Clueless on Iran

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According
to Reuter’s Louis Charbonneau – a neo-crazy media sycophant
if ever there was one – those despicable Iranians "broke
U.N. seals at a uranium processing plant" last week.

According to
Charbonneau, the International Atomic Energy Agency "put on
the seals after Tehran agreed with the European Union’s biggest
powers to halt all nuclear fuel work last November to ease tensions
after the IAEA found Iran had hidden weapons-grade highly enriched
uranium."

"Tehran
defied EU warnings [that] it could now be referred to the U.N. Security
Council for possible sanctions for having kept its uranium enrichment
work secret for years – until it was found out in 2002 –
breaking the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."

Now, all of
that "reporting" is – at best – misleading.

And deliberately
so.

Charbonneau
is deliberately misleading you about a) what the IAEA "found"
back in 2002, b) why the IAEA seals were in place, c) what the Iranians
did last week, and last – but most important – d) what
constitutes a "breaking" of the NPT.

Bush-Cheney
officials have repeatedly charged that the Iranians have broken
the NPT and that they are seeking to manufacture or "otherwise
acquire" nuclear weapons.

But, if the
Iranians were breaking the NPT, who would be in the best position
to know? The Bush-Cheney officials who made similar charges about
Iraq?

Neo-crazy media
sycophants like Charbonneau?

No. It does
you no good to have a nuclear weapons program if you can’t beg,
borrow or steal the tens of kilograms of fissile material that are
absolutely required to make a nuke. So, the NPT requires no-nuke
states like Iran to subject all "source or special fissionable
materials" and all activities involving such materials to an
IAEA Safeguards Agreement.

The IAEA Statute
– not the NPT – provides a mechanism for ensuring "compliance
with the undertaking against use [of safeguarded materials and activities]
in furtherance of any military purpose."

The IAEA Statute
– not the NPT – requires the IAEA Board of Governors to
report any use "in furtherance of any military purpose"
to all IAEA members, to the U.N. General Assembly and to the Security
Council.

If, as Charbonneau
charges, IAEA inspectors had found "hidden weapons-grade highly
enriched uranium" in Iran, they would have been required to
report that to the Board and the Board would have been required
to report that to the Security Council.

But, they didn’t.
In fact, Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei has reported to the
Board on numerous occasions that IAEA inspectors have found no "indication"
that Iran now has, ever had or intends to have a nuclear weapons
program.

So, what did
the IAEA "find" back in 2002.

In the process
of negotiating an Additional Protocol to the existing Iranian Safeguards
Agreement, Iran voluntarily told the IAEA back in 2002 that, as
a result of the United States forcing Russia to cancel the sale
of a turn-key gas-centrifuge plant – to which the Iranians
had an "inalienable right" to acquire and operate under
the NPT – the Iranians had been attempting to construct gas
centrifuges of similar design. Furthermore, once they had constructed
several thousand and got them to work, they planned to construct
a uranium-enrichment pilot plant and, eventually, construct a commercial
scale uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz.

But, contrary
to Charbonneau and the neo-crazies, under the Iranian Safeguards
Agreement as it then existed, the Iranians were not obligated to
tell the IAEA about any of that activity until they began processing
"source or special nuclear materials" for introduction
into those gas centrifuges.

So, why were
there IAEA "seals" on those uranium-conversion facilities?
Well, the Iranians had volunteered to suspend all such activities,
for the duration of the EU-Iranian negotiations. Since the facilities
were all already Safeguarded, the IAEA was "invited" to
verify the suspension.

But, the IAEA
is not a party to the EU-Iranian talks.

So, what could
the Board possibly report to the Security Council? That the EU and
Iran hoped to conclude an agreement that "will provide objective
guarantees" that "Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively
for peaceful purposes" and that it "will equally provide
firm guarantees" to Iran "on nuclear, technological, and
economic cooperation and firm commitments on security issues"?

That on March
23, Iran offered a package of "objective guarantees" to
the EU that included a voluntary "confinement" of Iran’s
nuclear programs? That the EU never responded to the Iranian offer?
That the EU never offered Iran "firm commitments on security
issues"?

That the Iranians
decided to end their voluntary suspension of Safeguarded activities
and had so informed the IAEA?

None of that
is any of the IAEA’s business. So why report it?

August
15, 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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