Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 9 News List

Flirting with Armageddon: Welcome to a new arms race

The threat of a dirty bomb or `conventional' nuclear strike is now greater than during the Cold War

By Paul Harris and Jason Burke  /  THE OBSERVER , London

The treaty will be reviewed this May in New York at a time when it seems no one is abiding by its provisions. It is highly likely that the issue of Iran will dominate the meeting. Indeed one senior Western European diplomat said the conference atmosphere was likely to be `poisoned' by the acrimonious debate over policy towards Tehran.

"It is a treaty concerned not only with stopping the further spread of nukes but also about their complete elimination," said Dr Stephen Pullinger, of Saferworld, an independent foreign-affairs think tank. "Instead, it is clear that none of the five declared nuclear states are thinking about abandoning their nukes for the foreseeable future," he said.

As Iran and North Korea stand in the dock in May it may well be worth remembering the Non-Proliferation Pact was meant to work both ways.

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