WASHINGTON: The United States said Friday it has no intention of signing a nuclear weapons ban treaty backed by this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, while insisting on its commitment to “creating the conditions for nuclear disarmament.”
“This treaty will not make the world more peaceful, will not result in the elimination of a single nuclear weapon, and will not enhance any state’s security,” a State Department spokesman told AFP, stressing that none of the world’s nuclear-armed powers had backed the text.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which the Nobel committee rewarded for its efforts to consign the atomic bomb to history, was a key player in the treaty’s adoption by 122 countries at the UN in July.
Nobel Prize sends a nuclear message to Trump
Nobel committee spurned an opportunity to celebrate the Iran nuclear deal, but still found a way to send a message to US President Donald Trump.
Trump is a stern critic of the 2015 accord, and US officials say that he intends to tell the US Congress next week that Tehran is not honoring its side of the bargain.
He is also engaged in a perilous game of brinksmanship with nuclear-armed North Korea, threatening “fire and fury” and exchanging insults with young dictator Kim Jong-Un.
Some supporters of the deal had hoped the jury would honor the architects of the Iran deal and in doing so send a message to Trump about the power of diplomacy.
In the end the committee chose not to provoke Trump by handing prizes to Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif or former US secretary of state John Kerry.
But in celebrating the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) they sent a strong message about the world’s concerns about nuclear escalation.
“The message that has been communicated is a more subtle indirect messaging,” said Melissa Dalton, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“It’s potentially a message and an encouragement to uphold the JCPOA as a commitment that the US has made with allies to non-proliferation,” she said, referring to the Iran deal.
ICAN is a global civil society movement pushing for a global treaty to ban nuclear arms, one that was signed by 122 countries — although none with such weapons — in July.
Speaking in Geneva, ICAN head Beatrice Fihn made an explicit link between the award and concerns about Trump’s attitude to the Iran deal and non-proliferation efforts.
Next week, Trump is expected to announce he is “decertifying” Iran’s compliance with the 2015 agreement it signed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Officials insist that this will not sink the deal itself but open the way for Congress to possibly develop new measures to punish other aspects of Iran’s behavior.