Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 1, 2006

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Assessing 'Rights' under Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
Royce Schedules Thursday Oversight Hearing
 

BACKGROUND - The value of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is being increasingly questioned as countries such as Iran assert their "rights" to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium.  Many are asking what is the value of the Treaty if countries can acquire or develop the technology to produce fissile material for weapons legally within its framework, seemingly mocking its nonproliferation intent.  Iran, having broken off negotiations with the EU-3, is now progressing with uranium enrichment efforts, asserting that it has this right under the NPT.  The EU-3 and the U.S. have argued that peaceful nuclear energy activities must be conducted in accordance with Article II and Article III obligations, and since Iran has violated those obligations, it no longer has this right.  Interestingly though, most observers believe that Iran would have the right to develop the full nuclear fuel cycle had it done so transparently, in accordance with its safeguards obligations.  North Korea, having withdrawn from the NPT in 2003, also argues it has a right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, namely power reactors.  The issue of what nuclear activities should be permissible under Article IV of the NPT is of central importance to the pressing nuclear diplomacy with Iran and North Korea, and the very future of the Treaty.  This hearing will examine the issue of “rights” under the NPT, furthering the attention the Subcommittee gave to this important issue last April during its "Previewing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference" hearing.  What are these rights?  How might they be modified?  What are the implications of the common interpretation of rights for any nuclear negotiations with Iran and North Korea?  To what extent is the NPT being undermined?  What is the value of the NPT if its obligations are in dispute?  What is the U.S. position on the "rights" issue?   

WHAT:                             Oversight Hearing:
                  Assessing 'Rights' under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Trea
                  Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation
                  U.S. Rep. Edward R. Royce (R-CA), Chairman

WHEN:                             2 p.m., Thursday, March 2, 2006

WHERE:                          Room 2200 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:                   Mr. Henry D. Sokolski,
                 
Executive Director, Nonproliferation Policy

                  Education
Center; and

                  Mr. Baker Spring,
                 
F.M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy,
                  The
Heritage Foundation; and

                  Mr. Eldon Greenberg
,
                  Attorney.

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