Iranian nuke update. “Iran Deal Sought to Avert Atom Pact Talks Collapse,” from Reuters, :
VIENNA (Reuters) – A 130-nation meeting on how to fix the fraying nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty faces collapse on Monday unless Iran accepts a last-minute South African proposal to overcome its objections to the agenda.
The gathering, due to run two weeks to May 11, was meant to set priorities to flesh out at follow-up annual meetings leading to the next decision-making NPT Review Conference in 2010.
But the session quickly snagged on procedural rows with a strong whiff of the standoff between Western powers and Iran over its suspected non-compliance with NPT safeguards, pre-empting debate on proposals to reinforce the treaty.
“I think a decision will come on Monday whether we will have to go home with nothing to show for this meeting … because it was taken hostage by Iran,” said a senior European diplomat.
The NPT binds members without nuclear bombs not to acquire them, guarantees the right of all members to nuclear energy for peaceful ends, and obligates the original five nuclear powers from the post-World War Two era to dismantle arsenals in stages.
Iran blamed arch-foe the United States for the impasse, accusing it of authoring an agenda text designed to single out Tehran as the main NPT offender and muzzle criticism of big powers over their slowness to phase out nuclear arsenals.
Washington has not answered Iran’s broadside and has stayed out of sparring between Western allies and Iran over its hold-up of the required consensus for the meeting’s agenda.