WMD-Free Zone

A belt of nuclear weapons free zones from Mongolia to Africa!

The 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) of April and May failed to produce a final document. The reason was that the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada did not accept a deadline for a conference on a “Nuclear Weapons Free Zone” (NWFZ) in the Middle East that should also include other weapons of mass destruction.

Do not let the Helsinki conference on a Mideast WMD-Free Zone fall off the “to-do” list

If Russia, the UK, and the US - as the co-conveners of the Helsinki conference on a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East - had a priority list of foreign policy agenda items, convening such a conference would likely be hidden somewhere on pages 4 or 5 of a double-sided document, printed in 11 pt. Calibri font. Even among key stakeholders, the mounting crises in the region might reduce the diplomatic impetus for convening the conference, at least within the intended deadline of “as soon as possible” and certainly before the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

Let’s call it a bargaining chip

Referring to Israel’s nuclear program as a bargaining chip is not a breakthrough idea. Scholars have argued before that in lieu of having a “deterrence policy that does not deter,” Israel might perceive its nuclear arsenal as a bargaining chip to negotiate with its Arab counterparts over regional security issues, including around a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. The third blog in this series will explore, admittedly in a quite speculative fashion, another possible bargaining dimension of Israel’s nuclear program: a bargaining chip with the United States over its unconditional maintenance of Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME).

Bumps on the road to Helsinki: Will we ever get there?

Eleven months before the 2015 NPT Review Conference is convened, there is still no sign that the Helsinki conference on the establishment of the WMD-free zone in the Middle East will be held. In what seemed to be a glimmer of hope in Geneva on May 14-15, the conference’s facilitator, co-conveners and future state parties to the zone met to discuss the conference’s modalities.

A Middle East free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction

The idea of establishing a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Middle East was spearheaded by Iran in 1974, followed by Egyptian endorsement. In 1990, under President Hosni Mubarak’s leadership, Egypt broadened the concept of the zone to include other weapons of mass destruction and lobbied incessantly to bring discussions of the zone to the upper echelons of international relations, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the United Nations.

Geneva talks: a fresh opportunity for Iran & E3+3 (P5+1)

The latest installment of the negotiations between Iran and the E3+3 (P5+1: United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia, France, and Germany) will resume on Tuesday and Wednesday in Geneva. Negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program are now into their 10th year, and each year brings about more disappointment and more anxiety over concerns of nuclear proliferation. 

Iran at the 2013 NPT PrepCom: a short guide on statements and reports

On April 22nd, delegates from NPT member states gathered in Geneva at the 2nd Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting for the 2015 Nuclear Non-proliferation Review Conference. This PrepCom, spanning two weeks, was set to focus on a variety of nuclear issues, but ongoing international concern over Iran’s nuclear program meant many member states singled out Iran in their statements and reports, specifically narrowing in on issues such as non-compliance with NPT safeguards and the country’s opaque nuclear ambitions.

The time for positive ideas on the Zone is NOW!

BASIC's Executive Director, Paul Ingram, reflects on the NPT and where we are on the establishment of the Middle East WMD-free zone:

The NPT PrepCom this week has been overshadowed by the near-universal frustration over the lack of progress on holding a conference on a Middle East zone free of WMD. State after state got up in plenary to express that frustration, many condemning the co-sponsors’ decision in late 2012 to postpone.

Subscribe to RSS - WMD-Free Zone