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Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East: Causes and Challenges


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  • 中東における核拡散の現状と問題点
  • チュウトウ ニ オケル カク カクサン ノ ゲンジョウ ト モンダイテン

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It has long been believed that Israel has acquired a significant number of nuclear weapons and various types of delivery systems. However, Israel has maintained a policy of nuclear ambiguity or opacity, under which it has not officially admitted or denied its possession of nuclear weapons.Its refusal to concede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the United States’ attitude of turning a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear arsenal pose a serious challenge to the international nonproliferation regime.<br>Iran’s challenge to the NPT regime differs both from the Israeli and North Korean cases. Since the Iranian opposition group disclosed Iran’s secret nuclear program in 2002, further doubtsabout the real purpose of this program have been raised, and now it is believed that Iran is about to cross the nuclear threshold. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolutions ordering Iran to suspend all sensitive nuclear activities and imposed sanctions on the country.Despitethis, Iran has intensified its enrichment activities on the grounds that under the NPT it is the unalienable right of a sovereign state to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.<br>In the Middle East both Iraq and Libya have in the past tried to develop nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Some other states in the region havereportedly acquired chemical and/or biological weapons. The main driving force for the acquisition of WMDs is the complexity of the regional security environment. As well as the Palestine problem and the Arab–Israeli conflict, which have caused a number of confrontations, there are also a number of other sources of instability that have created multidimensional antagonism in the region. In addition, political leaders have competed with each other to acquire political symbols relating to Arabism and Islamism. Their intense competitions have accelerated rivalries over nuclear and other WMDs as symbols of power in the region.<br>The notion of a Middle East nuclear-free zone, or a WMD-free zone, has been on international and regional agenda for more than 30 years, but no progress towards realizing this has been made.In order to prevent further nuclear proliferation, the idea of a nuclear-free zone should be addressed more seriously.


  • Asian Studies

    Asian Studies 53 (3), 57-71, 2007

    Japan Association for Asian Studies


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