Remarks by Deputy Director of Political Affairs at the Second Moscow International Nonproliferation Conference

September 20, 2003

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

It is a great pleasure for me to participate at this august gathering of eminent experts and scholars in the field of international security and disarmament .There is a high expectation from such conferences to create an environment for constructive dialogue on such sensitive issues, in the most transparent but at the same time respectful manner. I congratulate and appreciate the organizers for well prepared arrangements.

Mr. Moderator,

Before I deal with the important issue namely the WMD in the Middle East, I have to draw the kind attention of the participants to some general but related issues.

The issue of weapons of mass destruction is a global concern therefore it has to be dealt with a global approach. The most serious challenge to present global stability is the unilateralism .The superiority of military power should not give the legitimacy to violate the international laws and to under estimate the relevant international organizations. In accordance with the UN Charter, States must refrain in their international relation from the threat of the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.

This kind of unilateral approach with justification of existence of WMD, though not proven yet, has already created tensions and un-stability in the strategic region of Middle East.

The international legally binding instruments are the product of a long multilateral negotiation process. Such treaties are the reflections of the political will and determination of the international community for a collective and universal measures to fulfill the very spirits and objectives of such instruments .In order to implement the provisions of such treaties in a non-discriminatory and effective way ,the organizations in charge have to perform in the most impartial and non-politicized manner. A critical review of the past four decades reveals that not only in the united nation security council the veto power has been mostly used by a single state in enforcing its political will, but in the other international organizations political pressures have been exerted to derail the policies and decisions and in one recent case changing the management .

Attempts have been made in focusing on non-proliferation so much so that the vital issue, the disarmament, particularly nuclear disarmament, is totally ignore

United States have adopted a unilateral approach towards the non-proliferation and disarmament issues. Withdrawal from the ABM, rejection of the CTBT, challenging the global collective efforts in strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention and stopping the negotiation on legally binding instrument, the protocol, are some few examples of such policies.

The consequence of the withdrawal of US fro Anti-ballistic Missiles (ABM) is a new challenge to strategic stability and the prevention of arms race in outer-space, called upon by the UN GA resolution 56/23.

Establishment of WMD Free Zones particularly in the Middle East:

During last decades the main emphasis has been made on the NWFZ and not necessarily NMD Free Zone but during recent years more comprehensive approach has been started.

The concept of NFWZ was first developed in the late 1950s, but it was not until 1975 that the General Assembly agreed on a general definition, with three centrally important elements.

Zonal states must not possess nuclear weapons; outside states must not station nuclear weapons anywhere within the zone; and the zone must be free of targets which could be threatened with the use of nuclear weapons. In addition, NFWZ countries must renounce nuclear weapons voluntarily and as sovereign states, and must accept an international verification system. Each of the existing zones has features of its own, reflecting the peculiar concerns of the states which comprise it. Security Assurances and Nuclear -Weapon-Free Zone

Since the negotiation of the NPT, the non-nuclear-weapon states parties have sought assurances from nuclear weapon states to guarantee their security from nuclear attack because the former states have forgone their right to acquire or manufacture nuclear weapons. In accordance with the UN Charter, "States must refrain in their international relations from threat of the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."

Article VII of the NPT reaffirms the ' right of any group of states to conclude regional treaties in order to assure absence of nuclear weapons in their respective territories'. The NWSs are expected to give legally binding assurances through protocols to NWFZs .At the First UN Special Session on Disarmament(UNSSOD-1) in 1978 the five NWSs issued unilateral statements on negative security assurances .Only China issued an unconditional negative security assurance. The Third NPT Review Conference held in 1985, in its final declaration, urged all concerned parties to establish NWFZ in the Middle East.

There was no Final Declaration in the Fourth NPT Review Conference held in 1990.There were however working papers proposed on NWFZ s by group of countries and working paper on the prohibition of armed attacks against nuclear facilities , proposed by Islamic Republic of Iran.

