The United States cannot denounce Iran’s nuclear program while accepting Israel’s possession of nuclear bombs, the Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa told the US Arab Economic Forum in Houston, Texas Wednesday.
"This will ultimately bring the Middle East to further instability and there will be an inevitable arms race", added Moussa. "We do not believe there is a good and bad nuclear program. Both are bad and all military nuclear programs or programs of weapons of mass destruction should be disallowed."
While the United States government has been challenging Iran’s apparent nuclear enrichment program in recent weeks, it has long turned a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear program, a program that is alleged to have built 30 nuclear weapons since the 1970s. Israeli authorities have publicly denied their nuclear program, but international exposure of the program by Israeli nuclear scientist Mordechai Vanunu led to his being sentenced to 18 years in prison for treason in 1986. Vanunu claims that at the Israeli Dimona nuclear plant, where he worked producing plutonium, Israel was producing far more plutonium than they were admitting to the world – and had, at that time, developed enough plutonium for at least 200 nuclear weapons.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has also stated that Israel is likely to be in possession of nuclear weapons, and has through the years adopted a number of resolutions calling for Israel to place its nuclear facilities under Agency safeguards. The Agency has also called for Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but Israel has refused to sign (along with India, Pakistan and North Korea).
In an op-ed in April for The Guardian newspaper in London, Middle East correspondent David Hirst wrote that Iran is not to blame for wanting to compete in the Middle East nuclear market, that, "In nuclear terms in the Middle East, Israel is the original sinner. Non- proliferation must be universal: if, in any zone of potential conflict, one party goes nuclear, its adversaries can’t be expected not to. No matter how long ago it was, by violating that principle Israel would always bear a responsibility for whatever happened later."
And the Israeli military analyst Ze’ev Schiff stated recently, in response to the ‘Iran question’, "There is only one way to avoid a nuclear balance of terror: to use the time left, while we [Israel] still have a monopoly in this field, to make peace … In the framework of peace, a nuclear-free zone can be established."
In his statements to the Texas Economic Conference this week, Arab League head Amr Moussa reiterated Iran’s right to operate peaceful nuclear programs under the terms of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and said the Arab-Israeli conflict is the greatest threat to instability in the Middle East.
"This conflict is the one that will make or break stability in the region," he said, "There is no doubt that this conflict cannot be resolved without the active involvement of the United States as an honest broker."
Moussa said the United States needed to acknowledge that the conflict was not a result of "terrorists" but of a military occupation by Israel. The policy of aiming for "security now and peace later" will not work, he said.
"Only the role of honest broker played by the US will save the situation, will clear and change the reputation of US policy and lessen to a large extent the frustration."