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Ban Nukes on Earth

Will September talks make the threat of nuclear war extinct by 2010?


Ban Nukes on Earth

On September 7th the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors meets in Vienna with IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei to discuss the use of nuclear weapons in Iran and Syria, among other topics. ElBaradei released two reports about the implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in Iran and Syria to the Board of Governors (representatives of 35 countries including Iran). These reports are unavailable to the public unless the Governors choose to circulate them. After 12 years, this will be ElBaradei’s last year as IAEA’s Director General; he steps down in November.

September 14-18: The 53rd annual IAEA General Conference is held. The General Conference regulates a variety of nuclear technology issues, and is the highest policymaking body of the IAEA, composed of representatives of all member states.

September 24-25: Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) will be held at the United Nations. This conference will be chaired by President Barak Obama, the first time in history that an American president has taken this role.

 

The CTBT would prohibit every member state from conducting any size nuclear test explosion. President Obama is expected to give a monumental speech about banning all nuclear explosions on Earth. Obama wants the U.S. to ratify the CTBT before the next nonproliferation meeting in May 2010. Currently there are 181 member states, 149 total ratifications. The last signatory state was Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; the last ratifying state was Liberia.

Without U.S. Senate ratification, it is unlikely that Obama will persuade other countries to phase out nuclear weapons. The President needs to get at least 7 Senate Republican votes in order to reach the 67 needed for ratification. In 1999, three Republicans voted for the treaty and several current Republican leaders have indicated support. If the U.S. ratifies the CTBT, other countries such as China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan may also agree to ban nuclear weapons.

 

When a country agrees to the CTBT is it guaranteed they’ll adhere to the policy? Without Republican support can the U.S. ever ban nuclear weapons? Will the IAEA assure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons? What would a peaceful war policy regarding nuclear weapons entail? Are changes expected when IAEA General Mohammed ElBaradei steps down?

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