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Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview There is almost universal support for the view that the world would be an even more dangerous place if there were to be more nuclear-weapon states. There would be more fingers on more triggers and, probably, a greater risk that a trigger might be pulled with incalculable consequences.

It is easy to see, therefore, that there is a collective interest in avoiding the spread of nuclear weapons to further countries. Nations do not, however, normally undertake or refrain from actions because of such a collective interest; they do so because of their individual interests. This is especially true in the field of national security. A nation perceiving that it has a real interest in developing nuclear weapons is not very likely to refrain from doing so merely because it is told such development would be bad for the world community. Only a small fraction of the states parties regularly submit reports on their implementation actions.

Reporting by the nuclear weapon states on Art VI compliance remains uneven and in many cases lacking the detail to allow for any meaningful comparative assessments as to the progress being made on fulfilling treaty commitments.

The Future of Arms Control

Such reports would of course be most effective as part of an enhanced institutional framework in which they would become key inputs to annual meetings of states parties. These meetings would then have an empirical basis for discussion of the overall health of the NPT-centered regime and impediments to implementation. In short, there is a need to develop accountability mechanisms for the NPT that will ensure that the implementation record of states parties is adequately documented and open to collective peer review by the NPT membership.

Calls and proposals for such institutional reform have been made in the past, but without receiving the necessary support of NPT states parties. The working papers and statements submitted to the present review conference to date do not inspire confidence that the membership is coming to grips with the fundamental problems facing the NPT and devising a plan of remedial action.

Daniel Cestau Liz

These are not problems that can be resolved by merely cranking up the number of items included in an outcome document. From the review conference in New York, Paul Meyer outlines the treaty's flaws. By: Paul Meyer. International security fellow, Simon Fraser University. Hiroshima marks 70 years since the bomb By: Codi Hauka. On Iran, a triumph for diplomacy By: Cesar Jaramillo. A nuclear agreement in need of Canadian leadership By: Paul Meyer.

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There are profoundly complicated issues underlying these positions and they are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. Presumably, under any WMD-Free Zone arrangement, Israel would be required to declare the existence of any nuclear weapons it may have, dismantle them under international supervision, and submit its entire nuclear program to international inspections. Iran would also need to be brought into full compliance with the NPT.

Suspicions about chemical weapons stockpiles in the region are far-reaching and some of these issues were highlighted by revelations earlier this year that Syria possesses a significant chemical weapons arsenal. Given the present geopolitical situation, particularly in Syria, even a WMD no-first-use arrangement may be impossible to negotiate. But in many ways, banning nuclear and chemical weapons is the easy part. International treaties already exist with the necessary legal frameworks and international organisations are already experienced with the necessary verification procedures.

By contrast, there is no international institution for verifying compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention and many states in the region have not ratified it. Multilateral treaties offer very little guidance with respect to the elimination of missiles and other delivery vehicles. The legal framework for the Zone would involve a number of other elements, including possible multilateral cooperation on peaceful applications of nuclear energy, but it is not necessary to canvas them all here.

Faced with such a daunting challenge, delays are hardly unexpected. Even as the December deadline approaches, there still is no clear vision for even the initial stages of negotiation. These delays cannot continue indefinitely without doing serious damage to the broader non-proliferation regime. A roadmap through test bans Fortunately, there is a crucial element of WMD regulation on which tangible progress may be possible in the relatively short term.


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The CTBT names 44 states that must ratify the treaty in order for it to enter into force. Three of these states fall within the boundaries of the proposed zone in the Middle East. A ban on nuclear testing would be an excellent place to start negotiations on the broader issue of a Middle East Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

International Security

The history of nuclear testing in the Middle East and northern Africa is mercifully brief. France conducted nuclear tests in Algeria in the s. It is not clear whether Israel has ever conducted a nuclear test. It is unlikely that any states in the region will be motivated to conduct nuclear tests in the near future.


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  • Israel, as the only state in the region not party to the NPT and the only state believed to possess nuclear weapons, would be undertaking never to test any nuclear weapons it may have. Given that Israel either has never tested a nuclear weapon or has decided not to test since , Israel might well agree to a ban on nuclear testing. Crucially, Israel could maintain its policy of nuclear ambiguity throughout this step in the discussions of the zone conference and throughout the process of ratifying the CTBT.

    Beyond JCPOA: Examining the consequences of US withdrawal

    Iran in particular has been quite insistent that it is not seeking nuclear weapons. If Iran did develop nuclear weapons, it would probably be the state with the greatest incentive to test. It would certainly be under a great deal of suspicion.