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The UN Nuclear Disarmament Conference

Written by Warren Mass on May 07 2010.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Ahmadinejad to "engage constructively" and comply fully with existing U.N. Security Council resolutions and to be more open concerning its nuclear fuel program, saying:
"Let us be clear: the onus is on Iran to clarify the doubts and concerns about its program.”

In response to Ahmadinejad’s remarks, administration Spokesman Robert Gibbs said at a White House press briefing on May 3:

Those that are involved in the NPT conference, that are living up to the obligations, would have wanted to hear the Iranians discuss living up to their obligations. I think them not doing that again shows how further isolated they are from the world community. And we continue to make progress on sanctions at a multilateral level, even as we look at ways that we can do so within our own government.

U.S., British, and French officials "rightly" walked out, said Gibbs, as Ahmadinejad made a series of "wild accusations."

Gibbs said that the United States is continuing to work with other U.N. Security Council members towards developing a new sanctions resolution directed at Iran.

VOA reported that Secretary of State Clinton, responding to Ahmadinejad, told the nonproliferation conference that Iran has defied the U.N. Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency and placed the Nonproliferation Treaty in jeopardy.

The interchange between Ahmadinejad and the West may provide drama, but the main purpose of the conference is to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Delegates from the 189 countries belonging to the treaty are discussing compliance with its three pillars: nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. An article in the Christian Science Monitor for May 6, “NPT talks: Why it's so hard for the UN to strengthen the treaty,” noted:

When North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003, it paid no cost for its move – and then went on to declare itself a nuclear power by testing two nuclear weapons.
Closing that gap is one concrete step the US and some other countries would like to see come out of the nonproliferation discussions under way at the United Nations in New York. They want the 40-year-old NPT’s review conference, which occurs every five years, to create a set of consequences for any country that would resolve its questionable nuclear status by simply pulling out of the NPT.

The NPT is not the only treaty addressing nuclear weapons that is of prime importance to U.S. foreign policy, however. The May 6 Global Security Newswire article, “White House Not Rushing Forward on Test Ban Treaty,” quotes Jon Wolfsthal, the U.S. National Security Council's nonproliferation director, who told an audience at the Brookings Institution: “While I'm optimistic that we will gain ratification [of the the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty], we don't have a time line right now.”

The article explains that the United Nations adopted the treaty in 1996, and that the United States is one of 44 "Annex 2" countries that must ratify the pact before it can enter into force. The treaty must be approved by two thirds of the Senate (67 votes, if all 100 senators vote) to be ratified by the United States.

It also noted that when speaking in Prague last year, President Obama announced he would "immediately and aggressively" pursue Senate ratification of the treaty and work with other countries to make the prohibition of nuclear test blasts the global norm.

In his April 5, 2009 speech in Prague, Obama said “the United States will take concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons” — including negotiating a new strategic arms reduction with Russia, and pursuing ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as well as “a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons.” Obama also said that, “together, we will strengthen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on April 8.

Americans concerned about our national sovereignty and ability to defend our nation without prior approval from the United Nations should review the long series of actions taken by U.S. presidents to surrender U.S. nuclear weapons to a UN authority. The first notable example of this occurred on on September 25, 1961, when President John F. Kennedy presented to the 16th General Assembly of the United Nations a disarmament proposal entitled, Freedom from War: The United States Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World (State Department Publication 7277).

 The "disarmament" called for by the document had much more to do with creating a monopoly of force for the UN than with weapons elimination. Excerpts from the document include:

• "Disarmament shall take place as rapidly as possible until it is completed in [a program of three] stages containing balanced, phased and safeguarded measures, with each measure and stage to be carried out in an agreed period of time."

• "As states relinquish their arms, the United Nations shall be progressively strengthened in order to improve its capacity to assure international security and the peaceful settlement of differences as well as to facilitate the development of international cooperation in common tasks for the benefit of mankind."

• "By the time Stage II [of the three-stage disarmament program] has been completed, the confidence produced through a verified disarmament program, the acceptance of rules of peaceful international behavior, and the development of strengthened international peace-keeping processes within the framework of the U.N. should have reached a point where the states of the world can move forward to Stage III. In Stage III progressive controlled disarmament and continuously developing principles and procedures of international law would proceed to a point where no state would have the military power to challenge the progressively strengthened U.N. Peace Force and all international disputes would be settled according to the agreed principles of international conduct." (Emphasis added.)

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