A Swedish think-tank reports the possession of over 20,500 nuclear weapons by eight nuclear states, including Israel, with 5,000 of them all ready for instant use.
“More than 5,000 nuclear weapons are deployed and ready for use, including nearly 2,000 that are kept in a high state of alert,” the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its annual report on Tuesday, AFP reported.
SIPRI added that the Israeli regime, along with the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, and Pakistan stockpiled more than 20,500 nuclear warheads by the end of 2010. The number, according to the think-tank, is 2,000 fewer than in year 2009.
“The nuclear weapons states are modernizing and are investing in their nuclear weapon establishments, so it seems unlikely that there will be any real nuclear weapon disarmament within the foreseeable future,” SIPRI Deputy Director Daniel Nord said.
Nord added that Washington plans to invest $92 billion to expand its nuclear arsenal in the next 10 years.
SIPRI also warned against a nuclear race between India and Pakistan, saying the two neighboring rivals are continuing to expand their nuclear weapons capacity.
Additionally, Nord expressed concerns over speculations of possible military attacks by the US or Israel against Iran’s civilian nuclear sites.
“The risk is not that Iran will use nuclear weapons,” he emphasized, but rather “what will be the consequences when the concerned states like Israel or the United States decide that they will have to intervene and do something about the program in Iran.”
Amid the West’s standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, both Tel Aviv and Washington have repeatedly threatened Tehran with a military strike.
They justify the saber-rattling by repeating unverified allegations that Iran’s nuclear work may consist of a covert military agenda claims the Islamic Republic has strongly rejected.
In a Tuesday press conference, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad criticized a number of Western countries for manipulating Iran’s nuclear case merely as a “political ploy” and said, “I am repeating that Iran’s nuclear train has no brakes and no reverse gear.”
“The West, the US and its allies in particular, are not interested in independence and advancement of nations… This is the reason behind their hostility toward us,” he added.
The Iranian president further reiterated that no offer by the P5+1 countries – Russia, China, France, Britain, the US plus Germany can persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium.
“Centrifuge machines are currently working while new generations of centrifuges are under development,” he said, noting that no “technical problems” exist in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
Iran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and within the framework of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which it is a signatory.
Israel, widely believed to be the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East with over 200 undeclared nuclear warheads, pursues a policy of “deliberate ambiguity” on its nuclear program.
Tel Aviv has rejected global demands to join the NPT and does not allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to observe its controversial nuclear program.
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