Mary Robinson, chair of The Elders, warned on Tuesday against a nuclear fiasco, as due attention is not being paid to the issue.
“We are nearer to the Doomsday Clock (midnight) than we have ever been, and yet somehow it is not an issue that has taken hold in people’s sense of what are the pending crises in our world,” she said, referring to a symbol that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe.
In 2018, the Doomsday Clock was only 2 minutes from midnight, the point of global catastrophe. The reading was the closest approach to midnight, matching that of 1953.
People have increasing awareness about climate change. On the nuclear issue, that does not seem to be the same concern, she told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.
“We are at a point where, whether by accident or misstep, or increased sophistication and AI (artificial intelligence) in weaponry, we may find ourselves in a very difficult position.”
Robinson said The Elders, a group of prominent public figures for peace and human rights, have a policy paper on nuclear non-proliferation directed to the nuclear states, trying to bring about a realization of the danger of the position that the world is in with the unraveling of existing agreements, including a July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Iran, triggering countermeasures from Tehran.
Robinson voiced concern over possible Iranian moves down the path of its nuclear weapons program. “I think that would be very worrying. But Iran was complying, and it is the United States that has walked away from the agreement.”
Asked to give advice to Trump on how to handle the Iran nuclear issue and the nuclear issue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Robinson said: “It is extremely important to understand the importance of agreements that have been reached by a process that engaged very many countries — I’m talking about the Iran nuclear agreement. If he aspires to have an agreement with North Korea, it doesn’t help build trust if you pull out of an existing agreement.”