. 2 The delegations paid a visit to the historic city of Esfahan, also home to Iran’s uranium conversion facility. 3 This posturing helps Iran in two ways – in legitimising its own nuclear ambitions and garnering support for that among non-aligned 4 and third-world groupings 5 and countries like India and China. Iran is proving to be a test case for the entire NPT -based non-proliferation regime, as it is seen to be outmanoeuvring the entire regime itself. It is widely b elieved to be using its right to peaceful nuclear pro- gramme under Article IV of the NPT to ac- quire advanced nuclear techno logies that have military dimensions. The country’s nuclear intent is corroborated by several developments over the last decade. Iran’s nuclear programme is advancing in a direction that technically brings it closer to weaponisation. 6
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14879 - COMMENTARY Iran, Nuclear Proliferation and the NPT:...

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