US: Iran’s Civilian Program the Greatest Threat to Nuclear NPT

Not Stopping Iran's Program 'Threatens Credibility'

US Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Tom Countryman has condemned Iran’s civilian nuclear program again, dubbing it the greatest threat to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the world today.

The Obama Administration has a somewhat checkered history with regards to the NPT, signing a declaration under the treaty for a nuclear free Middle East and then loudly condemning that declaration within hours of signing it.

The problem with a nuclear-free Mideast has never been Iran, of course, as the nation has loudly endorsed such plans. Rather it is US ally Israel, which has refused to sign the NPT at all, and has claimed that even asking them to do so is a violation of international law.

Despite the NPT obliging its signatories (like the US) not to support non-member nuclear weapons states, the administration has not only backed Israel but also its nuclear weapons program, declaring Israel has a “right” to nukes while denying Iran, a member in good standing of the NPT, even a right to a civilian nuclear program. Countryman says that not stopping Iran is a threat to the NPT’s credibility, even though there is no evidence Iran is violating any portion of the treaty.

Of the four existing non-signatories to the nuclear NPT, all are considered close allies by the US, and three (India, Israel and Pakistan) are all known to have nuclear weapons. The fourth, South Sudan, is a new country that hasn’t signed the treaty yet, but is not considered even remotely capable of producing nuclear arms to begin with.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.