Saturday, 12 May 2018

Atomic abrogation is a dangerous strategy; UK and US's egregious nuclear nonsense

Letter to The Guardian:
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson told MPs on Wednesday that a nuclear-armed Iran would “never be acceptable” to the UK, following the US withdrawal from the Iran atomic agreement (“Fears of new Gulf crisis as Trump pulls US out of Iran nuclear deal,” 9 May; )

Last month President Trump surprisingly revealed in a joint press conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Abe on 18 April: “We have to end nuclear weapons, ideally in all parts of the world” (
But on 24 April, at the United Nations in Geneva, the British disarmament ambassador told the preparatory committee meeting for the  nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT|) review conference: “the UK will maintain its nuclear deterrent for the foreseeable future. But we are a responsible nuclear weapon State. We would employ our nuclear weapons only in extreme circumstances of self-defence, including the defence of our NATO Allies.” (

Last month, The Guardian reported that Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s supreme national security council, told the same conference that Iran could leave the NPT if the US pulled out of the Iran deal.(“Iran threatens to withdraw from nuclear weapons treaty,”24 April;
Iran was the very first state to sign the NPT on 1st July 1968.
The UK’s persistently stubborn determination to remain nuclear-armed with vastly expensive WMDs despite when even the most rogue of nuclear states like North Korea are apparently prepared to  give up theirs surely makes Britain an embarrassing pariah on the world stage just at a time the government claims it wants to show  post-Brexit leadership.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday (9 May)shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry described the US abrogation of the Iran nuclear deal as “reckless diplomatic sabotage.”
She is right.

But the UK government needs to recognise it too has responsibility to protect the NPT by demonstrating  compliance with the key disarmament article 6 which commits all parties to “undertake to pursue negotiations in good faith on race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”(
Letter to The Times:
Your energy editor reporting from Sellafield (“Nuclear waste dustbin is cleaning up its act,” Business, May 8) writes that the Calder Hall reactors [at Sellafield] were built for "commercial power generation." This is inaccurate.
In fact it was clearly stated at the time of the plant’s opening, in a remarkable little book entitled Calder Hall: The Story of Britain’s First Atomic Power Station, written by Kenneth Jay, and published in October 1956 by the Government’s Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell to mark Calder’s commissioning, that:
“Major plants built for military purposes such as Calder Hall are being used as prototypes for civil plants . . . the plant has been designed as a dual-purpose plant to produce plutonium for military purposes as well as electric power . . . it would be wrong to pretend that the civil programme has not benefitted from, and is not to some extent dependent upon, the military programme."
This small error may be compared with a veritable litany of dangerous nuclear  inaccuracies spouted by President Trump in his speech in the diplomatic reception room at the White House on Tuesday,  abrogating the multilateral  Iran nuclear agreement (“Trump ditches ‘rotten’ nuclear deal with Iran,” May 9).
There are, it seems, facts and there are other, alternative facts according to President. Trump, whose Iran statement was an absolute classic case of fake news —much of it evidently made in Israel, by Prime Minister Netanyahu. No wonder he welcomed it.
Mr Trump’s speech included much egregious unsubstantiated and false nonsense, such as the brazen assertion that Iran “supports” the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. (
Diplomatic Reception Room 2:13 P.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT:  My fellow Americans:  Today, I want to update the world on our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiri


Your leading article “Nuclear Option” (May 9) suggests that the atomic agreement with Iran allowed Tehran to undermine the” rules-based international order,” as Israel and Saudi Arabia – the region’s two odd political bed fellows – claim, but in reality by abrogating this treaty, President Trump has, in fell swoop, demonstrated that the United States administration under his leadership cannot be trusted to abide by a rules-based multilateral diplomatic agreement.
President Kim in North Korea will have taken note as he prepares for his nuclear summit with Mr Trump.


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