“The voice was soft, calm, familiar. But the scenario Kofi Annan sketched out was chilling.

A nuclear bomb goes off in a great city. Chaos ensues, and a frightened world asks, “Was this an act of terrorism? Was it an act of aggression by a state? Was it an accident?”

Tens or hundreds of thousands would be dead, the U.N. chief said, and questions, implications and dread would consume world leaders. Treaties might collapse, trade and economies totter, human rights and freedoms come under threat. And statesmen would ask: “How did it come to this?”

It was Monday’s arresting opening to a monthlong conference reviewing the workings of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, at a moment of rising nuclear tensions in the world, on a day when speakers called for concessions from many sides – Iran, North Korea, America, Russia – to move toward a world free of the nuclear threat.” More

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