75 Years After Atom Bombs Drop, Nations Pan U.S. for Introducing Nuclear War

Several nations critical of U.S. foreign policy have panned the United States' introduction of nuclear warfare to the world 75 years after the U.S. dropped atom bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"To this day, the terrible death of innocent civilians strikes a chord with millions of people on our planet," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday in a message delivered to those participating at a solemn ceremony to mark the occasion in the once-devastated city of Hiroshima. Up to 150,000 residents were killed there and about 75,000 more died three days later after the U.S. dropped a second bomb on the Nagasaki in what would be the final days of World War II.

"Even with a clear idea of ​​the reasons behind and course of World War II, it is hard to fully understand what the masterminds and perpetrators of such an inhumane act were guided by," Lavrov said.

The Russian top diplomat disputed the traditional U.S. narrative that claims the weapons of mass destruction were necessary to end the war, arguing it was well-known that the war was coming to an end as Soviet troops marched through East Asia and prepared to invade Japan. "The atomic bombings by the United States were in fact a show of force and an operational test of nuclear weapons on civilians," Lavrov said.

"The United States was the first and only country to use this type of weapons of mass destruction," he added.

Russia is believed to have the world's largest nuclear weapons stockpile today, but other countries not known to have nuclear weapons also spoke out.

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Nakajima-hon-machi District in Hiroshima after the dropping of the atomic bomb (Little Boy), September 1, 1945. Immediately after the blast people tried to escape from the heat by jumping into the rivers where many drowned. This area is close to downtown and today known as Nakajima-cho District and the location of the Peace Memorial Park. Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shared a similar sentiment to that of Lavrov, recalling how "75 years ago today, the US gained the infamy of becoming the 1st and ONLY user of nuclear weapons. And against innocents" in a tweet."Today, US & Israeli nukes threaten our region. It's long overdue to end nuclear nightmare & the #MAD doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction," Zarif tweeted.

The U.S. today has accused Iran of secretly pursuing nuclear weapons and in 2018 abandoned a multilateral deal granting the country sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to significantly curb its nuclear program. Tensions between the two have risen as the Islamic Republic resists a "maximum pressure" campaign launched by President Donald Trump's administration.

Also targeted by a "maximum pressure" campaign of sanctions and political isolation is Venezuela, whose president is no longer recognized by the U.S. and its allies. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza marked the 75th Hiroshima anniversary as well, calling it a "criminal attack and genocide."

"From Venezuela we send our solidarity to the Japanese people," he added. "It is not surprising that the United States is the only country that has dared to use nuclear The weapons against civilians."

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A graphic provided by Statista shows the estimated stockpiles of the nine known nuclear-armed nations as of December 2017. Statista

The above graphic was provided by Statista.

Fellow leftist-led Latin American country Cuba, long subject to a unilateral U.S.-enforced economic embargo, weighed in too. Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez also called the atomic bombings a "crime" and noted that today there are roughly "13,400 nuclear weapons, of which 1,800 are on high operational alert, remind us of the danger."

"Only the transparent, total and irreversible elimination of these will guarantee the security of humanity," he added.

Many other nations and organizations such as Ireland, South Africa, Switzerland and the Vatican echoed calls for the elimination of nuclear arms and lamented the death and destruction wrought on Hiroshima and Nagasaki without explicitly criticizing the U.S. decision to drop the bombs.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Gutierres also delivered separate remarks that called for stronger non-proliferation efforts in the wake of the U.S. exit from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and delays in the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).