VIENNA — The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog is asking for international input on an Arab-led push to have Israel join the Nonproliferation Treaty, in a move that adds to pressure on the Jewish state to disclose its unacknowledged nuclear arsenal.
Israel, in turn, is suggesting efforts should focus instead on giving teeth to the nuclear treaty to prevent signatories like Iran from acquiring such weapons.
On Wednesday, The Associated Press disclosed that International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano had sent a letter soliciting proposals from the agency's 151 member states on how to persuade Israel to sign the treaty. And the world's five recognized nuclear-weapons powers — the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China — reaffirmed the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East.
A string of Israeli officials, including a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the minister of atomic energy, the deputy minister of foreign affairs, the minister of strategic threats and the minister of communication, all refused to comment on the recent developments.
The latest pressure is putting the Jewish state in an uncomfortable position. It wants the international community to take stern action to prevent Iran from getting atomic weapons but at the same time brushes off calls to come clean about its own nuclear capabilities.
In his letter, Amano asked foreign ministers of the IAEA's 151 member states to share views on how to implement a resolution demanding that Israel "accede" to the Nonproliferation Treaty and throw its nuclear facilities open to IAEA oversight.
In response Thursday, an Israeli government official noted that the treaty obligating nations to stop the spread of nuclear weapons didn't stop countries like Saddam Hussein's Iraq and now Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons programs. Iran denies that accusation, which has also been made by the U.S. and other world powers. The Israeli official spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with his country's opaque nuclear policy.2. Todays opening proves my point that we will close in positive territory today as a weaker opening is one essential but this even more extreme ISEE number which will certainly rise over the course of the day does confirm it as well with the first ratio at 32. Goldman's Hatzius who gets the employment number quite well most of the time expects rather a fewer number of new jobs with 168k and even a rising number to 9.8% - I do agree the upside surprise is very limited anyway and people will not head bullish into the coming weekend hence late tomorrow we can expect selling pressure to rise again.
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