At the Fifth NPT Review Conference held in 1995,a resolution sponsored by Russia, US, and UK on Middle East was adopted. In this resolution the states in the Middle East are called upon by the Conference ' to take practical steps in appropriate forums aimed at making progress towards, inter-alia ,the establishment of an effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear ,chemical and biological. Adoption of the resolution making that call was one of the conditions for indefinitely extending the NPT

The first nuclear-free-weapons zone (NFWZ), called Tlateolco, was established in Latin America and the Caribbean

A second NFWZ was created by 13 countries in the South Pacific which signed the 1985 Treaty of Rarotonga. The third, the 1995 Treaty of Bangkok, established the South-East Asian zone covering 10 states. A fourth zone, comprising 45 African nations, will come into existence when the 1996 Treaty of Pelindaba receives the required number of ratifications. But there are fundamental obstacle to setting up such a zone, among them Israel's failure even to sing, let alone ratify, the NPT, and its refusal to discuss details of its nuclear arsenal

The Non-Aligned Movement in its Ministerial Meeting in South Africa declared the following on the issue of zones free from WMD:

We reiterate the support for the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction. To this end, we reaffirm the need for the speedy establishment of a nuclear- weapons- free zone in the Middle East in accordance with Security Council resolution 487 (1981) and 687 (1991) and the relevant General Assembly resolutions adopted by consensus. We call upon all parties concerned to take urgent and practical steps towards the establishment of such a zone and, pending its establishment, we call on Israel, the only country in the region that has not joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) nor declared its intention to do so, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons, to accede to the NPT without delay, to place promptly all its nuclear facilities under IAEA full- scope safeguards and to conduct its nuclear related activities in conformity with the non-proliferation regime. We express great concern over the acquisition of nuclear capability by Israel which poses a serious and continuing threat to the security of neighboring and other States and we condemn Israel for continuing to develop and stockpile nuclear arsenals.

We are of the view that stability cannot be achieved in a region where massive imbalances in military capabilities are maintained particularly through the possession of nuclear weapons which allow one party to threaten its neighbors and the region. We stress that necessary steps should be taken in different international fora for the establishment of this zone. We also call for the total and complete prohibition of the transfer of all nuclear-related equipment, information, material and facilities, resources or devices and the extension of assistance in the nuclear related scientific or technological fields to Israel. In this regard, we express our serious concern over the recent development whereby Israel scientists are provided access to the nuclear facilities of one Nuclear Weapons State. This development will have potentially serious negative implication on the regional security as well as the reliability of the global non-proliferation regime.

Israeli WMD Capabilities

The Israeli nuclear program grew out of the conviction that the Holocaust justified any measures Israel took ensure its survival .Consequently; Israel has been actively investigating the nuclear option from its earliest days. The program took step forward with the creation of Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) in 1952.Its chairman ,Ernst David Bergmann, had long advocated an Israeli bomb as the best way to ensure " that we shall never again be led as lambs to the slaughter ".For reactor design and construction, Israel sought the assistance of Europe. On 3 October 1957,Israel signed agreement with one of the European countries which prefer not to name ,in order to build a 24 MWt reactor and the chemical reprocessing plant for the production of plutonium .This complex was constructed in secret and outside the IAEA inspection. After decades of combination of benign neglect ,erroneous analysis , and successful Israeli deception ,CIA issued a report in 1968 that Israel had successfully started the production of nuclear weapons.

After the fall of the racist regime of South Africa, facts on its nuclear program as well as the past close military collaboration with Israel were revealed. Many observers speculated that a suspected nuclear explosion in the southern Indian Ocean in 1979 was a joint South Africa-Israeli nuclear test.

On Tuesday 2 September 2003, in Berlin, Mohammad Labadie, Director General of the IAEA, called for creation of a Middle East region, free of nuclear weapons, he said "A cornerstone of the Middle East should be a nuclear weapons-free-zone. There are countries that believe that Israel should sign the NPT as a confidence-building measure pending the establishment of a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East"
Israel has stubbornly refused to sign the NPT despite international pressure.
Threat of WMD capability of Israel

According to several reports, Israel has developed chemical and biological weapons and the ability to weaponize them .it has not publicly announced its possession of nuclear weapons and relies on an "undeclared" deterrents. Israel has an extensive nuclear stockpile, including boosted (fission devices with enhanced yield) and fusion weapons, and some low-yield targeting. It can deliver nuclear weapons with long -range ballistic missiles that can hit any target in the Middle East. It has most probably developed cruise missiles for submarine and possible surface delivery of nuclear weapons. It is evident that such achievement in weapons of mass destruction and missile technology has not been possible without the full technological and financial support particularly by US and its strategic allies in Europe.

