Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction. They cause massive casualties and immense human suffering. This is not mere conjecture. In the waning days of the Second World War (August 1945), the US dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Even after seeing the devastation caused by the bombing of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945), the Americans decided to drop another atomic bomb on Nagasaki three days later.
The casualties were horrendous. Most of the dead were civilians. The two cities had no military significance. The Americans deliberately chose to target them. They wanted to test the destructive capacity of atomic bombs and to spread terror among the Japanese who were already on the verge of surrender.
Racism also played a major part in American war crimes. The US did not drop an atomic bomb on Germany, the major culprit in starting the Second World War. The Germans were white, the Japanese were not. Non-white life has little value. It was true then and it is true today.
In 1945, the US was the only country that possessed nuclear weapons. Soon, others joined the nuclear club. Today, eight countries have acknowledged that they possess nuclear weapons: the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Israel also possesses between 80–400 nuclear weapons but it refuses to acknowledge their existence, just as it refuses to acknowledge possession of chemical weapons.
Aware that nuclear weapons pose a serious risk to human existence, in July 1968, the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) was signed. It came into effect on March 5, 1970. Today 191 countries have signed the NPT including five of the eight declared nuclear weapons’ states: the US, Russia, Britain, France and China. The NPT’s aim is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Iran is also a signatory but not Israel.
Aware that the Middle East is a cauldron of conflicts that could lead to the eruption of major wars, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 7, 2020 called upon Israel “not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons.” The resolution titled, “The Risk of Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East” was supported by 153 countries while six countries including Canada opposed it.
The UNGA further called on Israel “to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and to place all its un-safeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope Agency safeguards as an important confidence-building measure among all States of the region and as a step towards enhancing peace and security.” The Zionist state has stubbornly refused to do so.
Over the years, countries in the region including Islamic Iran and Egypt have called for a nuclear-free Middle East. Israel and the US have adamantly opposed such calls despite the fact that the US is a signatory to the NPT.
In addition to the UN call for Israel to open its nuclear facilities for international inspections, the UNGA on December 7 also voted 174-2, with one abstention, on a resolution that called for a nuclear free zone in the Middle East. Only Israel and the United States opposed it, with Cameroon abstaining.
These facts are important to bear in mind because the US is in the forefront of a campaign targeting Iran accusing it of trying to “acquire” nuclear weapons. While Iran’s leadership has repeatedly stated that possession of nuclear weapons is haram (forbidden) in Islam because these are weapons of mass destruction, the US and Israel continue to parrot this vicious lie.
Washington has also imposed wide-ranging sanctions on the Islamic Republic causing mass suffering. Israeli rulers have since 1996 peddled the lie that Iran is on the verge of acquiring a nuclear bomb. The scandal-plagued Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even displayed a ludicrous diagram at the UN in September 2012 purportedly to show Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons. Such amateurish display of theatrics exposed Zionist propaganda rather than the reflection of reality. Israeli agents are also guilty of assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists, the latest of which was the assassination of Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on November 27, 2020.
The NPT further calls for the elimination of all nuclear weapons but the US and its allies as well as Zionist Israel oppose such moves. Since 1945, nuclear weapons have become much more lethal. Only a few bombs could destroy virtually all habitat and life on earth. While Western states refuse to abide by their own crafted rules about nuclear weapons, they are adamantly opposed to Muslims acquiring them.
Prior to Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May 1998 in response to India’s test of such weapons, Islamabad was under punishing US sanctions. It was accused of making an “Islamic” bomb! There was never any mention of a Christian, Hindu or Jewish bomb; only an “Islamic” bomb. Weapons of mass destruction also acquired religion!
No sanctions were ever imposed on India that carried out its first nuclear test on May 18, 1974. It was called a “peaceful” nuclear explosion! Ditto Zionist Israel that has not only been shielded from international opprobrium, its nuclear program has been helped and financed by the West. Not only the US but also France and Britain have been complicit in helping Israel to acquire nuclear know-how and possess such weapons, in violation of their own commitments under the NPT.
Today, Islamic Iran is targeted based on a false accusation. It has been subjected to cruel sanctions that have caused massive suffering to its people. There is no limit to the Western rulers’ hypocrisy over the question of nuclear weapons as indeed most other policies related to Muslims.
Zafar Bangash is Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought