The Middle East at a crossroads : how to face the perils of nuclear development in a volatile region
Title: The Middle East at a crossroads : how to face the perils of nuclear development in a volatile region
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS PP; 2013/06; Global Governance Programme
The global nuclear regime may have reached a crossroads: the state parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) have called for the establishment of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East. Failure to move forward could imperil the global nonproliferation architecture. At the same time, little thought has been given to how this regional organisation would work both internally (with its member-states) and externally (with other organisations, like the International Atomic Energy Agency - IAEA). Now that the international community and Iran have reached a deal in Geneva over a phased verification of the peaceful character of Iran’s nuclear programme, the negotiation needs to address broader regional issues. In this policy brief, we review the obstacles and windows of opportunity for a comprehensive regional nuclear settlement by drawing lessons from recent history in Europe. In particular, we draw lessons from the history of the European Community of Atomic Energy (Euratom) to suggest how a future regional organisation with jurisdiction in all aspects of nuclear development should articulate its functions with existing international organisations, like the IAEA. We also try to address the following questions: can the political provisions included in the Euratom Treaty inspire the Middle East? Are there specific technical agencies that would serve a useful role to establish trust in the Middle East? In Europe, we find that regional institutions have played a crucial role in creating trust among former warring nations. Even if more than a new regional organisation would be needed for nuclear disarmament to start in the Middle East, a Euratom-like organisation would be a great step that would allow the prevention of future crises and the possible resolution of present crises.
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