The statements made to the British press by Mordechai Vanunu, the technician who had worked at the Dimona center, about the size and sophistication of Israel's nuclear arsenal had attracted much less attention by western media.Moreover, no reference was made to the reports that Israel had made plutonium for military purposes through the use of heavy water imported from Norway.
Armed Attacks against Nuclear Facilities in the Middle East

A taboo connected to the non-proliferation regime was broken during the Persian Gulf War .For the first time, nuclear facilities at Al Tuwaitha, in Iraq, containing irradiated material (reactor fuel), were purposefully attacked by Israel. Previous Israeli attack at Osiraq, Tammuz reactor, took place in 1981, when no fuel had been introduced in the reactor core, but the incident aroused fears of the consequences of armed attack on nuclear plants.

Iraq itself had inflicted considerable damage in Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran in 1984, 1985 and again in 1987. The International organizations including the IAEA and the United Nation ignored the aggression.

Following the military attack by Israel against Iraqi nuclear reactor a resolution condemning the aggression was adopted in the IAEA in spite the objection and negative votes by US and European countries. As the result of the lack of effective universal measure , Saddam regime attacked Iranian Bushehr nuclear power plant. During the IAEA General Conference in 1990 , the Islamic Republic of Iran proposed a draft resolution on " Prohibition of all armed attacks against nuclear installations devoted to peaceful purposes whether under construction or in operation " which was adopted (GC(XXXIV) , despite the objection by US and the lack of support by the European countries.

In accordance with this resolution ,any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter ,International law and the Statute of the Agency and it create a situation in which the United Nations Security Council would have to act immediately in accordance with the provision of the United Nations Charter.

Nuclear Activities of Islamic Republic of Iran:

Before the Islamic Revolution , Iran concluded an extendible ten year nuclear fuel contract with US in 1974,with Germany in 1976,and with France in 1977. In 1975,he purchased a 10% share in a Eurodif uranium enrichment plant being built at Tricastin in France that was part of enrichment technology Eurodif developed, and agreed to buy a quata of enriched uranium from the new plant . Shah also gave one billion dollars as financial assistance to the said company but Iran did not receive any uranium desperately needed for its reactor It is worth to recall that US was obliged to deliver new fuel this reactor according to the contract made just before the revolution , but it neither gave the fuel nor 2 million dollars receive for it. This 5 MW research reactor is under the IAEA full scope safeguards and is producing radioisotopes for hospitals.

The primary priority of Iranian nuclear program is generation of nuclear electricity. The consumption of energy for electricity generation in fossil power plants has increased from 29.6 million barrels of crude oil in 1977 to 225.7 million barrels in 2001. The utilization of oil in processing industries such as petrochemicals will generate much greater added value. On the basis of the WASP energy planning model ,Iran has chosen the medium scenario with the projected 7000 MWe by nuclear power plants by the year 2020.

Policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran towards the Non-proliferation and WMD:

Iran believes that WMD will not augment its security ,and would in fact increase its vulnerability. WMD, nuclear weapons in particular are not in the defense doctrine of Islamic Republic of Iran . On this basis after the Islamic Revolution , Iran decided to continue it's membership in the NPT and IAEA. Iran believes that an arms race in the region ,particularly in the area of WMD,is dangerous and must be addressed through universal non-proliferation. In 23 July 1974 at the 29th Session of General Assembly of the United Nation , Iran proposed an agenda item for establishment of a NWFZ in the Middle East. Since then it has continuously reiterated its demand for the establishment of NWFZ in Middle East. Iran firmly pursue the goal of a region and world free from WMD through their total elimination.

