With the sudden interest in establishing a nuclear free Middle East exhibited by the West, the question of how this can be achieved with the only nuclear power in the region, Israel, not being a signatory to the NPT was inevitable. It is a question that IAEA chief Amano Yukiya has been asking very publicly.
In a letter today to the 151 member states to the IAEA, Amano sought international advice on how to convince Israel to join the NPT and submit its own fairly substantial nuclear weapons program to international inspection.
The solution is unlikely to be forthcoming, as every time the issue is even broached with the Israeli government the reaction is shock and outrage, coupled with vows that the state will never join the treaty.
It will also be a tricky issue for the Obama Administration, which simultaneously condemned the IAEA vote calling for Israel to join the NPT as “unfair” and has publicly said they want Israel to join the NPT.
For Amano navigating the various conflicting US positions is going to be a dicey proposition, and doing so with the all-but-forbidden subject of Israel seems like an easy recipe for controversy.