UNITED NATIONS, May 2: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday called on non-nuclear states like Iran not to fall prey to nuclear temptation and on the United States and Russia to cut back more sharply on their nuclear arsenal. “All must work toward “a world of reduced nuclear threat and, ultimately, a world free of nuclear weapons,” Mr Annan said as he opened a month-long Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York.

Mr Annan urged Washington and Moscow “to commit themselves — irreversibly — to further cuts in their arsenals, so that warheads number in the hundreds, not the thousands.”

“But you must go further. Many states still live under a nuclear umbrella, whether of their own or an ally. Ways must be found to lessen, and ultimately overcome, their reliance on nuclear deterrence,” he added.

The UN chief underscored: “The obligation therefore falls on all states –-nuclear and non-nuclear alike -– to increase transparency and security. Indeed, unless all states recognize that disarmament, like non-proliferation, requires action from everyone, the goal of general and complete disarmament will remain a distant dream.”

“Some of the initial steps are obvious. Prompt negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty for all states is vital and indispensable. All states should affirm their commitment to a moratorium on testing, and to early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.

The high-level panel has also wisely endorsed the recommendation that all nuclear weapon states should de-alert their existing weapons, and give negative security assurances to the non-nuclear weapon states,” he said.

“Unless all states recognize that disarmament like non-proliferation requires an action from everyone, the goal of general and complete disarmament will remain a distant dream,” Mr Annan told the delegates.

The UN chief said states such as Iran “must not insist” on possessing such sensitive technology domestically, but should have international access to nuclear fuel.

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