Post-START treaty, US to confront threat of terrorists acquiring nukes

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Washington, Apr.9 (ANI): After inking a revised START Treaty with Russia in Prague, US President Barack Obama has said that his administration will redouble efforts to stop the threat of nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terror groups like Al Qaeda or rogue states like Iran who don't respect any treaties.

"I think it is a serious threat. It's a low probability with a very high consequence. And because of that, we need to be doing all that we can to make it very difficult and next to impossible that terrorists can get their hands on materials that will allow them to wreak unparalleled destruction," said Kingston Reif, deputy director of non-proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

At a panel discussion on nuclear reduction, former CIA agent Valerie Plame said Thursday that "draining the swamp" is the only way to keep nukes out of the hands of terrorists.

Former U.S. Ambassador Richard Burt noted that the treaty only takes a "very small step toward further reductions. I think the importance of the treaty is broader in terms of putting the U.S.-Russian arms control process on track again, and it's been off track for nearly a decade."

Burt said the U.S. should not completely rid itself of its nuclear weapons because of the possibility of Iran getting its hands on nuclear weapons and sparking a nuclear arms race.

The pact between the U.S. and Russia commits the nations to slash the number of strategic nuclear warheads by one-third and more than halve the number of missiles, submarines and bombers carrying them.

The pact will shrink the nuclear warhead limit to 1,550 per country over seven years, about a third less than the 2,200 currently permitted.

That still leaves the two countries with enough nuclear firepower to ensure mutual destruction several times over, but the move sets a foundation for deeper reductions, which both sides are already pursuing. (ANI)

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