The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970, recognizes five states as legitimate holders of nuclear weapons; the U.S., Russia, the UK, France and China. By signing the NPT, these states agreed to gradually disarm and share peaceful nuclear technology with the world. In exchange, all other states committed to forgo nuclear weapons development and accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) observation of all of their nuclear activities. India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea are the only four recognized sovereign states not parties to the treaty. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, NPT standards are obsolete, and rapid growth in the number of nuclear facilities world-wide has made it difficult for the IAEA to achieve its mission. Joschka Fischer of Project Syndicate says that the NPT permits the development of all nuclear components indispensable for military use—particularly uranium enrichment—so long as there is no outright nuclear weapons program. This means that in emerging nuclear countries only a single political decision is required to “weaponize” a nuclear program.
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