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Hiroshima for Global Peace


A) Accession to the NPT

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has 191 adherents (including the Holy See and Palestine). Among the current 193 United Nations (UN) Member States, those remaining outside the NPT are: India and Pakistan, both of which tested and declared having nuclear weapons in 1998; Israel, which is widely believed to possess them; and South Sudan, which declared its independence and joined the United Nations in July 2011, and does not possess any nuclear weapons; and, arguably, North Korea. North Korea declared its withdrawal from the NPT in 2003, but there is no agreement among the states parties on North Korea’s official status. It has refused to return to the Treaty despite UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) demanding that it do so at an early date.

B) Compliance with Articles I and II of the NPT and the UNSC resolutions on non-proliferation


Since the NPT entered into force, no case of noncompliance with Articles I and II of the Treaty has been officially reported by the United Nations or any other international organization.2 However, if North Korea’s withdrawal is not interpreted as legally valid or if it acquired nuclear weapons before announcing its withdrawal from the NPT, such acquisition of nuclear weapons would constitute non-compliance with Article II. The U.S. State Department clearly stated in its 2017 report, titled “Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments,” that North Korea was in violation of its obligations under Articles II and III of the NPT and in non-compliance with its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards Agreement at the time it announced its withdrawal from the NPT in 2003.3

UNSCR 1787, adopted in October 2006, stipulates that:

[T]he DPRK shall abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, shall act strictly in accordance with the obligations applicable to parties under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the terms and conditions of its Safeguards Agreement (IAEA INFCIRC/403) and shall provide the IAEA transparency measures extending beyond these requirements, including such access to individuals, documentation, equipments and facilities as may be required and deemed necessary by the IAEA.4

The Security Council also decided that North Korea “shall abandon all other existing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programme in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.” In defiance, North Korea has failed to respond to the UN Security Council’s decisions, and has continued nuclear weapon and ballistic missile-related activities, including its sixth nuclear test in September 2017.

The year 2017 again saw the absence of any negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear program. In August 2017, U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson offered negotiations with North Korea if it surrendered its nuclear weapons. He also offered a set of four assurances, saying: “We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek the collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel.”5 In late September, Tillerson repeated his outreach effort. A day later, however, President Donald Trump undercut these efforts by tweeting: “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”6 For its part, North Korea insisted that it would not engage in dialogue unless the United States renounced its “hostile policy”; and it had no intention to negotiation over its nuclear weapons except as part of arms control talks in which the US also put its weapons on the table.7 The Six-Party Talks have not been convened since March 2007 due to North Korea’s actions contrary to the purpose of the talks and its refusal to re-commit to denuclearization. There have been positive developments between North and South Korea, however. In his New Year address of January 2018, while flaunting possession of a claimed nuclear deterrent and urging cancelation of U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises, Kim Jong-un, the Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, stated:

The north and the south should desist from doing anything that might aggravate the situation, and they should make concerted efforts to defuse military tension and create a peaceful environment. The south Korean authorities should respond positively to our sincere efforts for a detente, instead of inducing the exacerbation of the situation by joining the United States in its reckless moves for a north-targeted nuclear war that threatens the destiny of the entire nation as well as peace and stability on this land.8

Responding positively, South Korea repeated an offer to hold a bilateral high-level talks and announced that the United States and South Korea agreed to postpone their joint military exercise until after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in February-March 2018. South-North high level talks were subsequently held on January 9, 2018. In a Joint Statement they said that they agreed on: the North’s participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games; alleviation of the military tension; and resolution of the South-North issues bilaterally. However, North Korea reportedly insisted that it had no intention to discuss its nuclear issues with the South.


The E3/EU+3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom/European Union plus China, Russia and the United States) and Iran agreed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14, 2015 in Vienna.9 Since then, the IAEA has submitted quarterly reports to the Board of Governors confirming Iran’s adherence to its nuclear obligations under the JCPOA. The main points of the IAEA November 2017 report are:10

  • At the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz, there have been no more than 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges;
  • Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile has not exceeded 300 kg of UF6 enriched up to 3.67% U-235 (or the equivalent in different chemical forms). The quantity of 300 kg of UF6 corresponds to 202.8 kg of uranium;
  • Iran has not enriched uranium above 3.67% U-235;
  • Iran’s stock of heavy water was 114.4 metric tonnes. Throughout the reporting period, Iran had no more than 130 metric tonnes of heavy water;
  • Iran has accepted the IAEA safeguards;
  • Iran has continued to permit the Agency to use on-line enrichment monitors and electronic seals which communicate their status within nuclear sites to Agency inspectors, and to facilitate the automated collection of Agency measurement recordings registered by installed measurement devices;
  • Iran has continued to permit the Agency to monitor…that all uranium ore concentrate (UOC) produced in Iran or obtained from any other source is transferred to the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) at Esfahan;
  • Iran continues to provisionally apply the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement in accordance with Article 17(b) of the Additional Protocol, pending its entry into force. The Agency has continued to evaluate Iran’s declarations under the Additional Protocol, and has conducted complementary accesses under the Additional Protocol to all the sites and locations in Iran which it needed to visit.
  • The Agency’s verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments set out in Section T of Annex I continues. (Section T prohibited certain activities relevant to the development of nuclear weapons, but the JCPOA did not say how these prohibitions were to be verified.)

