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Israel "has 80 nuclear warheads"

February 14, 2014 at 9:13 am

A leading international think-tank claims that Israel possesses 80 nuclear warheads. According to the Stockholm International Peace research Institute (SIPRI), 50 of the warheads are for medium-range ballistic missiles and 30 are bombs carried by aircraft.

Although the total number of nuclear weapons worldwide is falling, said SIPRI in its 2013 Yearbook, Israel maintains its officially-undeclared stockpile. Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has long maintained an ambiguous official position with regards to its nuclear capabilities.

In 1986, an Israeli nuclear technician, Mordechai Vanunu, told Britain’s Sunday Times that Israel had produced more than 100 nuclear warheads. Vanunu spent 18 years in solitary confinement in Israel as a result of his whistle blowing.

SIPRI notes that China, the US, the UK, France and Russia together have a total of 17,265 nuclear weapons. All have signed up to the non-proliferation treaty.

Annual reports have been issued by SIPRI since 1968. They analyse issues relating to security and conflicts, military spending, the arms industry and non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament issues. The latest issue points out that all attempts to introduce international controls on cluster bombs have been unsuccessful in 2013.

Major arms-manufacturing countries, including Israel, have not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which was drafted in 2008, despite acknowledging their potentially grave humanitarian consequences. They continue to produce, distribute and stockpile such lethal munitions.