Nuclear non-proliferation treaty under threat despite US pressure on Israel

Frantic efforts to shore up the world’s most important nuclear arms treaty were at crisis point at the UN tonight amid fears that a furious row over the Middle East would mean failure. Prospects for a last-minute compromise deal depended on Iran.

Diplomats and observers in New York said the review of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) could still collapse after the US dramatically changed tack and agreed with Egypt to publicly pressure Israel to scrap its nuclear weapons.

But Iran, a signatory to the consensus-based treaty – and, like all others, with a veto – had threatened to block any declaration it viewed as too weak. It insisted the world’s five “official” nuclear powers were not disarming quickly enough. Iranian diplomats were reportedly awaiting instructions from Tehran.

The 189 signatories of the 1970 treaty have spent a tense month trying to bolster it after crises over Iran, North Korea, and the slow pace of disarmament – an obligation in international law.


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