The FINANCIAL — Accoridng to RIA Novosti, the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is opening in the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday as disputes continue on Iran's nuclear program.
The United States and other Western countries suspect Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear energy program and are seeking new sanctions following Iran's move to enrich uranium to 20%. This is likely to be one of the main focuses of the conference.
The Iran Six (France, Britain, Germany, the United States, Russia and China) began on April 19 discussing the text of a draft resolution imposing sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear program.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton will be the key figures on the agenda of the conference's first day.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov is to address the forum on May 4.
The NPT is an international agreement on control over the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. It fixes the right of all member states to research, produce and use nuclear power for civilian purposes. All UN members except Israel, India, North Korea and Pakistan are signatories to the NPT.
NPT review conferences are held each five years. The last one, in 2005, was a failure as the countries failed to adopt a single declaration due to numerous differences.
As regards Israel, its closed nuclear program and the country's unwillingness to join the NPT cause concerns worldwide.
Tel Aviv, which, according to many experts, has nuclear weapons, has neither officially confirmed nor denied this. The country's refusal to join the treaty has made the international community think the suspicions are true.
But Israel does not come under international sanctions as it is under the protection of its key ally — the United States whose foreign policy is to a large extent defined by the interests of influential Jewish organizations.
Ahmadinejad is expected to touch upon the issue, once again raising the question why Israel is allowed to have what is believed to be a secret nuclear weapons program and not join the NPT, whereas Iran, an NPT signatory, is being constantly talked out of having a civilian nuclear program of its own.