A WMD-Free Middle East and the Israeli Disarmament Movement

A WMD-Free Middle East and the Israeli Disarmament Movement are discussed with Sharon Dolev and Emad Kiyaei. They are Executive Director and Director, respectively, of the Middle-East Treaty Organization (METO, wmd-free.me), a non-governmental organization that is a coalition of civil-society activists and disarmament practitioners working to rid the Middle East of all weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Ms. Dolev is also the Director of the Israeli Disarmament Movement. They are interviewed by Radio Active Magazine regular Spencer Graves. 

Ms. Dolev is an Israeli Jew. Mr. Kiyaei is Iranian, born in Iran, raised in South Africa, educated in the US and living in Paris. He is a research specialist with a Master’s of International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He has contributed to the publication of two books, 14 journal papers and over a hundred articles on the geopolitics of the Middle East, including being a co-author of the 2020 book, A Middle East Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction: A New Approach to Nonproliferation (Routledge). 

Middle East Treaty Organization (METO)

In 1974, Iran and Egypt co-sponsored a resolution in the United Nations calling for the establishment of  a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. In 1990 Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak recommended expanding the scope of that effort to include all weapons of mass destruction, not just nuclear weapons. Progress seemed to accelerate after 2017 with the founding of METO, the official adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and as countries began to sign onto the TPNW. 

Draft treaty text facilitated by METO’s process was brought to the United Nations General Assembly by Egypt on 22 December 2018. The General Assembly agreed to convene annual conferences to discuss it. The first such conference was held in 2019, November 18 to 22, at UN headquarters. It was attended by all 22 members of the Arab League plus Iran and four nuclear-armed states, being China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The only regional country that did not participate was Israel. The second meeting was postponed until 2021, November 29 to December 3, because of COVID. The third conference was held 2022, November 14-18. The fourth was held 2023, November 13-17. The fifth is scheduled for 2024, November 18-22. 

Copyright 2024 Sharon Dolev, Emad Kiyaei, and Spencer Graves. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 international license

Share This Episode