Arab Nations Lobby for Western Support to Revive Nuclear-Free Mideast Proposal

Petition Comes Over Israeli, US Objections

by Jason Ditz, August 15, 2010

According to a report by the Associated Press, Arab nations are petitioning the European Union and a number of Western nations, including the US, to consider reviving the Nuclear-Free Middle East proposal.

The US initially voted in favor of 2012 talks on the issue, but then immediately following the vote condemned the idea, and administration officials now openly refer to the vote as a “mistake,” despite President Obama’s nominally pro-disarmament stance.

Israel has condemned the call for a Nuclear-Free Middle East as a proposal that “unfairly” singles them out. Israel is the only nation in the region with nuclear weapons and also the only nation in the region that has refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

President Obama has insisted that Israel has an inherent right to possess a nuclear weapons arsenal, and it is on this issue that the whole proposal seems to be falling apart. One could not, after all, move this proposal forward without Israel, and Israel has vowed never to join the NPT, and won’t even officially admit to its arsenal.

The US has warned the Arab nations against making such a push to revive the idea at the September IAEA meeting, complaining that it would divert attention away from centering the meeting on pressing for more sanctions and threats against Iran.

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