Dr Blix, you are a respected figure with a wealth of expertise in the international field, particularly on nuclear issues and on the capacity of inspections. What are your thoughts on the current state of non-proliferation?
I think that the non-proliferation effort that started with Kennedy and the Soviets has been a success. We do not have dozens of nuclear weapon states. We have nine. And we don’t really see anyone around the corner at present. There has been success on that score but the Non-Proliferation Treaty has been a total failure on Article 6, where nuclear weapons states committed themselves to work toward and negotiate nuclear disarmament. These states talk about the step-by-step approach as being the only way forward. Well, we have the step-by-step process but it’s heading backwards.
For instance, look at the Ban Treaty. I think the reaction of NATO countries, in particular the United States, has been excessive; the technical objections they raise are strained. The real objection is that the Treaty bans the production, use, and handling of nuclear weapons without exception. The nuclear weapons states are attached to the Non-Proliferation Treaty because it legitimises the possession of their nuclear weapons. I am not saying that it is not valuable to commit States to non-proliferation. But the absolution, the toleration, the legitimatisation of nuclear weapons [that they believe NPT provides] is of value to them. It is desirable that we continue to delegitimise nuclear weapons. Even with the present possessors of weapons we need to maintain they are illegitimate and cannot be used.
You wrote for the European Leadership Network not long ago on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and said that many arguments made against it were tenuous. Given where we are currently with the US withdrawal, what are your thoughts on the debate surrounding Iran and the nuclear deal?
First, I feel it is important to say that the US is getting away with claiming they are withdrawing from an agreement – it was not an agreement. The Joint Plan of Action was not signed, nor termed a treaty or agreement because that could never be submitted to the US Senate. It was very deliberate. A deal was agreed between countries and given its legal binding force by the Security Council. Läs intervun