Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons Enters Force, But No Nuclear-Armed Power Signed It

The Biden administration is expected to review some of the costly nuclear weapons modernization programs begun under the Trump administration, which include new missiles, bombs, warheads, bombers, and submarines.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons officially entered force on Friday, making it illegal for any country to possess nuclear armaments. However, none of the nine countries known to have nuclear weapons have agreed to the treaty.

At the time, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) nonprofit claimed that “with the treaty’s entry into force, we can call nuclear weapons what they are: prohibited weapons of mass destruction, just like chemical weapons and biological weapons.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised the treaty, saying in a video posted on social media on Friday that “the elimination of nuclear weapons remains the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations. The Secretary-General calls on all States to work together to realize this ambition to advance common security and collective safety.”

However, not a single country known to possess nuclear weapons has signed the treaty. Those nations are the United States, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, France, People’s Republic of China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In a strange twist, the only country to have actually been the target of a nuclear attack, Japan, also opposed the treaty as unworkable, although Tokyo has also renounced the use of such weapons. In the final days of the Second World War, the US dropped two nuclear bombs on Japanese cities – one on Hiroshima and a second on Nagasaki – annihilating them and killing more than 150,000 people.

Reports have also emerged that the Biden transition team has secretly been engaged in talks with the Iranian government for weeks to find a path to returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a 2015 deal by which the international community lowered sanctions against Iran in exchange for it giving up its nuclear weapons program. Trump claimed Iran had violated the deal and he unilaterally withdrew from it, bringing back sanctions against Iran even though no other signatory to the agreement found evidence to support Trump’s claims. Tehran denies it seeks a nuclear weapon.


Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons Enters Force, But No Nuclear-Armed Power Signed It

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