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Science, People & Politics ISSN 1751598 (online) Issue One (JANUARY - MARCH)

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weapons, or to gain control over them. The rest of the Treaty is about nuclear disarmament, oversight, ongoing effort toward full implementation of the NPT, and fair access to the benefits of nuclear power in civilian applications. Interestingly there is a provision to withdraw from the NPT.

  • Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country.
  • An extract from Article 10 of the NPT

If a party does want to withdraw for extraordinary reasons they are to provide a statement of how those reasons jeopardise their supreme interests.

Every five years Parties to the Treaty meet to push closer to full implementation of the Treaty. UN websites report that on those occasions when an agreement of some sort has not been reached during one of these five-yearly events it is often because the nuclear-weapons States have not done enough to attain disarmament, as required by the Treaty.

Nuclear-free regional zones have come to form part of the global NPT plan, encouraged by UN General Assembly Resolutions, such as that covering the Middle East (4).

Negotiations with Iran - which reached their successful diplomatic conclusion last month, therefore fit into the UN direction of travel.

Resolution 2231 was drafted immediately after Iran (The Islamic Republic of Iran) reached an agreement on 14th July 2015 with the countries known as the E3 + 3, namely China, France, Germany, The Russian Federation, UK, US and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Meeting in Vienna these countries finalised the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which they had been negotiating since 2013 (5).

Issues covered in the JCPOA, which Resolution 2231 gave international legal strength to, include an upgrade of the Arak heavy water research reactor, agreement to export excess heavy water, enrichment capacity, gas centrifuge research and development, and Uranium stocks and fuels. Iran has stated also its interest in developments of light water reactors.

Now the hard fought negotiations are done, and implementation of a regionally crucial agreement is underway, with the full formal backing of the United Nations (6).


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Published Friday 26th February, 2016
22.00 GMT

Minor corrections within 24hrs, and final publication in line with Science, People & Politics's policy 27th February, 2016 at 13.45 GMT


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