The 65-nation Conference on Disarmament broke a dozen years of deadlock Friday and opened the way to negotiate a new nuclear arms control treaty.
Diplomats welcomed the adoption of a “program of work” as a breakthrough for the conference, which has been stalemated since it wrote the nuclear test ban treaty in 1996.
The program refers to nuclear disarmament in general, but it indicates a top candidate for a new treaty is one to ban production of so-called “fissile materials” – highly enriched uranium and plutonium – needed to create atomic weapons.
Ambassador Idriss Jazairy of Algeria, who as chairman of the conference pushed for adoption of the program, said the breakthrough came in part because of support by the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China.
“Terrific result,” British Ambassador John Duncan wrote in a tweet on the Twitter micro-blogging site. He credited Jazairy with “getting international work on nuclear disarmament restarted in Geneva.”
Gunmen attack campaign office
Pre-election tensions rose in Iran’s religiously and ethnically mixed southeast on Friday as gunmen opened fire on the president’s campaign office and a radical group claimed responsibility for the bombing of a mosque the previous night that killed up to 23 people and injured scores of others.
Iranian authorities blamed the United States for the violence.
“The hands of America and Israel were undoubtedly involved in this incident,” prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami told supporters in Tehran, referring to the bombing Thursday.
The gunmen who opened fire on the re-election campaign headquarters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the provincial capital of Zahedan stormed in and ripped up campaign literature and injured as many as three people, according to Iranian news agencies.
From wire reports