Hans Blix is in the IHT today, talking about the nukes that actually exist, as opposed to the ones Iran might want to build.
While it’s desirable that the foreign ministers talk about Iran, they don’t seem to devote any thought to the fact that there are still some 27,000 real nuclear weapons in the United States, Russia and other states, and that many of these are on hair-trigger alert.
He then argus in favour of the US signing the comprehensive test-ban treaty. He concludes:
A U.S. ratification of the comprehensive test-ban treaty would, in all likelihood, lead other states to ratify and bring all such tests to an end, making the development of nuclear weapons more difficult. Leaving the treaty in limbo, as has been done since 1996, is to risk new weapons testing.
The second measure would be to conclude an internationally verified agreement to cut off the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons purposes.
This would close the tap everywhere for more weapons material and would be of special importance if an agreement on nuclear cooperation with the United States were to give India access to more uranium than it has at the moment.
It is positive that the U.S. has recently presented a draft cutoff agreement, but hard to understand why this agreement does not include international inspection. Do the drafters think that the recent record of national intelligence indicates that international verification is superfluous?
Surely it would put the US in a stronger position were it to take this line?