2017 Nobel Peace Prize goes to anti-nuclear weapons NGO

Despite rumors Iranian Foreign Minister was set to win, Nobel Peace Prize goes to obscure group promoting abolition of nuclear weapons.

David Rosenberg, | updated: 12:31

Nobel Peace Center, Oslo
Nobel Peace Center, Oslo

The Norweigen Nobel Committee declared an organization dedicated to the eradication of nuclear weapons as the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

At a press conference Friday, the committee announced that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) would be the recipient of the award, and the roughly $1 million in prize money.

The prize will be formally awarded to ICAN in December.

The Nobel Committee’s decision surprised some observers, who had predicted the prize would be awarded in connection with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal. It was widely believed that this year’s prize would go either to Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, or to European Union foreign minister Federica Mogherini for their roles in securing the JCPOA.

Reuters - Nobel Committee announces winner

Defying expectations, however, the Nobel Committee turned the focus away from the Iran nuclear deal and instead chose ICAN, a Geneva-based group founded in 2007 to promote the total abolition of all nuclear weaponry.

ICAN has strongly backed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a proposed treated backed by the United Nations General Assembly 122 to 1, but strongly opposed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and all nuclear-armed countries.

A relatively small organization with an annual budget of some $1 million, ICAN had little mainstream exposure prior to Friday’s announcement. The Nobel Committee’s selection of the relatively marginal group has been described by some as a ‘censure’ or rebuke of world powers who oppose the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

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