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Israel managed to mobilise enough votes on Friday to block an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution calling on it to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to open the Dimona nuclear complex to inspection.

Last year, the agency's general assembly passed a similar resolution by a four-vote margin.

Egypt had felt confident of gathering more support after a preparatory meeting in New York on the NPT, and the US has also called for a nuclear-free Middle East.

The bill was submitted by Egypt and other Arab countries. But the latest defeat was a blow to Arab efforts to highlight the double standards in dealing with the nuclear issues in the Middle East. The vote was 51-46 with 23 abstentions and 31 countries absent.

Is the NPT able to adequately address the security challenges of the Middle East region, where the treaty has been mostly abused? Is the rejection evidence of double standards? And how relevent is the NPT?

Joining the programme are Efraim Inbar, the director of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA), at Bar-Ilan University, Mark Fitzpatrick, the director of the Non-Proliferation Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and Bruno Pellaud, the former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Sunday, September 26, 2010. 

Source: Al Jazeera