The Middle East might seem inhospitable territory for a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. But as long ago as 1974, the United Nations endorsed establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region, and progress toward that goal has been slow but not entirely imperceptible in the years since. Beginning after the 2010 Review Conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a vigorous diplomatic effort sought to transform a regional WMD-free zone from a far-fetched dream into—if not an immediate reality—a genuine possibility, supported by a durable process demonstrating tangible progress. But last year, after attempts to organize a conference on the zone ended in failure, progress seemed far from tangible. Below, Mansour Salsabili of Iran, Ehud Eiran of Israel, Martin Malin of the United States, and Ayman Khalil of Jordan debate how the process can be revived—and what failure to revive it would mean, both for the Middle East and for the nonproliferation regime.
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