May 4, 2010

U.S. Reveals Nuclear Warhead Stockpile

The United States revealed for the first time how many nuclear warheads it possesses as part of an attempt to encourage other nations to be more forthcoming with such information and to help create a united front against stockpiles in other countries, including Iran, according to various media reports published on Monday.

As of September 2009, the U.S. was in possession of 5,113 nuclear warheads, Pentagon officials revealed during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference. That marked a 75-percent decrease in a two decade span, according to Anne Gearan of the Associated Press (AP), though officials also note that there are thousands of additional warheads currently inactive and considered retired.

"We think it is in our national security interest to be as transparent as we can be about the nuclear program of the United States," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters during the United Nations conference on atomic weapons.

"It is hugely important for the United States to be able to say, 'look we are living up to our obligations under the NPT," Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, told Reuters on Monday. Otherwise, he said, it would be "very hard to get them to agree to new measures to try to limit proliferation."

According to Gearan, "The U.S. revelations are calculated to improve Washington's bargaining power with Iran's allies and friends for the drive to head off what the West charges is a covert Iranian program to build a bomb," adding that the U.N. conference "will try to close loopholes in the internationally recognized rules against the spread of weapons technology."


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