MOSCOW, September 27. /TASS/. Washington has essentially axed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) by refusing to ratify it, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov stated during a press conference on Friday.
"As for the prospects of the CTBT, they are currently bleak. I would like to recall that without the ratification of the treaty by 44 countries with the most developed nuclear industry, it cannot enter into force. As of now, eight states have not ratified it, including the USA, the only country that stated that it would not ratify the CTBT. With this decision, the Americans have essentially axed the treaty, perhaps, for good," he said.
Ulyanov condemned this move as irresponsible. "At the same time, they are enforcing decisions, according to which nuclear testing grounds must be ready to resume work. <…> All this creates a very unfavorable climate, making the prospects very bleak," the diplomat said.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was approved by the UN General Assembly on September 24, 1996. It prohibits any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion anywhere in the world. The ban applies to all spheres (in the atmosphere, in outer space, under water and underground) and is full and comprehensive. Up until now, the treaty has been ratified by 166 countries, including Russia. However, it did not enter into force, as it was not ratified by the United States, China, Egypt, Israel and Iran, while India, Pakistan and North Korea have not signed it.
Use of advanced centrifuges by Iran
The advanced centrifuges Iran uses for uranium enrichment de-facto violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the Iranian nuclear program, but in the current situation Tehran has the right to completely or partially terminate compliance with its nuclear deal commitments, Russia’s envoy told the news conference.
"Iran’s steps are forced ones, because in fact the United States leaves it with no other option," Ulyanov said. He pointed out that instead of "violations" it might be more appropriate to speak about "departures" or "deviations." "Although de facto these steps disagree with the JCPOA provisions," he agreed.
Ulyanov recalled that the JCPOA had two articles — 26 and 36 — which Tehran was now referring to and which were quite applicable to the current situation. "They say that if any of the deal’s participants demonstrates considerable non-compliance with its obligations, Iran will have the right to decide to terminate its own commitments, completely or partially," Ulyanov explained. "Gross default on its obligations by the United States and the inability of the other participants in the deal, European first and foremost, to compensate for the economic losses create prerequisites for Iran to make use of the aforesaid clauses."