The Arab member countries of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are seeking to get Israel condemned as a threat to the Middle East peace for having nuclear weapons, Reuters reported on Saturday.
While Israel never gave a clear statement about its nuclear abilities, experts estimate it has between 100 and 200 atomic bombs.
The Gulf state of Oman is leading the campaign in the UN.Ã‚Â On behalf of the Arab members of the IAEA, Oman wrote a letter to the agency to be submitted to the 138-member states of the Annual General Conference which will be held in Vienna next week to consider a statement strongly criticizing Israel for having nuclear weapons.
‘Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons is likely to lead to a destructive nuclear arms race in the region, especially if Israel’s nuclear installations remain outside any international control,’ the letter said.
If submitted, it will be the fifteenth of a kind the Arab states submit to the annual conference but are met with no backing since 1991.
While the IAEA fails to condemn Israel for its nuclear weapons, despite the yearly letters from the Arab countries submitted to the agency asking it to do so, the agency has harshly criticized Iran over alleged nuclear weapons possession.
Iran has repeatedly denied having nuclear weapons, claiming that its nuclear activity is used for peaceful civilian means only, specifically for generation of electricity.
Western countries have called on the IAEA board to report Iran to the United Nations Security Council, which can impose economic sanctions, over the same suspicions, Reuters reported.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East believed to possess nuclear weapons and has not signed the global pact aimed at halting the spread of atomic arms, the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
The Arab countries letter, which Iraq is not part of, criticized Israel’s refusal to sign the NPT.
‘Whereas all Arab states have acceded to the NPT, Israel continues to defy the international community by refusing to become a party to the treaty or to place its installations under the [IAEA’s] comprehensive safeguards system, thus exposing the region to nuclear risks and threatening peace,’ the text added.
The letter listed 11 UN General Assembly resolutions calling on Israel to join the NPT, and named five IAEA General Conference resolutions demanding the same thing.
‘The policies of the present Israeli government have obstructed the peace process in the Middle East and all initiatives to free the region of the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction, and in particular of nuclear weapons, have failed,’ the letter said.
On the other hand, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei has called for Israel to scrap its atomic arsenal.