We are close to finalizing a deal preventing nuclear weapons in Iran. But let's not stop with just this one agreement.
Let's enter into what President Kennedy called a "peace race." There are other steps needed to improve nuclear security in the Middle East and worldwide.
The director of the CTBT, Lassina Zerbo, is urging Iran to ratify the treaty to demonstrate its desire for peace. In addition, Iran hosts several stations that make up the international monitoring system for the CTBT. These stations are meant to detect secret nuclear tests across the globe.
However, the CTBT monitoring stations in Iran have not yet been activated. Iran could ratify the treaty and finish the work to activate these vital stations.
Israel has activated its monitoring stations and expressed a strong intent to ratify the CTBT. They even hosted a conference on the treaty recently.
The United States Senate can now ratify the CTBT. There is no longer a need to test explode nuclear weapons. Computers and technology are able to maintain the current U.S. arsenal.
Plus, no one wants to return to the Cold War days of international tensions over test exploding nukes. The costs of nuclear testing are massive both politically and financially.
U.S. ratification of the CTBT would encourage other holdout states including China, India and Pakistan. These neighboring nations all possess growing nuclear weapons stockpiles. We don’t want to see them resume nuke testing. North Korea, another CTBT holdout, has tested nukes while its people starve. No one wants to follow their example.
Advancing the CTBT is vital because it helps create the conditions for global nuclear disarmament. It's a step toward peace.
The United States, Iran and Israel, for all their differences, actually do share a common interest when it comes to nuke disarmament. The wasteful spending on nukes robs from the people of each nation. That cannot be sustained. That cannot be peace and progress for any society.
The risk of accidental launch or miscalculation involving nukes is another risk. Finally, the danger of nuclear terrorism is a horrific prospect which makes disarmament a very worthwhile goal.
So let’s keep our stride in this peace race. Let’s get a good agreement with Iran on the nuclear program. But let’s also ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and seize this golden opportunity to build peace and security.
Lambers is the author of Nuclear Weapons and the Road to Peace. His work has been published by numerous outlets, including the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization's official magazine called Spectrum.