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Iran calls for total nuclear disarmament
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Iran called today for global negotiations aimed at total nuclear disarmament, saying that the elimination of atomic weapons was the only guarantee against their use or threatened use.

Alireza Moaiyeri, Iranian ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, addressed the Conference on Disarmament shortly before the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was expected to issue its latest watchdog report on Iran.

Western powers suspect Iran is secretly trying to develop the capacity to make atomic bombs. Iran says its uranium enrichment programme is only to meet growing electricity needs.

"The existence of nuclear weapons simply means that all states will continue to live with a permanent sense of insecurity," Mr Moaiyeri told the Conference on Disarmament (CD).

"Along that line, the primary goal for the CD should be to remove this source of insecurity and to establish a world free of nuclear weapons."

IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei said in Paris on Tuesday that Iran was still not helping UN inspectors find whether it worked on developing an atom bomb in the past but that Tehran had slowed its expansion of a key nuclear facility.

Mr ElBaradei's remarks suggested that progress on installing more centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment site was much slower than had been expected.

Mr Moaiyeri said Tehran supported the start of talks on a fissile material "cut-off" treaty to ban production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium used for making nuclear bombs.

The pact should cover existing stocks of fissile material as well as future production, according to its envoy.

Iran also backed negotiations on preventing an arms race in outer space and on a legally binding instrument to provide security assurances to non-nuclear weapon states, he said.

The Geneva disarmament forum has failed to reach consensus needed to launch talks on any issue since clinching global pacts banning chemical weapons and underground nuclear explosions in the 1990s.

Diplomats hope the new US administration will offer initiatives to revive the conference, given president Barack Obama's public commitment to furthering nuclear disarmament.

The CD's 65 members include the five official nuclear weapon powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- as well as nuclear-capable India, Pakistan and Israel, which is widely believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arms.

Source >
  Irish Times | Feb 19

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