Iran Accuses US, Europe of ‘Very Shameful Double Standard’ Regarding Israel’s Suspected Nukes

CC BY-SA 3.0 / טל ענבר / Shavit 3rd stageThird stage of Israeli space launch vehicle Shavit
Third stage of Israeli space launch vehicle Shavit - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.09.2021
Iranian officials have repeatedly questioned why Tel Aviv’s suspected nuclear arsenal has not been the subject of any significant scrutiny by Western nations and institutions, while Tehran’s own peaceful nuclear energy programme continues to remain under a magnifying glass. Israel neither confirms nor denies possessing nuclear weapons.
Western governments demonstrate a “shameful” double standard when it comes to Israel’s suspected nuclear weapons status, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has alleged.
“Unfortunately, the West follows a very shameful double standard, not only refraining from putting pressure on [Israel] to join the [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] and disarm, but also providing this illegitimate regime with everything at its disposal to violate the international system and pose a permanent threat to the region and the world,” the spokesman said, speaking at a press conference on Monday.
Khatibzadeh pointed out that even as it sits on dozens or even hundreds of nuclear weapons, Israel has refused to join the NPT or “any other international regulatory regime in this area, has rejected the Safeguards Agreement, and is known and disgraced as a rogue regime in the international system with regard to the nuclear nonproliferation regime.”
The spokesman’s comments follow remarks by Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday demanding immediate “snapback” sanctions against Iran following the publication of an International Atomic Energy Agency report which found that Tehran had dramatically increased its stocks of highly enriched uranium.
“Iran does not respect the agreements it has signed, and there’s no reason to believe it will respect any agreements it will sign in the future. The time has come for action,” Gantz said. The minister encouraged the remaining signatories to the Iran nuclear agreement, including Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, to restore sanctions against Tehran. “This is the time for a ‘snapback’,” he suggested.
Nuclear Question Marks
Khatibzadeh and other Iranian officials regularly ask why the US and its European allies scrutinise Iran’s nuclear energy programme so closely while seemingly ignoring Israel’s suspected possession of a nuclear weapons arsenal. Earlier this year, Iranian ambassador to international organisations in Vienna Kazem Gharibabadi asked what benefit there was for Islamic Republic in being a member of the NPT and strictly implementing the IAEA’s safeguard regime while the Jewish State could escape international scrutiny and laws and pose a nuclear threat to the entire Middle East.
Israelis officials have never formally admitted possessing nuclear weapons, instead pursuing a policy of “nuclear ambiguity,” neither confirming nor denying that the country has such weapons. At the same time, Tel Aviv reserves itself the right to bomb, sabotage or otherwise act to stop activities of any Middle Eastern nation it thinks is working on a nuclear weapon, with this policy known as the Begin doctrine, and implemented twice – in 1981 against Iraq, and in 2007 against Syria.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that Israel has about 80 nukes, about thirty of them aircraft deliverable, with the rest based aboard medium- and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles on the ground or in the country’s submarines. Other estimates suggest the country may have as many as 400 nuclear warheads.
Israel is not a signatory to the NPT, and has not placed its nuclear facilities and activities under the IAEA’s safeguards regime.
A picture taken on 8 March 2014 shows a partial view of the Dimona nuclear power plant in the Negev desert in southern Israel - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2021
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Iranian officials have repeatedly accused Tel Aviv and the United States of being the “two main obstacles” to the 40+ year old idea of weapons of mass destruction-free Middle East. Tehran dismantled its own WMDs – chemical weapons inherited from the Shah’s regime, in the mid-1990s, before ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997. Both of the Islamic Republic’s supreme leaders – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei, have issued ‘fatwas’ against nukes, with the religious rulings forbidding the production and use of any weapon of mass destruction based on their supposed incompatibility with Islamic law.
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