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Annan: World Under Threat Of Nuclear Proliferation

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Jan 31, 2006
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday that the world was under threat from a "cascade" of proliferation as Iran seemed set to be hauled before the Security Council over its nuclear programme.

He said Iran was rightly a concern and warned that the international community could not continue to "lurch from crisis to crisis", rapping world leaders for failing to toughen their stance.

The UN chief insisted that leading powers must not waste another chance to chart a new way forward on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Annan's warning came as Iran said that a referral to the UN Security Council would bring "an end to diplomacy" as well as tough international inspections.

Annan said: "Can there be any threat more alarming, in today's world, than that of a nuclear or biological weapon falling into the hands of terrorists, or being used by a state as a result of some terrible misunderstanding or miscalculation?

"For 35 years the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been remarkably successful in protecting mankind from this danger. But now it faces a very serious challenge," he warned at a speech in London to the UN Association of the United Kingdom.

"Today's headlines concern Iran -- rightly so, for basic treaty obligations and commitments are at stake.

"But when we step back from the headlines, it should be clear that we cannot continue to lurch from crisis to crisis, until the regime is buried beneath a cascade of nuclear proliferation.

"Twice last year governments had the chance to strengthen the foundations of the NPT regime, by agreeing on more robust IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspections; incentives and guarantees for countries to forgo the enrichment and reprocessing of fissile materials; and energetic steps to meet disarmament commitments.

"Both times, they failed. We cannot afford any more such squandered chances."

Iran's barrage of angry warnings Tuesday came after foreign ministers of the five permanent Security Council members agreed in London overnight to haul Iran's case to the council after the country resumed sensitive nuclear fuel research work and deepened fears the clerical regime could acquire the atom bomb.

A referral is likely to come during an emergency meeting of the IAEA's board of governors, which begins Thursday.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links

Iran Threatens To End Nuclear Cooperation On Saturday
Tehran (AFP) Jan 31, 2006
Iran will cease cooperating with the UN nuclear watchdog if it refers the country's nuclear dossier to the Security Council, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tuesday.

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