Persian Gulf WMD-Free Zone is, in Principle, an appealing idea for peace, stability, and security of the region and the world. However, to implement it some key factors should be taken into consideration:
1. PGWMDFZ should be defined within the framework of the “Persian Gulf Regional Security Arrangements” initiative. In fact, PGWMDFZ could only be envisioned as an integral part of the “Middle East as a Zone Free from Weapons of Mass Destruction.
2. A common understanding of the member states is necessary. This idea should naturally prepare Iran, Iraq, and Yemen as well as GCC member states for a “Middle East WMD-Free Zone” major plan.
3. To this end, Persian Gulf WMD-Free Zone needs to be developed from an abstract idea into well-defined mechanisms and frameworks, and common rules in these states. What should be taken into account in the first place is that different states in the region may have different threat perceptions. One of the most significant prerequisites of this trend is to make different threat perceptions uniform or, to put it more precisely, bring them closer, and to develop common interests among states in the region.
4. The most urgent issue is to achieve a Middle East WMD-Free Zone. Israel is the one and only nuclear weapon state in the Middle East. It has not joined any disarmament treaties and is a major source of threat to all Middle Eastern countries. Since the policy of all U.S. administrations have always been to ensure a strategic edge for Israel in the region, a Middle East WMD-Free Zone is quite conceivable and workable without being concerned about Israel’s security. Therefore, the idea of Persian Gulf WMD-Free Zone should not be contemplated as a device to derogate from the strategic importance of ME WMD Free Zone.
5. As to Israel, its obscure policies as a regime holding advanced nuclear capabilities with offensive, rather them defensive, intentions lead to an uncertainty in a WMD-Free Zone plan.
It should be noted that Israel considers WMDs not as a last resort in deterrence, but as a security protection to continue its illegal occupation of the occupied lands.
6. As long as Israel is not a member of disarmament and non-prolifeation treaties, and its massive WMD arsenals are not abolished, a balance of power in the Middle East is unavoidable to sustain peace, stability, and security in the region. Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq as powerful Islamic states could create a balance of power against Israel. Certainly, possession of WMDs by any country in the region does not help to establish a balance of power.
7. No actual planning for PGWMDFZ is possible with military presence of major powers in the region. These powers possess the bulk of WMD arsenals in the world. Removal of this military presence should be one of the important outcomes of PGWMDFZ.
8. A more appropriate basis for implementing a WMD-Free Zone plan may be a comprehensive view of disturbing and destabilizing elements in the region. There have always been some external disturbing elements to the region which have been activated under certain conditions, imposing an anarchy on the region for a while. In general, the threats to the region have been from beyond the Persian Gulf, and the resources in the region has attracted foreign powers to the region. Meanwhile, even if the Persian Gulf states could find a certain mechanism among themselves, their neighbors have some WMD capabilities which could actually hamper an effective system. India and Pakistan, on the one hand, and particularly Israel, on the other, none of which joined any disarmament or non-proliferation treaties, make the situation much more difficult.
9. Another important factor is mutual trust and confidence, which could help implementing a WMD-Free zone plan. This depends on two requirements: to bring closer the divergent views of those making decisions in national and regional security issues, and transparency, which is a very difficult task due to the differences in threat and security perceptions. A political, legal, and technical mechanism and, in advances stages, a joint monitoring system may help to promote both.
10. A “Regional Collective Cooperation System” should be considered as a master plan. The region most needs comprehensive confidence - building measures. This system of political, security, economic, cultural, social, and military cooperation is both vital and urgent to achieve:
10-1- a comprehensive confidence-building;
10-2- non-interference of foreign powers in the region;
10-3- sustained peace, stability, and security;
10-4- consolidation of the relations between the nations;
10-5- sustained regional development.
11. The region should be immune to any use or threat of use of WMD by its neighbors or their allies. Removal of threat and concern among the states of the region should be taken into account along with removal of threat and concern from the neighbors of the region.
12. Some plan, suggestions, and operational mechanisms should be developed and offered to the states. These should include analyzing the general view of the states and focussing the collective security arrangements, common interests of the regional nations in enhanced peace, stability, security, and economic prosperity, and ultimately promoting a united identity.
13. Iran supports any idea, contributing to more convergence among the Persian Gulf states. Within this framework, Iran also supports PGWMDFZ as far as it does not undermine the strategic importance of the Middle East WMD-Free Zone, and is ready to cooperate to advance such ideas.