IAEA to Discuss Israel’s Nukes for First Time

June Meet Could Mean Unusual Scrutiny for Israeli Arsenal

While normal IAEA board meetings include no small amount of handwringing about Iran’s civilian nuclear program and Syria’s even more trivial program, the only nuclear weapons power in the Middle East has long escaped any official scrutiny. That may be about to change.

Reports from the Associated Press say that the tentative agenda for the June 7 meeting includes, for the first time ever, discussion of Israel’s nuclear capabilities.

A nuclear power for decades, and a non-signatory of the NPT, Israel has long been a taboo subject as the United States has used its considerable influence to protect the (poorly kept) “secret” nature of Israel’s program.

And indeed, the US could still kill this agenda in the month before the meeting. If the IAEA discusses Israel’s program it is entirely possible it could decide to send the nation to the UN Security Council as a proliferation risk.

If that happens, however, the US could and almost certainly would veto the measure in the Security Council. It would be politically difficult for the US to do so, however, to protect Israel’s nuclear arsenal so publicly when they are at the same time involved in efforts to create a “nuclear weapons-free” Middle East.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.