Iran signed the IAEA Statute in 1958,and signed comprehensive safeguard Agreement with the IAEA in 1973 to facilitate the inspection ,it also accepted the Subsidiary Arrangements to the IAEA Safeguards in February 2003,following IAEA director General visit to Iran and meeting with the Iranian President.

Our preliminary reaction is rejection to the recent resolution of the IAEA is in brief as follows:

We are disappointed with the process of adoption of the resolution and its content. We emphasis our basic and inalienable right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

We are going to continue our cooperation with the IAEA in accordance with our obligation under our current Safeguards Agreement (under INFCIRC/153).

We are carefully studying the resolution and would officially announce our position in the near future.The Position of the Non-aligned Movement regarding the IAEA resolution was :

With regard to operative paragraphs 3 an 4,NAM members of the NPT believe that it goes beyond the spirit of the NPT and the policy of the Agency, which is based on "trust but verify" as it asks Iran to take actions beyond the NPT and the Additional Protocol provisions.

On operative paragraph 4,NAM believes that by putting the deadline at the end of October 2003,we are tying the Agency's hand by this date. More importantly, it also gives the wrong impression that Iran's co-operation in no longer required after this date . On operative paragraph 4(ii) ,it is our view that a legal interpretation is required on the term "unrestricted access" with regard to Iran's compliance with its current Safeguards Agreements. As we all know, the term "unrestricted access" is not used in the Additional Protocol.

Policy of Islamic Republic of Iran Towards Biological Weapons Convention(BWC)

Iran ratified the Convention in 22 August 1973 .In order to implement its provisions ,the following national measures particularly on Security and Oversight of Pathogenic Micro-organism ,have been made:

1- National Bio-Safety Committee (NBSC);
The Committee has been established in August 2000 pursuant to decree of the President. The purposes of this Committee is to review the issues related to the Protocol on Biodiversity and preparation and compilation of draft national legislation on bio-safety. In this regard the related guidelines and regulations for working with human, animal and plants pathogens have been drafted by the NBSC. The draft of national legislation on bio-safety has also been submitted to the government.

2. The Comprehensive National Biological Defense Plan;
The Comprehensive National Biological Defense Plan was approved by the Supreme National Security Council in 1998. It coordinates nationwide actions to protect human, animal and plants against biological threats.

3. National Committee on Microbial and Toxin Diseases;
The National Committee on Microbial and Toxin Diseases was established in 1998. The Committee is composed of relevant ministers and is chaired by the first deputy President. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the cases of natural outbreaks of human diseases. The Ministry of Jihad-e-Agriculture is in charge of management of natural diseases in animals and Plants. Finally in case of use of biological weapons or bio-terrorism actions, the defense authorities will manage the crises.

4. Committee Against Bio-Terrorism (CABT);
The Committee Against Bio-Terrorism was established in 2001 to function under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. The CABT has so far made following measures:

  • Coordination among related organizations;
  • Conducting several training workshops and the preparation of educational manuals;
  • Assigning the reference laboratories in the Ministry of Health and Medical Education for detection and identification of suspected biological agents and toxins;
  • Handling the suspected parcels with probable contamination of biological agents;

5. Laboratories regulations and guidelines;
Laboratories, institutes and organizations which work with biological materials in the Islamic Republic of Iran apply national, international regulations and guidelines such as:WHO,FAO,OIE.

6.Establishment of National Authority for implementation of BWC;

In order to implement the national obligations undertaken by States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention ,its article 4 in particular , the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran instructed the establishment of Interim National Authority (INA) of the BWTC in 1998. The INA comprises the representatives of relevant bodies and organizations and has expertise capability for preparation of necessary regulations and guidelines in the BTWC context. The National Authority was set out in manner when ever the additional protocol to the Convention has been finalized and enter into force it could function on broader basis in fulfilling national obligations.

