In the wake of the historic agreement between Iran and world powers, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday called on known nuclear weapons states, including the United States and Israel, to walk the walk and begin disarming their own atomic arsenals.
Writing in the Guardian, Zarif declared: "I sincerely believe that the nuclear agreement between my country—a non-nuclear-weapon state—and the P5+1 (which control almost all nuclear warheads on Earth) is symbolically significant enough to kickstart this paradigm shift and mark the beginning of a new era for the non-proliferation regime."
"One of the many ironies of history is that non-nuclear-weapon states, like Iran, have actually done far more for the cause of non-proliferation in practice than nuclear-weapon states have done on paper," Zarif noted.
There is no public evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and assessments by multiple U.S. government agencies have concluded the country has no plans to develop one.
"Meanwhile, states actually possessing these destructive weapons have hardly even 'talked the talk,' while completely brushing off their disarmament obligations under the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and customary international law," Zarif declared, referring to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
"That is to say nothing of countries outside the NPT, or Israel, with an undeclared nuclear arsenal and a declared disdain towards non-proliferation, notwithstanding its absurd and alarmist campaign against the Iranian nuclear deal," Zarif added.
All of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the U.S., Russia, France, the U.K., and China—are known to possess nuclear weapons. Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea also posses nuclear arsenals but have not signed onto the NPT treaty.
However, in the U.S., opponents of the Iran deal, and even some supporters, have stoked fear about the alleged threat that Iran poses to the world.
"One step in the right direction," Zarif urged, "would be to start negotiations for a weapons elimination treaty, backed by a robust monitoring and compliance-verification mechanism."