Iran leads calls for Israel to give up nuclear weapons

(AFP) – Iran on Monday led calls by non-aligned nations for Israel to give up its nuclear weapons as a major conference got underway on advancing prospects for a nuclear-free world.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressed the conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ahead of a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the landmark nuclear deal reached this month.

Zarif insisted that the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is demanding that “Israel, the only one in the region that has neither joined the NPT nor declared its intention to do so, (…) renounce possession of nuclear weapons.”

Israel is considered a nuclear-armed state although it has never acknowledged its status and has refused to join the NPT, a treaty that imposes obligations on signatories.

Israel is sending an observer to the month-long NPT conference for the first time in 20 years.

Zarif said non-aligned nations are also seeking “as a matter of high priority” to set up a nuclear-free-weapons zone in the Middle East…