US Approach towards the BWC:

Just before US rejected the draft protocol of the BWC in July 2001,the chief negotiator for the US admitted under questioning before Congress that a number of US government agencies conduct biological activities that raise "ambiguities" regarding their purposes. The kinds of bio-defense activities that prompted his testimony and the hardline US opposition to a Protocol were illuminated by a New York Times article on September 4,2001 exposing three secret bio-defense project that push up against the permissible limits of the BWC. During the negotiation of the Protocol of the BWC,US was the main opponent to the Iranian proposal on the issue of prohibition of USE of biological weapons which is missing in the BWC. Reservations of some countries including US to the 1925 Protocol on the provision of use is a serious concern. During the BWC conferences Islamic Republic of Iran has proposed the amendment of the BWC in order to incorporate the prohibition of use in the BWC.

The Non-aligned Movement expressed its deep disappointment at the inability that has been demonstrated in the endeavors of the States Parties of the BWC to successfully undertake initiatives to strengthen in implementation of the Convention

Policy of Islamic Republic of Iran Towards the Chemical Weapons Convention:

Iran ratified the CWC on 3 November 1997. The Commitment of Islamic Republic of Iran to the Chemical Weapons Convention goes beyond that of a merely legal undertaking. Recalling the frightening bitter experience of Iraqi chemical attacks against soldiers and civilians , citizens of Serdasht just to name one , has created an ethic and moral commitment to ban such inhumane weapon in a collective international approach .Iran sustained 100,000 known victims ,60,000 of them receive medical treatment.35,000 of them are considered serious. Ten percent of the victims whose case are serious will have a definite, gradual and agonizing deat awaiting them. Unfortunately 25,000 victims who had been treated and released by 1993,thought to have fully recovered ,have reported back to hospitals and medical centers with respiratory and other complaints

US involvement in Saddam atrocity and its WMD activities and use of chemical weapons:

According to the report by MSNBC News ,in August 18,2002, the special envoy of the President Reagan , Mr.Rumsfeld , in his meeting with Saddam Hussein and Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz stated that the Reagan administration was so concerned about an Iranian victory that it offered Saddam unspecified assistance. There are evidence in declassified State Department cables and court records which indicates that Iraq had used chemical weapons against Iranian troops ,it was ready to help Iraq in thwarting Iranian "human-wave " attacks. Following is the sworn court declaration of former NSC official Howard Teicher, dated 1/31/95, regarding 'Iraqgate.' The document is currently under seal by the US District Court, Southern District of Florida. The original document bears Teicher's dated signature. " I. Howard Teicher, hereby state that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the facts presented herein are true, correct and complete. I further state that to the best of my knowledge and belief, nothing stated in this Declaration constitutes classified information. From 1977 to 1987, I served in the United States government as a member of the national security bureaucracy. In june 1982,President Reagan decided that United States could not afford to allow Iraq to lose the war to Iran.The United States was anxious to have other countries supply assistance to Iraq.Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir asked Rumsfeld if the United States would deliver a secret offer of Israeli assistance to Iraq.The united States agreed."

In early 1988,after the Iraqi Army,with American planning assistance ,retook the Fao Peninsula in an attack that reopened Iraq's access to Persian Gulf,a defense intelligence officer ,Lt.Clo.Rick Francona,now retired,was sent to tour the battlefield with Iraqi officers.He reported that Iraq had used chemical weapons to cinch its victory.Col.Francono saw zones marked off for chemical contamination.(New york Times,18 August 2002)

In June 2, 2003 , after years from the Iraqi aggression ,the US Secretary of States Said: "They have weapons of mass destruction, they've had them , they used them against Iran. That is not disputable. There were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It wasn't a figment of anyone's imagination Iraq used these weapons against Iran in the late 80s ".

According to the unclassified document of the State Department of US dated November 1 , 1983 , Officials from Department's Bureau of Politicio-Military Affairs in an Information memorandum told Secretary Shultz that department had additional information confirming Iraq's "almost daily" use of chemical weapons. They also noted , "We also know that Iraq has acquired a CW production capability ,presumably from Western firms ,including possibly a US foreign subsidiary".

