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FP: Carter Administration Hushed Up Israeli Nuke Test
Policy of ambiguity. This 2014 photo shows part of Israel’s nuclear research facility near the Negev town of Dimona. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

FP: Carter Administration Hushed Up Israeli Nuke Test

In an extensive report, Foreign Policy magazine says former US president Jimmy Carter chose to ignore evidence that Israel was testing nuclear weapons during his presidency. A satellite tasked with monitoring the flashes of intense light emitted during nuclear detonations noted such flashes in September 1979 off the coast of South Africa, a country thought to be at work on a nuclear weapon. Yet suspicions settled on Israel, which maintained close military ties with Pretoria and was believed to already have a small nuclear arsenal. According to the report, co-written by eight experts and published on Sunday, Carter feared that calling out Israel might harm its freshly signed peace treaty with Egypt and also activate the terms of congressional legislation calling for automatic sanctions against non-signatories to the 1970 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty should they test or use nuclear weapons. Israel is not a party to the treaty and maintains an ambiguous stance on the matter, saying only that it will not be the first Middle Eastern country to introduce nuclear weapons into the region.

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