Last updated: 15 July, 2015

Iran deal to help rid region of WMDs: Arab League

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said Wednesday a historic nuclear deal between Iran and world powers is a first step to ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction.

The head of the Cairo-based pan-Arab bloc expressed hopes the accord reached on Tuesday would usher in “stability and security” in the volatile region.

Arabi also called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to declare that it has nuclear facilities.

The nuclear deal struck between Iran and six world powers in Vienna was a “first step to free the Middle East from weapons of mass destruction,” he said in a statement.

“It’s time for the international community… to stop its policy of double standards and to undertake its responsibilities by pressuring Israel to join the non-proliferation agreement as a non-nuclear state,” he added.

Arabi demanded that Israel place its nuclear facilities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Israel is widely believed to be the only country in the Middle East with atomic bombs, although it has never confirmed it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described as a “stunning, historic mistake” the nuclear deal reached on Tuesday with Iran — his country’s traditional arch enemy.

He stressed Israel would not be bound by the agreement and — again signalling that military force was not off the table — said the Jewish state would “always defend ourselves”.