In-Depth Look At Diplomatic Standoff Over Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

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In-Depth Look At Diplomatic Standoff Over Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

ILLUSTRATIVE

Geopolitical confrontations and aspiration for energy security stimulate concerned states to develop their nuclear programs. It is logical that competing states, alongside the development of peaceful nuclear technologies, are working to gain access to nuclear weapons technologies or to expand existing nuclear capabilities. The only multilateral international instrument for controlling non-proliferation of nuclear weapons is the NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty), with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) as the authorized body for the implementation of the NPT. Also significant is the fact that the NPT does not impose any restrictions on non-nuclear states in terms of uranium enrichment or the development of other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle. Furthermore, the NPT has a number of general wording articles.

On January 17, The National Interest published an article titled “The Little-Known Loophole in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty”. The article describes the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) that could negatively affect the current regime of nonproliferation of nuclear materials and weapons. It also addresses the position of the United States towards nonproliferation questions and the behavior of the United States on the international scene. The article’s authors, Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski, note US diplomatic actions towards states that want to withdraw from the treaty and the situation with continuing IAEA inspections if an NPT member state withdraws from the treaty.

SouthFront wants to provide an in-depth look at the situation covered in The National Interest’s general wording article. The NPT is a multilateral international arrangement. Nonetheless, it entails signing of additional special agreements in the framework of the Article III of the NPT. A similar point is included in the INFCIRC/153 by the IAEA. The IAEA itself has no levers of pressure to punish states that violate the NPT, the INFCIRC/153, and other agreements. If these agreements are violated, the IAEA sends a notification of this situation to the UN Security Council.

The NPT includes no description of the withdrawal procedure for states that want to leave the treaty. This is not a result of a mistake during the treaty preparation, but rather a reference to the accepted rules of international law, in particular the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961). Under international law, any state has a right to reject an international treaty if it goes contrary to its national interests. However, this situation is not so simple. The NPT is among the key treaties forming the international defense system. The importance of the treaty for the UN, especially for “Nuclear Club” states, is comparable to the Charter of the United Nations. The NPT is a special multilateral agreement; any state that withdraws from the treaty violates key security aspects of all other NPT member states. This is why the United States recalls core principles of international law, when it talks about the need for additional tools of cooperation with states that want to leave the NPT or violate it.

For example, the North Korea case described in UN Security Council Resolution 1718 (2006) emphasizes that North Korea received special technical cooperation during the period when the country was an NPT member state. This allowed North Korea to boost its nuclear technologies.

The US as the leading nuclear state pursues two main goals:

  • To keep its status as the leading nuclear state
  • To limit other states’ ability to obtain any nuclear technologies

For these purposes, in 1995, the US pushed forward the additional special agreement (INFCIRC/540) within the framework of the NPT regime. This agreement includes the signing of additional protocols between NPT member states and the IAEA. These protocols were signed on the basis of good will. They expand the obligations taken by NPT member states. For example, this includes:

  • Informing the IAEA about nuclear research activities
  • Providing the IAEA with a detailed description of the sites where the studies are carried out (a complete location of the research centers with a detailed explanation of what is being done in what building and by whom)
  • Providing the IAEA with comprehensive information on the volume of uranium mining

By seeking to limit the access of other states to nuclear technologies, including peaceful ones, the US leadership employs double standards.

The US side, which is well known for its high legal literacy, allows itself to impermissibly manipulate wording and well-known facts. In any agreements signed within the framework of the NPT, there are no provisions that limit countries in the development of peaceful nuclear technologies. US diplomatic actions in the field are mainly aimed at its rivals and competitors, while the actions of US “traditional allies” remain unaddressed. Additionally, it should be noted that the nonproliferation regime is being violated by NPT member states, including members of the Nuclear Club, rather than by “problematic powers”. In late 2019, reports appeared that some European states had illegally obtained a large number of weapons-grade uranium for own “experiments”. According to experts, it is likely that the US, France, or the UK was the state that provided the aforementioned weapons-grade uranium. These reports have not been confirmed officially so far. However, they are widely discussed in EU academic circles.

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  • AlexanderAmproz

    Warmonger Israel back-up by the US is the World most “Renegade” Atomic Dangerous State !

    • Jake321

      Maybe. So you better behave yourself.

    • cechas vodobenikov

      amerikans r cowards—they lose all wars…and of course only attack defenseless peoples—they r impotent, incompetent—“a paper tiger” as Mao observed.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        https://www.globalresearch.ca/closer-100-seconds-midnight/5701635

        Closer than Ever: It Is 100 Seconds to Midnight. The Dangers of Nuclear War

        2020 Doomsday Clock Statement

        By Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

        Global Research, January 24, 2020

        Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

        Theme: Intelligence

        In-depth Report: Nuclear War

        To: Leaders and citizens of the world

        Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.

        In the nuclear realm, national leaders have ended or undermined several major arms control treaties and negotiations during the last year, creating an environment conducive to a renewed nuclear arms race, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and to lowered barriers to nuclear war. Political conflicts regarding nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea remain unresolved and are, if anything, worsening. US-Russia cooperation on arms control and disarmament is all but nonexistent.

