Arab diplomats to pressure Israel over alleged nuclear program at upcoming IAEA gathering

( While Iran’s nuclear program forges ahead, Arab diplomats from 18 nations plan to pressure Israel over its alleged nuclear program at September’s International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) annual meeting at the United Nations.

The Negev Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, Israel. Credit: Space Imaging Middle East.

A letter the Arab diplomats addressed to IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano asked for “Israeli nuclear capabilities” to be included on the agenda for the September gathering, according to the website of the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Israel’s ambassador to the IAEA, Ehud Azoulay, called the Arab initiative “counterproductive” and said it was aimed at “bashing Israel,” Reuters reported. Israel maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity over its program—believed to have been developed during the 1960s—and is also the only country in the region that is not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But attempts by Arab states to pressure Israel over the nuclear issue have failed in the past due to the efforts of the U.S. and other Western allies, who see greater nuclear-related dangers in the region—namely, Iran’s nuclear program.

Last month, the IAEA’s Amano said that Iran is continuing to make “steady progress” on its nuclear program, despite economic sanctions by the West.

“There is a steady increase of capacity and production [in Iran’s nuclear program],” Amano said. When asked about the impact of sanctions, he said, “I don’t think so... I don’t see any impact.”

Posted on July 10, 2013 .