OSLO, Norway (AP) - The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a group of mostly young activists pushing for a global treaty to ban the cataclysmic bombs.
The award of the $1.1-million prize comes amid heightened tensions over both North Korea’s aggressive development of nuclear weapons and President Donald Trump’s persistent criticism of the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
The prize committee wanted “to send a signal to North Korea and the U.S. that they need to go into negotiations,” Oeivind Stenersen, a historian of the peace prize, told The Associated Press. “The prize is also coded support to the Iran nuclear deal. I think this was wise because recognizing the Iran deal itself could have been seen as giving support to the Iranian state.”
The Geneva-based ICAN has campaigned actively for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by the United Nations in July, but which needs ratification from 50 countries. Only three countries have ratified it so far. It organized events globally in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversaries of the World War II U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Last month in Berlin, ICAN protesters teamed up with other organizations to demonstrate outside the U.S. and North Korean embassies against the possibility of nuclear war between the two countries.