U.N. Says Israel to Ratify Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

VIENNA (AP) -
FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007 file photo, an Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan 255 miles (410 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran. State TV says the Guardian Council, Iran's constitutional watchdog, ratified a bill Wednesday, June 24, 2015, banning access to military sites and scientists as Tehran and world powers approach a deadline for reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal. The bill would allow for international inspections of Iranian nuclear sites within the framework of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan 255 miles south of the capital Tehran, Iran, in this 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

A senior U.N. official says that Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said his country is prepared to ratify a treaty banning nuclear tests, a move that would be significant for Mideast peace.

Lassina Zerbo, who heads the U.N. organization created to implement the treaty, told The Associated Press that Netanyahu considers the issue of ratifying the treaty a matter of “when, rather than if.”

Israeli ratification would move the treaty closer to taking effect, leaving only seven holdouts among the 44 countries that must ratify it for the pact to go live.

Zerbo spoke to the AP after meeting with Netanyahu. He says ratification by Israel would help pave the way for a nuclear test-free zone in the Middle East.