Continuous chemical bombardment particularly cities ,and the ignorance and lack of effective preventive measure by international community , forced Iran to decide on a strictly limited scale, capacity should be developed to challenge the imminent threat particularly against the civilian populated centers .It was declared that Iran had chemical weapons capability, while maintaining the policy not to resort to these weapons and rely on diplomacy as the sole mechanism to stop their use by its adversary he war ,ended soon after. Following the establishment of cease fire ,the decision to develop chemical weapons capabilities was reversed and the process was terminated .After the ratification of the CWC ,Iran declared the passed activities to the OPCW and destroyed the chemical weapons production facilities (CWPF) with the presence of the OPCW inspectors and later received the certificate of destruction. The joining the CWC ,declaring the chemical weapons facilities and their total destruction was a difficult historical decision ,since Iran compromised its national security for the sake of global security due to the fact that Saddam was still in power and its potential threat still existed .

The policy of Islamic Republic of Iran towards the CTBT:

Islamic Republic of Iran signed the CTBT on 24 September1996.It has been one of the most active participants during the negotiation and has fully cooperated with the Preparatory Commission since it started its work

Israeli Approach towards CTBT:

In the Conference on facilitating entry into force of the CTBT,held in Vienna, In September 2003, Israel announced three following conditions for ratification:

  • The level of readiness of the verification regime as attained by the Prep-Com ,its effectiveness and immunity to abuse,with particular emphasis on the OSI Operational Manual
  • Israel's sovereign equality status as reflected in actions taken by the Prep-Com including those related to the geographical region of the Middle East and South Asia (MESA) and the Executive Council of the future CTBTO
  • The development in our region , including the adherence to and compliance with the CTBT by states in the Middle East.

US Approach to the CTBT:

Rejection of the treaty by the Senate in September 1999. Developing new type of nuclear weapons which has to be tested in future. Due to the requirement of 44 countries ratification for the Treaty to enter into force this position of US has stop the treaty to come into being. US officially announced in November 2000 that it withdraw from involvement in the activities regarding the On-site Inspection (OSI) and the preparation of the related manuals. It has also actively weakened the Prep.Com 's activities for the enhancement of activities for the EIF of the treaty

Naming Names in WMD Conferences, a dangerous game:

During several conferences of the NPT,CWC,BWC we have been face with serious threat to the collective united cooperation of states parties enhancing the cooperation among the states parties , by baseless allegations made by one state party against other , which has jeopardized the co-operative and constructive environment of the conferences and has threatened the successful conclusions.

The Heads of States of the MAN ,at the Summit Meeting in Kuala Lumpur,20-25 February2003regretted unsubstantiated allegations of non-compliance with relevant instruments on Weapons of Mass Destruction and called States Parties to such instruments that make such allegations to follow the procedures set out in those instruments and provide the necessary substantiation for their allegations.


The most serious challenges and obstacles to realization of the Non-proliferation are as follows :

1- Unilateralism

2-Lack of universality

3-Discrimination in application of the treaties (one has to also bear in mind the discrimination of the NPT in nature )

4-Seperation of two integral part of global Security , that is the Non-proliferation and disarmament , in international deliberations

5-Lack of incentive for the parties to the treaties ,particularly developing states parties, due to the lack of implementation of the promotional pillar of the treaties (for example articles IV of the NPT , 10 and 11 of the CWC , 10 of the BCW ).

6-Lack practical measure in encouraging the non-parties to join the treaties. Full cooperation of industrial countries with non-parties in supplying materials, equipment which are required to be under the international surveillance

7-Parallel export control regimes such as Australia Group ,Zanggar Committee , NSG ,etc. These regimes underestimate the credibility and comprehensiveness and effectiveness of the treaties.

8-Lack of success in implementation of the UN resolutions and call by other international relevant organizations for the establishment of zones free from weapon of mass destruction.

9-The Main obstacle for the establishment of WMD Free Zone in the Middle East is Israeli proliferation policies and non adherence to the disarmament treaties and rejection of the IAEA comprehensive safeguards.

10-The Israeli reluctance to fulfill the expectation of the international community ,and non accession to the NPT has given reasons for some countries in the region not to join the CWC and BWC and therefore the universality of those treaties can not be realized.

Thank you for your attention.