Amid global concern over Iran nuclear program, UN focuses on Israel's program
Amid reports that the U.S. has intensified intelligence gathering at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant due to its possible use for advancing the country's nuclear weapons program, the United Nations’ most recent energies in the nuclear arena are focused elsewhere.
On the heels of the UN’s vote on upgraded Palestinian status, the international body is again focusing on Israel, this time calling on the Jewish state to open its nuclear program to international inspectors.
The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly, 174-6 with six abstentions, to pass a resolution that calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) “without further delay” and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Associated Press reported.
Among those voting “no” were the U.S. and Canada.
Arab and Iranian diplomats ironically spearheaded the resolution following the postponement of a mid-December nuclear conference on creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD-free zone) in the Middle East.
“The fact that the sponsors include in this anti-Israeli resolution language referring to the 2012 conference proves above all the ill-intent of the Arab states with regard to this conference,” Israeli diplomat Isi Yanouka said.
Yanouka also singled out Syria and Iran as the main threats of nuclear proliferation in the region.
Israel has long said there first must be a Mideast peace agreement before the establishment of a Mideast zone free of weapons of mass destruction. The Jewish state maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity. Its program is speculated to have been developed during the 1960s, with the help of France.
At the time, former Prime Minister Levi Eshkol famously stated, “Israel will not be the first nation to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East.”
According to a Nov. 16 quarterly report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog group, Iran’s work on the deep underground nuclear site—Fordo, near the holy city of Qom—is nearly complete. The site now has the full nuclear capacity of 2,784 centrifuges, an increase of 644 since the previous IAEA report in August.