Obama rallies against nukes

Holds summit as U.S. seeks to rein in Iran

President Barack Obama called for the securing of all nuclear weapons materials within four years at a 47-nation conference in Washington Tuesday. The U.S. government is concerned that hundreds of tons of enriched uranium and plutonium left over from the cold war are ripe for theft from poorly secured reactors, research facilities and military bases around the world. A draft text of a communiqué to lock down the materials is being written, although its details remain sketchy. “Two decades after the end of the Cold War, we face a cruel irony of history — the risk of a nuclear confrontation between nations has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up,” said Obama, adding that a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorists would be a “catastrophe for the world.” The conference is expected to result in an agreement between Russia and Washington to reduce stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium, and follows an announcement that Ukraine will get rid of it’s enriched uranium. Obama also met with leaders to get their support for new U.N. sanctions against Iran, which has been defiant over its uranium enrichment program and supposed plan to build a nuclear bomb. However, China, which has a veto on the U.N. Security Council and will be a crucial player in the signing of any agreement, said it will only support a resolution that offers a diplomatic solution to the Iranian crisis. Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has criticized the summit as a U.S. forum to “humiliate human beings.”

New York Times

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