        Public awareness of the climate crisis grew over the course of 2019, largely because of mass protests by young people around the world. Just the same, governmental action on climate change still falls far short of meeting the challenge at hand. At UN climate meetings last year, national delegates made fine speeches but put forward few concrete plans to further limit the carbon dioxide emissions that are disrupting Earth’s climate. This limited political response came during a year when the effects of manmade climate change were manifested by one of the warmest years on record, extensive wildfires, and quicker-than-expected melting of glacial ice.

        Continued corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision making depend has heightened the nuclear and climate threats. In the last year, many governments used cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns to sow distrust in institutions and among nations, undermining domestic and international efforts to foster peace and protect the planet.

        This situation—two major threats to human civilization, amplified by sophisticated, technology-propelled propaganda—would be serious enough if leaders around the world were focused on managing the danger and reducing the risk of catastrophe. Instead, over the last two years, we have seen influential leaders denigrate and discard the most effective methods for addressing complex threats—international agreements with strong verification regimes—in favor of their own narrow interests and domestic political gain. By undermining cooperative, science- and law-based approaches to managing the most urgent threats to humanity, these leaders have helped to create a situation that will, if unaddressed, lead to catastrophe, sooner rather than later.

        Faced with this daunting threat landscape and a new willingness of political leaders to reject the negotiations and institutions that can protect civilization over the long term, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board today moves the Doomsday Clock 20 seconds closer to midnight—closer to apocalypse than ever. In so doing, board members are explicitly warning leaders and citizens around the world that the international security situation is now more dangerous than it has ever been, even at the height of the Cold War.

        Civilization-ending nuclear war—whether started by design, blunder, or simple miscommunication—is a genuine possibility. Climate change that could devastate the planet is undeniably happening. And for a variety of reasons that include a corrupted and manipulated media environment, democratic governments and other institutions that should be working to address these threats have failed to rise to the challenge.

        The Bulletin believes that human beings can manage the dangers posed by the technology that humans create. Indeed, in the 1990s leaders in the United States and the Soviet Union took bold actions that made nuclear war markedly less likely—and as a result the Bulletin moved the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock the farthest it has been from midnight.

        But given the inaction—and in too many cases counterproductive actions—of international leaders, the members of the Science and Security Board are compelled to declare a state of emergency that requires the immediate, focused, and unrelenting attention of the entire world. It is 100 seconds to midnight. The Clock continues to tick. Immediate action is required.

        A retreat from arms control creates a dangerous nuclear reality

        The world is sleepwalking its way through a newly unstable nuclear landscape. The arms control boundaries that have helped prevent nuclear catastrophe for the last half century are being steadily dismantled.

        In several areas, a bad situation continues to worsen. Throughout 2019, Iran increased its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, increased its uranium enrichment levels, and added new and improved centrifuges—all to express its frustration that the United States had withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran, and pressured other parties to the Iran nuclear agreement to stop their compliance with the agreement. Early this year, amid high US-Iranian tensions, the US military conducted a drone air strike that killed a prominent Iranian general in Iraq. Iranian leaders vowed to exact “severe revenge” on US military forces, and the Iranian government announced it would no longer observe limits, imposed by the JCPOA, on the number of centrifuges that it uses to enrich uranium.

        Although Iran has not formally exited the nuclear deal, its actions appear likely to reduce the “breakout time” it would need to build a nuclear weapon, to less than the 12 months envisioned by parties to the JCPOA. At that point, other parties to the nuclear agreement—including the European Union and possibly Russia and China—may be compelled to acknowledge that Iran is not complying. What little is left of the agreement could crumble, reducing constraints on the Iranian nuclear program and increasing the likelihood of military conflict with the United States.

        The demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty became official in 2019, and, as predicted, the United States and Russia have begun a new competition to develop and deploy weapons the treaty had long banned. Meanwhile, the United States continues to suggest that it will not extend New START, the agreement that limits US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear weapons and delivery systems, and that it may withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, which provides aerial overflights to build confidence and transparency around the world. Russia, meanwhile, continues to support an extension of New START.

        The assault on arms control is exacerbated by the decay of great power relations. Despite declaring its intent to bring China into an arms control agreement, the United States has adopted a bullying and derisive tone toward its Chinese and Russian competitors. The three countries disagree on whether to pursue negotiations on outer space, missile defenses, and cyberwarfare. One of the few issues they do agree on: They all oppose the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which opened for signature in 2017. As an alternative, the United States has promoted, within the context of the review conference process of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), an initiative called “Creating the Environment for Nuclear Disarmament.” The success of this initiative may depend on its reception at the 2020 NPT Review Conference—a landmark 50th anniversary of the treaty.

        US efforts to reach agreement with North Korea made little progress in 2019, despite an early summit in Hanoi and subsequent working-level meetings. After a North Korean deadline for end-of-year progress passed, Kim Jong Un announced he would demonstrate a new “strategic weapon” and indicated that North Korea would forge ahead without sanctions relief. Until now, the willingness of both sides to continue a dialogue was positive, but Chairman Kim seems to have lost faith in President Trump’s willingness to come to an agreement.

