Establishment of Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone draws support

The creation of a Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone drew recent support from European and Middle East countries and a new round of talks could occur in early spring in Helsinki, Finland.

Hans Blix, an expert on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, said that establishing a MENWFZ could promote global disarmament, strengthen the NPT and aid the Middle East peace process, the Khaleej Times reports.

"European countries are putting pressure to initiate a nuclear weapon free zone," Blix said, according to the Khaleej Times. "Israel and Iran can simultaneously scale down their nuclear programs if this conference will lead to a serious accord."

Blix said that a weapon free zone is favored by all the Middle East countries and that the only remaining question is which country will take the initiative.

Blix said that Iran has shown a willingness to cooperate with non-proliferation to reduce sanctions levied against them.

"We believe that the sanctions have already hurt Iran as they have largely reduced Iran's revenues," Blix said, according to the Khaleej Times. "Iran suspended 20 percent of its uranium enrichment in November to have Western-imposed sanctions lifted, and it became a positive step from Iran."

Blix said that while big challenges lie ahead for nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear weapon states such as the U.S., U.K., France, Russia and China are currently negotiating for nuclear disarmament. The U.S. and Russia are taking steps to dismantle their nuclear weapons, though the time frame may be unrealistic for them to complete the task, the Khaleej Times reports.