On the other hand, statements by the U.S. new administration raised concerns about the future of the JCPOA. President Trump criticized the agreement even before his inauguration. In March 2016, he said, “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.” Under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), the president is required to issue a certification to Congress every 90 days determining that: 1) Iran is fully implementing the JCPOA; 2) Iran has not committed a material breach; 3) Iran has not taken any action that could significantly advance a nuclear weapons program; and 4) suspension of sanctions is appropriate and proportionate to the measures taken by Iran and vital to U.S. national security interests.

President Trump issued certifications in April and July 2017. However, on October 13, after a review of the administration’s Iran policy, he decided not to certify Iran’s compliance on grounds of the fourth condition. He also claimed “Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal,” including Iran’s support for terrorism. Such certification decisions are an internal US requirement, not part of the JCPOA. Meanwhile, President Trump continued to suspend sanctions, as required by the accord. His decision not to certify triggered a 60-day period under the INARA, in which the U.S. Congress had expedited authority to reinstitute pre-JCPOA sanctions, although this period passed without any such Congressional action. In his October 13 statement, President Trump urged removal of the JCPOA’s “sunset clause,” which he said would allow Iran to conduct unrestricted nuclear activities (including enriching uranium) after a certain period. He also sought restrictions on Iran’s missile program, stating that, “in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.”11

Other parties sought to protect the JCPOA. Iran insisted that it continues to fully implement the agreement. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated, “we will not tear up the [nuclear] deal before the other party does so.”12 The EU is also determined to preserve the JCPOA.13 In addition, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano stated: “The IAEA’s verification and monitoring activities address all the nuclear-related elements under the JCPOA. They are undertaken in an impartial and objective manner and in accordance with the modalities defined by the JCPOA and standard safeguards practice…So far, the IAEA has had access to all locations it needed to visit. At present, Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime.”14

While Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani underlined that Iran’s preference is to remain in the accord, he warned that it would withdraw from the JCPOA and revive suspended nuclear activities if the United States continues “threats and sanctions” against Iran.15 He also insisted that Iran had no intention to renegotiate the JCPOA.16 Furthermore, Iran argued that its ballistic missiles were not in violation of the UN Security Council Resolution because they are not intended for delivery of nuclear warheads, and that Iran’s supreme leader has restricted the range of ballistic missiles manufactured in the country to 2,000 km, which limits their reach largely to regional Middle East targets.17 The United States was not the only state to express concern about Iran’s ballistic missiles. While France maintains its position that the JCPOA should be preserved, it said that, separate from the agreement, it wanted an uncompromising dialogue with Iran about its ballistic missiles.18


Although Article X-1 of the NPT contains some guidance on how a state can legitimately withdraw from the treaty, there remains a lack of clarity over some aspects of this process. Concerns have focused on a state choosing to withdraw from the NPT, after first acquiring nuclear weapons in violation of the Treaty. Japan, South Korea and other several Western countries have proposed measures to prevent the right of withdrawal from being abused.

In 2017, few remarkable proposals or arguments were made. At the 2015 NPT Review Conference (RevCon),19 western countries insisted that withdrawal from the NPT should be made difficult by adding several conditions, while they also acknowledged the right of states parties to withdraw. Among NWS, Chinese and Russian positions on this issue seem more cautious than those of France, the United Kingdom and the United States. Some NNWS, including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) countries, argue that there is no need to revise or reinterpret Article 10 on a withdrawal from the NPT, which is the right of all state parties.

C) Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones

Treaties establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs) have entered into force in Latin America (Tlatelolco Treaty), the South Pacific (Rarotonga Treaty), Southeast Asia (Bangkok Treaty), Africa (Pelindaba Treaty), and Central Asia (Central Asian NWFZ Treaty). In addition, Mongolia declared its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 1992, and the UNGA has been adopting a resolution entitled “Mongolia’s International Security and Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Status” every two years since 1998, in support of Mongolia’s declaration.20 All the states eligible to join the NWFZs in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Central Asia are parties to the respective NWFZ treaties.

