Iran will only participate in the upcoming Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (MENWFZ) conference in Finland if Israel becomes a member to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Islamic Republic’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday. Ali Asghar Soltanieh made the comments in Moscow, at a preliminary meeting for the December conference.
“Despite the current complicated situation in the region, we are still supporting the idea of the Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone,” he said, adding that such a conference was first proposed by Iran in 1974, according to the Tehran Times.
Soltanieh expressed doubt at the meeting that Israel would accede to the NPT.
A total of 190 countries, including Iran, have signed the NPT, which entered into force in 1970. The Islamic Republic, however, has been repeatedly found in noncompliance with the treaty, as its nuclear program remains in dispute. Three states — Israel, India and Pakistan — have never signed the treaty.
In 1996, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East. The conference in Helsinki in December is meant to address the implementation of the resolution’s principles.