For a Middle East Free of All Weapons of Mass Destruction

(source: CASMII)
Monday, August 6, 2007

CASMII Press Release

Nobel Laureates and International Organisations Speak Out on Hiroshima's Anniversary:
For a Middle East Free of All Weapons of Mass Destruction

On the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, an International Statement for a Middle East Free of All Weapons of Mass Destruction is released which is endorsed by several of the most influential peace, anti-nuclear and community organisations around the world as well as five Nobel Laureates. It demands that Israel join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and dismantle its nuclear arsenal and calls for a peaceful resolution of Iran's nuclear programme exclusively through negotiations and dialogue within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The statement [see its separate text below] has been prepared by the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) in collaboration with the Campaign for a Nuclear Free Middle East, who has in turn worked with the Israeli Committee for a Middle East Free from Atomic, Biological and Chemical Weapons. Its call has obtained a wide spectrum of support among national and international organisations of different political, ideological, religious and ethnic persuasions.

"Despite the unfolding tragedy in Iraq and the dangerously spiralling crises in the Middle East, another war of an unprecedented scale, this time against Iran, is looming", the statement warns and adds: "The environmental and human cost of this war would, by comparison, dwarf the suffering in Iraq; it would engulf the region and have serious and unintended global consequences".

Stating that 'even "pre-emptive" nuclear strikes on Iran have not been ruled out', it asserts that "The logical outcome of the nuclear threat is undoubtedly a drive to nuclear proliferation in the region, which would then increase the likelihood of the eventual use of nuclear weapons."

Prof. Abbas Edalat of CASMII said today: "In their daily threats, all in violation of international law, that all options are on the table against Iran, the US and Israeli leaders have openly refused to rule out the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons to destroy Iranian nuclear plants which are regulated by the IAEA. These illegal declarations have placed the spectre of Hiroshima and Nagasaki over the Middle East."

He added: "One of the pillars of the Non Proliferation Treaty is the commitment by the five original nuclear weapons states to take effective measures to eliminate their stockpiles. Yet nearly forty years on, they continue to violate the treaty by completely failing to move toward nuclear disarmament. Most alarmingly, a non-nuclear state is even threatened by the US and Israel with nuclear strikes, thereby accelerating the driving force for nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and throughout the world. The international community must stand urgently, consistently and firmly against all military options against Iran and today's International Statement is a welcome step toward this goal."

Before enumerating its demands for a "Middle East Free of All Weapons of Mass Destruction", the statement quotes the following excerpt from the July 1955 joint Manifesto by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein at the height of the Cold War: "We are speaking on this occasion, not as members of this or that nation, continent, or creed, but as human beings, members of the species, Man, whose continued existence is in doubt ... We shall try to say no single word which should appeal to one group rather than to another. All, equally, are in peril, and, if the peril is understood, there is hope that they may collectively avert it ... The question we have to ask ourselves is: what steps can be taken to prevent a military conflict of which the issue must be disastrous to all species?"

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International Statement for a Middle East free of all Weapons of Mass Destruction

Despite the unfolding tragedy in Iraq and the dangerously spiraling crises in the Middle East, another war of an unprecedented scale, this time against Iran, is looming near. The environmental and human cost of this war would, by comparison, dwarf the suffering in Iraq; it would engulf the region and have serious and unforeseen global consequences.

Terrifyingly, even "pre-emptive" nuclear strikes on Iran have not been ruled out. The introduction of the notion of limited "surgical strikes" involving tactical nuclear bunker busters, has not only increased such possibility, it has brought the morally unthinkable into the realm of debatable. By the introduction of the idea itself, it has begun the process of desensitising the public to such a horror. The logical outcome of the nuclear threat is undoubtedly a drive to nuclear proliferation in the region, which would then increase the likelihood of its eventual use. In this eventuality, there will be no winners.

At this perilous time, let us be reminded of the joint Manifesto by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein of July 1955, at the height of the Cold War: "We are speaking on this occasion, not as members of this or that nation, continent, or creed, but as human beings, members of the species, Man, whose continued existence is in doubt ... We shall try to say no single word which should appeal to one group rather than to another. All, equally, are in peril, and, if the peril is understood, there is hope that they may collectively avert it. ... The question we have to ask ourselves is: what steps can be taken to prevent a military conflict of which the issue must be disastrous to all species?"

The stakes now are at least equally high. It is with this same spirit of shared humanity that we reach out to all peace loving people in the world to subscribe to the following steps to reduce the risk of a nuclear confrontation.

With this aim in mind, we, the undersigned:

1. Call for the Middle East to be a zone free from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

2. Call upon Israel, as the only Middle Eastern state suspected of possession of nuclear weapons, to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and become fully transparent by opening its clandestine nuclear facilities to international inspections and supervision by International Atomic Energy Agency. Any nuclear weapons or programme and facility in abrogation of the guidelines of the NPT to be dismantled and removed.

3. Call for the dispute about Iran’s nuclear programme, to be resolved through peaceful means, through negotiations and dialogue with the representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and through such measures deemed necessary by the IAEA, in accordance with the guidelines of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which Iran is a current signatory.

4. Welcome Iran’s declaration of the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, but urge Iran’s full co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency to avoid suspicion and misunderstanding.

5. Strongly condemn the Israeli government for its continued harassment, conviction and now prison sentence imposed on Mordechai Vanunu, for simply talking to foreign journalists. We call upon the Israeli authorities to lift all restrictions on Vanunu and allow him to go free.

Signed:

Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (UK and USA)
Campaign for a Nuclear Free Middle East (UK)
The Israeli Committee for a Middle East Free from Atomic, Biological and Chemical Weapons
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK)
Code Pink (USA)
Fellowship of Reconciliation (USA)
Global Exchange (USA)
Islamic Human Rights Commission (UK)
Just Foreign Policy (USA)
Massachusetts Peace Action (USA)
Middle East Citizens Assembly
Middle East Crisis Coalition (USA)
Muslim Association of Britain (UK)
Muslim Council of Britain (UK)
No Nuclear Weapons (Norway)
Palestinian Return Centre (UK)
Pax Christi (USA)
Peace Action (USA)
Stop the War Coalition (UK)
The 1990 Trust (UK)
United for Justice with Peace (USA)

Shirin Ebadi - Nobel Peace Prize 2003
Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams - joint Nobel Peace Prize 1976
Harold Pinter - Nobel Prize for Literature 2005
Jody Williams - Nobel Prize 1997 (Landmines Campaign)

To see the full statement separately please visit http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/2693

For more information or to contact CASMII visit http://www.campaigniran.org.

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