Regarding efforts for establishing a Middle East Zone Free of WMD, the convening of an international conference, agreed at the 2010 NPT RevCon, could not be achieved before the 2015 NPT RevCon. Furthermore, at the latter RevCon, a final document was not adopted due to a lack of consensus on the language regarding that international conference. At the 2017 NPT PrepCom, Middle Eastern countries, with the notable exception of Egypt, Iran, Lebanon and Syria, urged that such a conference be held prior to the 2020 NPT RevCon.21 Russia stated: “Convening a conference on the WMDFZ remains an urgent and achievable objective in the context of implementing the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East. Preparation for this event, including achieving the agreement on all organizational modalities and substantive issues should be started as soon as possible. Russia as one of the co-sponsors of the 1995 Resolution is willing to fully support this process.”22 However, Egypt, which repeated deep dissatisfaction about the failure of its convening by 2015, has not assented to such a proposal of holding the international conference within the 2020 NPT review process period.23 The United States also criticized the proposal on grounds that “the conditions necessary for a Middle East WMD-free zone do not currently exist,” adding that “misguided attempts to coerce an outcome, or to hold the NPT review process hostage, indicate a misunderstanding of the function and purpose of weapons-free zones.”24

In 2017, the UNGA resolution, titled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East,”25 was adopted without a vote, as had happened in the past. However, few concrete measures are mentioned in the resolution.

Concerning Northeast Asia and South Asia, while initiatives for establishing NWFZs have been proposed by the private sectors in the respective regions, there is no indication that state parties in these regions are taking any serious initiative toward such a goal. Meanwhile, in its report submitted to the 2015 NPT RevCon, Mongolia expressed a willingness to “[p]lay an active role in promoting the idea of establishing a nuclear weapon-free zone in north-east Asia.”26

[1] This chapter is written by Hirofumi Tosaki.

[2] No international body is explicitly mandated with a responsibility for assessing compliance with these articles, apart from the IAEA’s safeguards verification mandate.

[3] U.S. Department of State, “Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments,” April 2017,

[4] S/RES/1718, October 14, 2006. The UN Security Council Resolution 1874 in June 2009 also demanded that North Korea “immediately comply fully with its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 1718 (2006).”

[5] “North Korea: US Not Seeking Regime Change, Says Rex Tillerson,” BBC, August 2, 2017,

[6] Peter Baker and David E. Sanger, “Trump Says Tillerson Is ‘Wasting His Time’ on North Korea,” New York Times, October 1, 2017,

[7] See, for instance, Foster Klug and Hyung-Jin Kim, “North Korea Refuses to Put Its Nuclear on the Negotiating Table,” Christian Science Monitor, July 5, 2017,

[8] “Kim Jong Un’s 2018 New Year’s Address,” January 1, 2018,

[9] “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” Vienna, July 14, 2015. JCPOA is posted on the U.S. State Department’s website (

[10] GOV/2017/48, November 13, 2017.

[11] “Remarks by President Trump on Iran Strategy,” October 13, 2017,; “President Donald J. Trump’s New Strategy on Iran,” October 13, 2017,

[12] “Khamenei: Iran Won’t Be First to Abandon Nuclear Deal,” Al-Monitor, October 18, 2017,

[13] “EU Committed to Iran Nuclear Deal,” World Nuclear News, October 16, 2017,

[14] “Statement by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano,” IAEA, October 13, 2017,

[15] Nasser Karimi, “Iranian President Threatens to Revitalize Nuclear Program,” Associated Press, August 15, 2017,

[16] “Iran Nuclear Deal Cannot Be Renegotiated: Rouhani,” Reuters, September 21, 2017,

[17] Jon Gambrell, “Iran Says Supreme Leader Limiting Ballistic Missile Range,” Associated Press, October 31, 2017,

[18] John Irish, “Despite EU Caution, France Pursues Tough Line on Iran Missile Program,” Reuters, November 15, 2017,

[19] On the arguments and proposals made at the 2015 NPT RevCon by countries surveyed in this report, see the Hiroshima Report 2016.

[20] 53/77D, December 4, 1998.

[21] NPT/CONF.2020/PC.I/WP.30, May 4, 2017.

[22] “Statement by Russia,” General Debate, First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference, May 2, 2017. See also NPT/CONF.2020/PC.I/WP.31, May 8, 2017.

[23] “Statement by Egypt,” Cluster 2, Specific Issue, First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference, May 8, 2017.

[24] “Statement by the United States,” Cluster 2, Regional Issues, First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference, May 8, 2017.

[25] A/RES/72/24, December 4, 2017.

[26] NPT/CONF.2015/8, February 25, 2015.

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