TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US' reluctance to extend the New START nuclear treaty is proof that Washington is seeking to begin a new arms race across the world.
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"The lack of desire on the part of the United States to renew the START-3 Treaty on the Limitation of Offensive Strategic Arms, which is one of the most important treaties in ensuring international security and arms control and ends in February 2021, is another vivid example of the lack of interest in the United States in global stability and testifies to the great desire of this country to start an arms race in the world," Zarif said in a tweet late on Thursday.
The so-called NEW START, or the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was designed to curb the nuclear arms held by both nations. But a proposal to extend the deal by Russia has been rejected by the United States.
Zarif's tweet came after the administration of US President Donald Trump rejected an offer by Russian President Vladimir Putin for a one-year extension of the crucial nuclear treaty with Washington, describing it as a "non-starter."
The offer to extend New Start, a 10-year bilateral accord that limits US and Russian nuclear warheads, was made by Putin at a meeting of his security council, when he said it would be "exceedingly sad" if New Start expired on February 5 and offered to "extend the existing agreement without preconditions for a year at least."
This was the second time the Trump administration rejected an offer from Russia, with Moscow previously offering to extend New Start for five years without preconditions. The US wants a more expansive deal as well as the inclusion of China in nuclear accords.