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Nuclear Iran
Iran's Natanz nuclear site

Iran’s Natanz nuclear site (AP)

Israel will end its boycott of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference in order to deal with the Iranian threat to the Middle East.

Israel will participate in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference in the United Nations for the first time in two decades. The change in policy is due to the threat of a nuclear Iran following the reaching of a framework agreement that has failed to reassure either Israel or the Arabs.

“We think that this is the time for all moderate countries to sit and discuss the problems that everyone is facing in the region,” an anonymous official told Reuters news agency.

“I see this, coming as an observer to the conference now, as trying to demonstrate our good faith in terms of having such a conversation,” he explained. “We need direct negotiations between the regional parties, a regional security conversation, a conversation based on consensus. This [attendance at the NPT conference] is meant not to change our policy. It’s meant to emphasize our policy.”

Israel, due to the constant threat to its existence, is not a signatory to the NPT and will neither confirm nor deny that it has a nuclear weapon. Former President Shimon Peres, as foreign minister in 1995, established a tradition of boycotting the NPT conferences in response to repeated anti-Israel resolutions passed against it. He indicated that Israel would consider joining the NPT and submitting to nuclear inspection, but only after reaching peace with its Arab neighbors and Iran.

Egypt, traditionally the leader of the Arab states in pressuring Israel on the nuclear issue, has indicated that it is likely to be less forceful at this particular NPT conference. “Will we go and pressure Israel [at the conference]? I don’t think so. I don’t think the pressure will be intolerable,” an Egyptian official said.

Iran, and its patron, Russia, are already gearing up for the NPT conference. Earlier this month, Iran called on nuclear states to sign a treaty increasing the pace of disarmament. In parallel. Russia accused the US of fomenting a nuclear arms race by providing anti-missile defense systems to countries threatened by Iran and Russia.

By Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel