Nuts to Bush

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Last
November, France, Germany and the United Kingdom — as agents for
the European Union — began negotiations with Iran on “a mutually
acceptable long-term arrangement” that would a) provide “objective
guarantees” to the EU that Iran’s nuclear program was exclusively
for peaceful purposes,” b) guarantee future EU-Iranian nuclear,
technological and economic “cooperation” as well as c) provide “firm
commitments” by the EU to Iran “on security issues.”

The
Bush-Cheney administration has badly mischaracterized these negotiations
as an attempt by the EU to get the Iranians “to live up to their
international obligations.”

The
EU is more likely attempting to head-off the Iranians concluding
a mutually acceptable long-term arrangement with Russia and/or China.

Now,
the key to preventing nuke proliferation is the international control
of the acquisition and chemical/physical transformation of certain
“nuclear” materials. In return for a promise not to acquire or seek
to acquire nuclear weapons, the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
Weapons recognizes the “inalienable right” of all signatories to
acquire and transform those materials, subject to oversight by the
International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards regime.

The
EU-Iran negotiating agreement also specifically recognizes that
right.

When
the IAEA’s inspectors detect possible or actual non-compliance with
a Safeguards Agreement — or with the NPT, itself — the director
general reports that to the Board. The Board can then decide — by
a two-thirds majority — whether or not to refer the director general’s
reports to the U.N. Security Council for possible action.

How
was Iran to “provide objective guarantees” to the EU? By signing
— as Iran did more than a year ago — and adhering to an Additional
Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement, vastly expanding the IAEA
capabilities to provide such guarantees.

But
it is obvious that meaningful EU-Iran economic cooperation will
not be possible unless the threat of economic sanctions imposed
by the U.S. on EU companies that do business with Iran is lifted.

And,
of course, the EU cannot provide firm commitments that Iranian nuclear
facilities will not be attacked by the U.S. or Israel. However,
the Russians and/or Chinese could make such an attack extremely
unlikely, especially if the facilities in Iran are effectively co-owned
and operated by the Russians and/or Chinese

At
his news conference Wednesday, Bush was asked this “softball” question
by a media sycophant:

The
Iranians have dismissed the European incentive as insignificant.
Should more incentives be offered? How long do they [Iranians]
have until you take their case to the Security Council?

While
not answering the basic question, Bush made a lot of incorrect and/or
intentionally misleading statements to the effect that Iran had
long kept hidden from the IAEA a uranium-enrichment program, which
he implied was a violation of the NPT.

But,
Iran has not yet begun to enrich uranium. Hence, they were under
no obligation to report that program to the IAEA. Furthermore, in
the event Iran was ever discovered to actually be in violation of
the NPT, it would be up to the IAEA Board — not Bush — to refer
the matter to the Security Council.

As
best the IAEA can determine, Iran is living up to its international
obligations, including its voluntary suspension of uranium-enrichment
activity, which is serving as a “confidence-building” measure for
the EU-Iran negotiations.

Since
Bush didn’t answer it, the reporter repeated the question — “And
how do long do you wait? When do you go to the Security
Council?”

To
which Bush responded:

“The
understanding is, we go to the Security Council if they [Iranians]
reject the offer.”

What
offer?

Apparently,
it was Bush’s offer to the Europeans to lift a decade-long “blackball”
of Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization and to waive
sanctions on European firms that provide Iran with spare parts for
commercial aircraft, in return for a promise — if the negotiations
fail to satisfy Bush — by the French and the British to support
Bush’s contention before the Security Council that Iran’s safeguarded
nuclear programs constitute a “threat” to Mideast peace.

The
negotiations will almost certainly fail to satisfy Bush.

Iran
has repeatedly proclaimed that any long-term EU-Iran agreement must
recognize — at a minimum — Iran’s inalienable right to enrich uranium.

Hence,
the Iranians dismissed Bush’s “offer” which was explicitly conditional
on their permanently suspending all uranium-enrichment and fuel-reprocessing
activities.

Sirus
Naseri, an Iranian negotiating with the EU, wondered aloud: “Would
the United States be prepared to give up its own nuclear fuel production
against a cargo of pistachios delivered in truckloads?”

Besides
exporting zillions of barrels of oil, Iran also exports nuts.

March
21, 2005

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.

Gordon
Prather Archives

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