Those Nattering Neocons

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On
Dec. 18, 2003, Iran signed an Additional Protocol to their Safeguards
Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Although
not required to do so until the Iranian Parliament "ratifies"
it, Iran volunteered to act "in accordance with the provisions
of the Additional Protocol, as a confidence-building measure."

The
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty requires all signatories not already
having nuclear weapons to negotiate and conclude a Safeguards Agreement
with the IAEA, with a view to preventing diversion of "source
or special fissionable material" – whether it is being
produced, processed or used in any principal nuclear facility or
outside any such facility – from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons.

The
IAEA employs periodic on-site inspections and continuous on-site
monitoring to verify the correctness of signatories’ reports of
"declared" nuclear material and activities.

At
the end of the Persian Gulf War, the IAEA discovered that its inspections
of "declared" sites were insufficient to detect clandestine
nuclear programs at other sites. It turned out that Iraq had a multi-billion
dollar broad-based "undeclared" program to enrich uranium
that had gone undetected.

So,
to increase the IAEA’s capability for detecting such clandestine
programs, the international community developed the Model Additional
Protocol. This protocol – which enhances the authority of the
IAEA-NPT Safeguards regime – is to be used as a "model"
for an Additional Protocol, to amend each existing IAEA Safeguards
agreement.

The
Additional Protocol provides for much easier access and far greater
transparency to nuclear programs and nuclear-related activities,
enabling the IAEA not only to verify the non-diversion of "declared"
nuclear material, but also to provide assurances of the absence
of undeclared nuclear material and of any prohibited activities
in a state.

In
particular, the original Safeguards Agreement merely required the
disclosure of information on new facilities handling safeguarded
nuclear materials a few months before the nuclear materials were
actually introduced. The Additional Protocol now requires disclosure
of that design information as soon as Iranian authorities decide
to construct, authorize construction or modify such a facility.
From then on, the IAEA has the continuing right to verify the design
and construction information over the facility’s lifecycle, including
decommissioning.

The
Additional Protocol also provides for "voluntary reporting
on imports and exports of nuclear material and exports of specified
equipment and non-nuclear material."

Last
week, the IAEA Board of Governors heard a progress report from Director
General Mohamed ElBaradei, whereupon the board passed a unanimous
IAEA resolution on the implementation of its Safeguards Agreement
with Iran.

The
board noted "specifically the director general’s assessment
that all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted
for, and that such material is not diverted to prohibited activities."

And,
while recognizing "the right of states to the development and
practical application of atomic energy for peaceful purposes"
and recognizing that it was "a voluntary, non-legally binding
confidence-building measure," the board welcomed "the
fact that Iran has decided to continue and extend its suspension
of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities"

Needless
to say, the IAEA resolution – essentially praising Iran for
its unprecedented cooperation – wasn’t praised by the neo-crazies.

In
fact, the New York Times reported that the U.S. representative to
the IAEA, Jackie Sanders, at a meeting of the board last week, raised
questions about Iranian efforts to obtain equipment "in the
nuclear military area" and demanded a specific list of Iran’s
purchases "so we can make our own decisions about Iran’s intentions."

But
recall that the Additional Protocol merely provides for "voluntary"
reporting of certain imports and exports. Furthermore, it requires
the IAEA to take into account "the need to avoid hampering
the economic and technological development of Iran" and "to
take every precaution to protect commercial, technological and industrial
secrets as well as other confidential information coming to its
knowledge."

To
that end, the IAEA "shall maintain a stringent regime to ensure
effective protection against disclosure of commercial, technological
and industrial secrets and other confidential information coming
to its knowledge, including such information coming to the agency’s
knowledge in the implementation of this Protocol."

Sanders
is apparently demanding that ElBaradei provide her the list of imports
Iran has voluntarily provided him in confidence. She wants to overrule
the IAEA Board’s "inaction" and take Iran’s alleged nuke
program directly to the U.N. Security Council.

ElBaradei
came close to thwarting the neo-crazies’ invasion of Iraq last year.
He may well thwart their invasion of Iran next year.

He
might as well. Whatever he does, the neo-crazies will see to it
he doesn’t get appointed for another term.

December
8, 2004

Physicist
James Gordon Prather [send
him mail
] has served as a policy-implementing official for national
security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency,
the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department
of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department
of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for
national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. –
ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the
Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather
had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory
in New Mexico.

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