WASHINGTON – The United States has brushed aside a suggestion that Saudi Arabia might be pursuing a nuclear weapons programme with Pakistan’s help, stating it only supports nations pursuing peaceful atomic programmes that are consistent with the highest international standards regulating safety and non-proliferation.
“I don’t think so…”, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said while responding to an Indian journalist’s question if Washington was concerned that Saudi Arabia would be pursuing a nuclear weapons programme by hosting Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The journalist pressed on and again asked if the US has concerns about talk among experts in view of recent meetings between Pakistani and Saudi Arabian political and military leaders that Riyadh may be seeking nuclear weapons, the spokesperson responded:“I don’t think – I think, again, we have supported civil – peaceful civil nuclear programmes with a number of countries. Obviously, abiding by the NPT would require that they are not moving toward a nuclear weapon,” she said.
The reason we pursue these civil nuclear arrangements under the NPT, which we have with many countries, is so that countries can reap the benefits of peaceful nuclear power by committing not to seek nuclear weapons,” Psaki said.
“So it’s actually helping countries have a source of power but they’re also abiding by several restrictions that are also in the NPT and the IAEA restrictions. So any suggestion that we are supporting or open to anything otherwise are simply inaccurate”
Speaking generally, earlier, the spokesperson explained that the United States supports “peaceful nuclear power programmes as long as they’re consistent with international obligations, including the NPT and the IAEA safeguards, and if the IAEA safeguards, I should state are fully met, and the highest international standards regulating safety, nonproliferation, export controls, and physical security are strictly followed.”
PAKISTAN HAS MORE NUKES THAN INDIA
Online adds: Pakistan had about 120 atomic weapons, 10 more than India, in its nuclear arsenal last year, according to a new interactive infographic unveiled by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Designed by the Bulletin, founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the infographic tracks the number and history of nuclear weapons in the nine nuclear weapon states.
The Nuclear Notebook Interactive Infographic provides a visual representation of the Bulletin’s famed Nuclear Notebook, which since 1987 has tracked the number and type of the world’s nuclear arsenals. Having reached a peak of over 65,000 in the late 1980s, the number of nuclear warheads has dropped significantly to a little over 10,000, but more countries now possess them, it shows.
According to the infographic, the United States and Russia both have about 5,000 weapons each. France has 300, China 250, the United Kingdom 225 and Israel 80.
North Korea has only conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
“I don’t think people truly understand just how many of these weapons there are in the world,” said Rachel Bronson, Executive Director of the Bulletin.
“The Interactive is a way to see, immediately, who has nuclear weapons and when they got them, and how those numbers relate to each other. It is a startling experience, looking at those comparisons.” The authors of the Nuclear Notebook are Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, both are with the Federation of American Scientists.
In the most recent edition of the Nuclear Notebook, the authors discuss the Notebook’s 28 year history and describe how sometimes host countries learned of foreign nuclear weapons on their soil from the Nuclear Notebook.
Over 28 years of weapons analysis, the Nuclear Notebook column has revealed surprise nuclear activity and spot-on arsenal estimates while becoming a daily resource for scholars, activists and journalists.
“We wanted a way to communicate those numbers visually, because the world we live may be data-driven, it’s also visual,” said John Mecklin, Editor of the Bulletin.
“The new infographic makes this vital information even more accessible.”