News Release

Administration Agenda on Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty


The New York Times published a front-page story yesterday related to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference coming in May. The piece, entitled “Bush Seeks to Ban Some Nations From All Nuclear Technology,” stated that “Behind President Bush’s recent shift in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program lies a less visible goal: to rewrite, in effect, the main treaty governing the spread of nuclear technology, without actually renegotiating it.”

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Executive director of the New York-based Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy, Burroughs said today: “The administration says that it opposes the negotiation of a verifiable treaty to ban production of nuclear materials for weapons by the United States and other nuclear powers — the same materials Bush does not want other countries to have the ability to produce. It also is seeking funding for research on nuclear earth penetrators, opposes the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and negotiated an arms reduction treaty with Moscow that contains no verification provisions.” Burroughs is the author of “Building a Nuclear Weapons-Free Future,” a briefing paper for a meeting on the future of the NPT held at the Carter Center, sponsored by the Middle Powers Initiative, January, 2005.
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Executive director of the California-based Western States Legal Foundation, Cabasso has written many articles assessing nuclear policy. She said today: “As the nations of the world prepare for this May’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, let us remember the central bargain between the original nuclear weapon states and those at risk of proliferation when the treaty was negotiated in the late 1960s. The U.S., Britain, Soviet Union, France and China pledged to negotiate ‘in good faith’ the end of the nuclear arms race and the elimination of their nuclear arsenals in return for other nations not seeking nuclear weapons. As an incentive, states that agreed to forswear nuclear weapons were guaranteed ‘the inalienable right’ to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, ‘without discrimination.’

“Thirty-five years later, the nuclear weapon states, led by the U.S., have failed to live up to their part of the bargain, cynically interpreting the NPT as a mechanism for the permanent maintenance of an international system of nuclear apartheid in which only they can possess nuclear weapons. They have also been responsible for spreading ‘peaceful’ nuclear technology around the globe, thus ensuring the possibility of nuclear proliferation. Now the Bush administration wants to add a second tier to its nuclear double standard by denying uranium enrichment technology — needed for both nuclear power and weapons — to countries which don’t already have it. Iran, which according to the International Atomic Energy Agency is cooperating with inspections required under the NPT, will be the test case. But just beyond Iran’s border, the U.S. continues to turn a blind eye towards Israel’s sizeable undeclared nuclear arsenal.

Cabasso is co-author of “The So-Called ‘U.S. Record of Compliance’: Why the U.S. Numbers Game Is Not Disarmament,” Western States Legal Foundation Information Bulletin, Spring 2004. A Western States Legal Foundation fact sheet, United States Disarmament Obligations Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is available at their website.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167