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Anti-nuclear campaign ICAN wins Nobel Peace Prize

Anti nuclear group ICAN won the 2017 Nobel prize

Oslo, Norway | AFP | Nuclear disarmament campaign group ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its efforts to consign the atomic bomb to history, firing off a warning that Donald Trump’s presidency showed the true extent of the risk posed by weapons of mass destruction.

More than 70 years since atomic bombs were used on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Nobel committee praised ICAN’s non-proliferation efforts as nuclear-related crises swirl around North Korea and Iran.

The decision sent a clear message at a time when Trump has threatened to tear up a 2015 deal curbing Iran’s nuclear abilities. And the US president alarmed delegates at the UN General Assembly last month by warning he might be forced to “totally destroy” North Korea because of its atomic weapons programme.

“We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time,” Norwegian Nobel committee president Berit Reiss-Andersen said in announcing the prize in Oslo.

Founded in Vienna in 2007, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) comprises more than 400 NGOs and has mobilised supporters and celebrities alike in its cause.

It was a key player in the adoption of a historic nuclear weapons ban treaty, signed by 122 countries at the UN in July.

But the accord was largely symbolic because none of the nine countries known or suspected of having nuclear weapons put their names down. It also still needs to be ratified before entering into force.

The United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea are all thought to possess nuclear weapons.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, ICAN’s head Beatrice Fihn said Trump’s movements over North Korea and Iran showed the clear danger posed by nuclear arms.

“The election of President Donald Trump has made a lot of people feel very uncomfortable with the fact that he alone can authorise the use of nuclear weapons,” she said, adding that the US leader had a track record of “not listening to expertise”.

Days before the Nobel announcement, Fihn had tweeted simply: “Donald Trump is a moron”, a remark she said Friday that she regretted.

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