05/29/2010, 00.00
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UN: For a nuclear-free Middle East (including Israel and Iran)

Agreement for a conference on the Middle East also attended by Tehran and Tel Aviv. The final document explicitly calls on Israel to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. But says nothing about the concerns of the international community toward Iran. Mordechai Vanunu still under control.

New York (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Signatory Nations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty have agreed to work together towards a nuclear-free Middle East. In a meeting in New York States mandated the UN secretary general to hold a conference in 2012 to which all countries in the region - including Iran - are invited, to establish boundaries and rules.  The final 28-page document, unanimously approved, also asks that Israel accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The document also asks the nuclear powers to undertake to reduce their arsenals.  The drafting of the text took some time and fails to fully satisfy in its final version.  U.S. officials say it is a pity that Israel is explicitly mentioned in the document as this could push Tel Aviv not to participate in future conference.

At the same time, the document said nothing of Iran and its attempts to escape from UN control of its nuclear program, which is suspected of being primarily for purposes of war.

The NPT entered into force in 1970 and served as a directive to limit the increase of nuclear weapons. But some countries-India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea - that have nuclear weapons, have not yet signed.

Israel has never claimed to have nuclear weapons, but international experts - including on the basis of statements of Mordechai Vanunu (see photo), a former Israeli nuclear technician - say that Tel Aviv has 100 to 200 nuclear warheads.

Because of his revelations, Vanunu was sentenced to 18 years in prison and even now still suffers controls and prohibitions.  The Israeli territory has forbidden him to leave the country or come into contact with foreigners, especially journalists without prior authorization.  A few weeks ago he was again sentenced to three months in prison for violating those agreements.

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