        Without conscious efforts to reinvigorate arms control, the world is headed into an unregulated nuclear environment. Such an outcome could reproduce the intense arms race that was the hallmark of the early decades of the nuclear age. Both the United States and Russia have massive stockpiles of warheads and fissile material in reserve from which to draw, if they choose. Should China decide to build up to US and Russian arsenal levels—a development previously dismissed as unlikely but now being debated—deterrence calculations could become more complicated, making the situation more dangerous. An unconstrained North Korea, coupled with a more assertive China, could further destabilize Northeast Asian security.

        As we wrote last year and re-emphasize now, any belief that the threat of nuclear war has been vanquished is a mirage.

        An insufficient response to an increasingly threatened climate

        Haven’t Enough to Keep You Awake at Night? Try the Doomsday Clock for a Truthful State of the Union

        In the past year, some countries have taken action to combat climate change, but others—including the United States, which formalized its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, and Brazil, which dismantled policies that had protected the Amazon rainforest—have taken major steps backward. The highly anticipated UN Climate Action Summit in September fell far short of Secretary General António Guterres’ request that countries come not with “beautiful speeches, but with concrete plans.” The 60 or so countries that have committed (in more or less vague terms) to net zero emissions of carbon dioxide account for just 11 percent of global emissions. The UN climate conference in Madrid similarly disappointed. The countries involved in negotiations there barely reached an agreement, and the result was little more than a weak nudge, asking countries to consider further curbing their emissions. The agreement made no advances in providing further support to poorer countries to cut emissions and deal with increasingly damaging climate impacts.

        Etc., etc……

        https://www.globalresearch.ca/closer-100-seconds-midnight/5701635

  • Jake321

    Regardless, Islamist Iran will not be allowed to get nukes. Period.

    • Ricky Miller

      Whatever. Iran, if it decided to, could have a bomb in a year. Or, it could supply North Korea with an ample supply of idle oil and take three bombs in return in under a month. Much of Iran’s atomic activities are underground and if Iran declines to provide the IAEA with access after a NPT pullout than no one would know what Iran did or did not stockpile or at what rate. Iran already surely has the physical mechanism for the bomb; it’s just shaped conventional charges inside a designed mechanism to squeeze the proper enriched material or plutonium and produce an explosive fission event. It’s the fissionable material that Iran needs to accumulate and that can be done in secret.

      • Jake321

        If you missed it, Israel knows most everything about Islamist Iran’s inner workings. Whether it was about the location of their dearly departed top general or their nuclear archives hidden in Tehran that they stole. And Israel does have some couple of hundred mostly thermonuclear missiles, many dozens on subs off the Iranian coast if need be to stop dead any Islamist Iranian push for a deliverable nuke. Oh, do note that Israel’s accurate MRV ICBM’s can reach North Korea if their fat boy were as stupid and suicidal as you to sell nukes to Islamist Iran for use against Israel. Besides, Israel would know some deal was in the works before it took place. So, hope your Islamist friends don’t feel too lucky about getting a deliverable nuke before being nuked in the attempt.

        • Ricky Miller

          I don’t have Islamist friends, and most dangerous Islamists are Sunni, not Shia. You’re just a big mouth who puts little thought into what you write. In what scenario could Israel use nuclear weapons against an Iran that hasn’t attacked them? None. And the level of control over other people that you’re suggesting, especially a country of 80+ million people is just not possible. Threats and violent acts will just justify the belief among hardliners in Iran and elsewhere that nuclear weapons are a necessity for the deterrence level required to be left alone and unthreatened in this world. Without a doubt there is a clandestine bomb project inside both Turkey and Algeria, and a latent program also in both Japan and South Korea. With the UN Charter proving as useless as the League of Nations was last century at protecting smaller, less powerful states from the voracious appetites of International predators, we can look forward to many more states going with nuclear or biological weapons research in order to maintain a porcupine defense posture virulent enough so that states like the U.S. and Israel run off to pick on somebody else.

          • Jake321

            If you could read English better, you might have noted that I always have said Israel has nukes only as a last resort if it was under an existential threat or attack. Never said Israel wanted to control Iran. It just wants to prevent the Islamists there from trying to destroy Israel. And it will use its considerable nukes if need be to assure the Murdering Mullahs never have a chance to be able to destroy Israel. Simple as that. Matters not that you or they don’t like it. That is just the way it is.

          • Kananda

            if … iSSrael tells, what can have iran, that means, they want to control iran.

        • Kananda

          so, iSSrael does state terrorism, not iran! thank you! no other question.

    • Arch Bungle

      Nobody can stop them. Look at this underground infrastructure:

      https://youtu.be/bL6n_rvgOns

      They likely already have all the required capabilities, but will only reveal them when they have no choice.

  • Justin
  • cechas vodobenikov

    amerikans r known to to liars and braggarts—insecure pitiful…as Daniel Boorstin wrote—“for 3 centuries”….they routinely break all treaties—expected….this is why 2/3 of the lawyers on the planet live in the USA—a nation of illiterate, stupefied, obese, immoral, self loathing narcissists—as vast numbers of scholars demonstrate!