Sir, You take Iran to task for stalling on nuclear agreements (leading article, November 24) and you conclude: “Iran wants to be taken seriously by the international community, yet does not take its international obligations seriously. One is not possible without the other.”
How very true.
All the five “recognised” nuclear states: USA, Russia, UK, France and China, have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and thus (under Article VI) committed themselves to the abolition of their nuclear arsenals.
Yet they have done nothing to show that they take their international obligations seriously.
The UK is formally committed to nuclear disarmament, but it will not implement it as long as other states keep nuclear weapons. In the institution designated to deal with this issue, the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, nobody is taking the initiative. The subject has been stalled for years, and is not even put on the agenda.
With the re-election of George W. Bush, his nuclear policy – which includes the development of new nuclear warheads and their first-use, even pre-emptively if need be – is very likely to be pursued, leading to a new nuclear arms race.
An initiative to implement the NPT is urgently needed and, for the reason stated above, the UK should feel obliged to take it.
Yours faithfully, JOSEPH ROTBLAT, (President Emeritus of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs), 8 Asmara Road, West Hampstead, NW2 3ST. firstname.lastname@example.org November 24