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08 October 2017, 12:29 | Tara Lloyd
Are Nuclear Weapons Illegal? Yes, but It Doesn't Matter
ICAN is also warning of the dangers posed by President Trump's plans to tear up the Iran nuclear arms deal, at a time when the Middle East nation is complying with its obligations.
Beatrice Fihn said ICAN founders were also inspired to establish the group following the success of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which won the Nobel Prize in 1997.
"I don't think we have unrealistic expectations that tomorrow nuclear weapons will be gone", Fihn said. We must realize that the consequences of use of just one nuclear weapon in a city are totally unacceptable, tens or hundreds of thousands or even more lives lost.
Through ICAN's work, she said, the campaign has "helped fill the legal gap".
The committee cited the tiny, Geneva-based ICAN for its work that led to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons reached in July at the United Nations.
In 2015, Tehran signed a deal agreeing to inspections and promising that it would use nuclear technology only for energy or other civilian purposes in exchange for the lifting of worldwide sanctions.
Separately, Trump plans to "decertify" Iran's compliance with an global agreement that limits its nuclear program, a step that European allies worry could lead to nuclear proliferation.
This is Helfand's second brush with the prestigious honor; he is co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. More interesting than who signed the treaty, however, is who didn't.
At a meeting of the First Committee - the United Nations panel tasked with handling disarmament issues - North Korean Ambassador Ja Song Nam suggested that Pyongyang "agrees with the primary focus" of the nuclear weapons ban treaty but can not accede to it because of Washington's "nuclear threat and blackmail".
The disarmament movement, he said, is at a "dead stop" with 15,000 nuclear weapons in the hands of leaders such as Trump, Kim and Russia's Vladimir Putin.
"This treaty will not make the world more peaceful, will not result in the elimination of a single nuclear weapon, and will not enhance any state s security", a State Department spokesman toldAFP.
The reliance on nuclear weapons is controversial in Germany, however, and it was a key campaign issue in the lead-up to last month's election there.
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Nuclear powers around the world repeated their opposition to efforts to ban the weapons after the Nobel announcement Friday.
"Following the introduction of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the test of a responsible nuclear weapons power will be its commitment to present concrete plans for progressing towards a world without nuclear weapons".
"So as a outcome, having the Nobel Peace Prize in the mix, I worry that it will not be helpful to bridging that divide", says Izewicz.
The U.S. put special pressure to oppose the treaty on its allies in NATO, an alliance that depends at its core on a policy of nuclear deterrence - the threat of retaliation in kind for any nuclear attack by an enemy. "Japan should play the role of connecting them", he said.
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