Iraq ratifies the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Vienna, 26 September 2013

The Republic of Iraq has ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), raising the number of countries that have adhered fully to the Treaty to 161. The ratification was formalized on the eve of the Article XIV Conference on 27 September at the United Nations headquarters in New York, which aims to accelerate the entry into force of the CTBT. "I congratulate Iraq for this important step. Iraq's commitment to relinquish the most devastating kind of weapons by banning nuclear explosions is a powerful symbol of peace, and inches us closer towards the realization of a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East," said Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). “Because of our sincere desire to rid the Middle East of the menace of nuclear weapons, Iraq is keen to contribute to global efforts to enhance an international system for disarmament and the non-proliferation of WMD” said Hoshyar Zebari, Foreign Minister of Iraq.

Iraq signed the CTBT on 19 August 2008. It has participated frequently in the CTBTO’s activities, such as experts’ workshops aimed at enhancing cooperation with national authorities. Iraq’s ratification is a significant step forward for the Treaty in the Middle East, where Egypt, Israel, Iran, and Yemen have not yet ratified the CTBT, while Saudi Arabia and Syria remain outside as non-signatories. On a global level, adherence to the Treaty is almost universal. To enter into force, however, it must be signed and ratified by 44 specific States. These States participated in the CTBT negotiations in the 1990s and possessed nuclear power or research reactors at the time. Thirty-six of these States have ratified the Treaty, including the three nuclear weapon possessors France, Russia and the United Kingdom. The remaining eight States are: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States. Arabic translation of this Press Release can be located here

The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions. 183 States have signed the Treaty of which 161 have now also ratified it. A worldwide monitoring system is being built to ensure that no nuclear explosion will go undetected. When complete, 337 facilities will monitor underground, the oceans and the atmosphere for any sign of a nuclear explosion. Over 85% of this system has already been established and is sending data to the CTBTO’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria, for processing, analysis, and distribution to signatory States.

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