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Nuclear States Defy Treaty, Up Stockpiles, Watchdog Warns

'Little hope that the nuclear-weapon-possessing states are genuinely willing to give up their nuclear arsenals'

Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Israel's Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly accusing Iran of approaching the 'red line' for nuclear development (Photo: Reuters)

Military superpowers around the world continue to steadily increase, not decrease, their nuclear weapons capabilities in defiance of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday.

"Once again there was little to inspire hope that the nuclear-weapon-possessing states are genuinely willing to give up their nuclear arsenals," said SIPRI senior researcher Shannon Kile on the institute's SIPRI Yearbook 2013 released this week. "The long-term modernization programs under way in these states suggest that nuclear weapons are still a marker of international status and power."

To start, the five reportedly "official" nuclear states under the non-proliferation treaty— US, UK, China, France, and Russia — "appear determined to retain their nuclear arsenals indefinitely," despite promises to slowly disarm the institute reports in their yearly review.

However, three states known to have have nuclear weapons that never signed the treaty—India, Israel, and Pakistan—are also expanding their stockpiles and capabilities.

Among them, SIPRI said, Israel has approximately 80 intact nuclear weapons alone, 50 for its Jericho II medium-range ballistic missiles and 30 for gravity bombs carried by aircraft.

"Israel may also have produced non-strategic nuclear weapons, including artillery shells and atomic demolition munitions," the Guardian reports.

Israel has never outwardly admitted the extent of their nuclear weapons program, but has continuously accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons, most insistently throughout the past year—while threatening military intervention.

Israel has, however, failed to provide remotely ample evidence for its accusations.

According to the report, by 2013, the eight states — the US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel — had at least 4,400 operational nuclear weapons, with 2,000 kept in a state of "high operational alert."

"If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possess a total of approximately 17,265 nuclear weapons," the Guardian reports.


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