A senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official has criticized the “provocative” nuclear stance adopted by the United States, saying the world is witnessing an arms race among nuclear powers.
The director general for political and international security affairs at Iran's Foreign Ministry, Gholam-Hossein Dehqani, made the remarks in an address to the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Saturday.
“The existing nuclear weapons have already endangered international peace and security and the current world cannot deal with the beginning of a new round of arms race,” Dehqani said.
“That is the reason why any attempt at [unleashing] an arms race must be ended,” he added.
He said lack of real progress towards disarmament over the past 50 years was the “biggest challenge” to the NPT implementation.
The Iranian official expressed concern about the persistence of such a situation and warned that NPT’s credibility would be undermined if no immediate action was adopted to that effect.
According to the NPT, countries that possess nuclear weapons must fulfill their legal commitments to slash their atomic arsenals “completely, immediately, with goodwill and without any precondition,” he said.
It is estimated that there are more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, which is “a big threat to the survival of humanity,” Dehqani added.
US President Donald Trump said in February that he wants to ensure the US nuclear arsenal is at the "top of the pack," saying the United States has fallen behind in its weapons capacity.
Under Article VI of the NPT, all parties to the treaty undertake to pursue good-faith negotiations on effective measures related to nuclear disarmament and the cessation of nuclear arms race.
The preparatory committee, which opened in Austria on May 2 and will conclude on May 12, is responsible for addressing substantive and procedural issues related to the NPT.