Global conference to review Nonproliferation Treaty begins as former UN rep calls for military strikes against Iran; Is Kim Jong-Il in China?; Nationwide strike stalls Nepal; European Bank the latest to offer lifeline to Greece; and more
Top of the Agenda: Iran, US to Spar at NPT Conference
A global nuclear conference to review the forty-year-old nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty opens today (WashPost). Although Iran is not on the agenda, the country's controversial nuclear program will likely feature prominently, as the United States and Iran seek allies to support their respective positions. The Obama administration hopes to strengthen both the treaty's punishment of violators and its regulation of nuclear fuel supply. Iran is expected to oppose those steps. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will deliver a morning speech, followed by an afternoon address by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Also at issue is a 1995 resolution for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, which the United States refused to recommit to at the last NPT review.
The US delegation is backed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (AP), who said last week the "onus is on you [Ahmadinejad]" to prove Iran's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. US and European diplomats will also be working to reach agreement with China and Russia on a fourth round of UN sanctions for Iran.
In the Wall Street Journal, John Bolton says talk of sanction only affords Iran time and legitimacy. Preemptive military force is the only option.
Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, says U.S. nonproliferation efforts should focus on control measures that are more likely to secure bipartisan support and can be implemented without the legal consent of other states.
The NPT review conference is likely to yield agreements on strengthening the treaty even if a final consensus declaration is elusive, says arms control expert Daryl Kimball.
PACIFIC RIM: Kim Jong-Il Reportedly Visiting China