Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Recommendations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference

Delivered in Plenary - 16th January 2013

Mr President

Despite my initial misgivings, this resolution put before Parliament is broadly in line with the views of the ECR and therefore we can support it. Certainly its aspirations that the Middle East should be an area free from weapons of mass destructions are shared by all of us. In a highly charged region, heavily susceptible to conflict, the dangers of nuclear proliferation are self-evident.

Nevertheless, the demands of pragmatism and real-life diplomacy preclude an overtly prescriptive approach, hence probably the delay for such a UN conference to be convened. There can be no doubt that the most serious threat comes from Iran. The IEA continues to voice its suspicions and concerns while all the evidence suggests that they are redoubling their efforts to build a nuclear weapon in flagrant contravention of the NPT Treaty which they are signatories to. To this end EU sanctions are necessary and show signs of being effective.

The real danger that an Iranian nuclear weapon would prompt a regional arms race, with Saudi Arabia also availing itself of the technology and with Syria further in line in this unhappy nexus the risks attached to such an eventuality hardly need to be voiced here in this House, having talked about Syria today.

Nevertheless a WMD free zone in this region cannot be imposed unilaterally or uniformly. It must be an organic process that develops in accordance with regional peace and security concerns more broadly. We look forward to working with partners to achieve our common objectives and hope that an NPT conference convened this year by the UN might wield some concrete solutions to this problem.