Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Iran says U.S. nuclear policy brings world 'closer to annihilation'

US soldiers seen during a military exercise near the border between South and North Korea last year US soldiers seen during a military exercise near the border between South and North Korea last year
Glenn Montgomery | 05 February, 2018, 06:26

China's Defense Ministry hit back Sunday, describing the report as "presumptuous speculation".

Avoidance of "automaticity", a system where there is an automated retaliation in the form of a nuclear strike, and the need for new low-yield nuclear weapons are among the highlights of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) of the U.S. government released over the weekend. Low-yield weapons with a strength of under 20 kilotons are less powerful but are still devastating. John Rood, Undersecretary of Defence for Policy, said: "There is no automaticity to this policy", when asked how the U.S. would manage responses to cases of "extreme circumstances".

Asking the United States to discard its "cold- war mentality" and take a fair view on China's military development, Beijing on Sunday criticised a Pentagon report that cast the Communist giant as "a major challenge" to America's interests in Asia. It overturns years of Obama-era policy that sought to reduce the size and power of the United States' nuclear arsenal. Modifying some submarine-launched nuclear warheads to give a lower-yield detonation.

The report said the United States strategy for China is created to "prevent Beijing from mistakenly concluding that it could secure an advantage through the limited use of its theatre nuclear capabilities or that any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is acceptable".

It said China and Russian Federation had "added new types of nuclear capabilities to their arsenals, increased the salience of nuclear forces in their strategies and plans, and engaged in increasingly aggressive behaviours, including in outer space and cyberspace".

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed "deep disappointment" at the plan.

Soon after, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was "disappointed" by the document for its "confrontational and anti-Russian character", while Iran claimed US policy would bring the world "closer to annihilation".

China has followed Russian Federation in criticizing a recent United States government report which describes the two countries as potential nuclear threats, saying Washington needs to drop its "cold war mentality".

The statement also stressed that "China firmly adheres to the peaceful path of development and defensive nature of state policy, strictly complies with its obligations to implement the principle of never and under no circumstances using nuclear weapons first, as well as of never using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against states without nuclear capacity and in nuclear-weapon-free zones", reported Sputnik.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif argued the proposals were in violation of the worldwide nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

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