In Defense of the Iranians

Email Print

To: Bob Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Saving the NPT

Dear Bob:

You may be too busy in other areas to be keeping up with the u201Ccrisisu201D
involving Iran's decision to u201Cresume Atomic Activity,u201D as the NYTimes
puts it in its front-page headline today, so I thought I would alert
you to the absolute fact that the u201Ccrisisu201D is of our making, not
Tehran's. If you read the papers to keep up with what's going on,
you would be thoroughly misled, because our media is no more competent
to inform on these nuclear matters than they were when reporting
that Saddam was sitting on a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
You recall I cheered, Bob, when the President named you to be Condi's
deputy instead of John Bolton, believing you would be able to sort
out fact from the kinds of fictions Bolton was an expert in perpetrating.

If you look closely enough, you will find that Tehran has been bending
over backwards in every conceivable way to save the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) from the ashcan of history, which is where Bolton and
his neo-con puppet masters have wanted it to go for many years —
because it gives its signators the right to develop the peaceful
uses of atomic energy. The way the nuclear powers got most of the
world to sign the NPT was by giving those rights, as long as they
also acceded to the Safeguards Agreement which permitted the International
Atomic Energy Agency to inspect facilities to make sure they were
in no way using nuclear power plants to produce fissile material
for a nuclear weapon. An additional protocol added in recent years
gives the IAEA authority to go anywhere, look at anything that seems
to be in violation of the NPT. The Clinton administration did everything
it could to bolster the NPT, but the neo-cons who inhabit the Bush
administration hate it, and despise the IAEA, because they get in
the way of their hidden agendas of toppling regimes that are deemed
potential threats.

The U.S. news media, which takes its cues from the government on
these matters, is ill equipped to present a fair assessment of Iran.
In the Times front-pager today, for example, the two reporters
in Tehran who wrote it, Nazila Faith and Joel Brinkley, have not
covered the issue before and make simple mistakes that will mislead
any of the readers of the paper. They report, for example, that
u201CIran has admitted to deceiving inspectors for 17 years about many
of its activities, and the United States argues that those deceptions
effectively negate its right to a full nuclear program and that
they provide a basis for international sanctions.u201D

That's what the United States argues, but it is certainly not true
that u201CIran has admitted to deceiving inspectors for 17 years about
many of its activities.u201D Iran has only admitted to have disagreements
on several issues with the IAEA on how each was interpreting the
Safeguard Agreement. The IAEA and its esteemed director general,
Mohammed ElBaradei, will tell any reporter who asks that there has
never been any evidence that Iran violated the NPT – only whether
or not they were required to report X, Y or Z to the IAEA, even
though X, Y or Z had nothing to do with a nuclear-weapons program.

More to the immediate point, Bob, is the fact that even though Iran
has lived up to all its responsibilities of the NPT and has given
the IAEA the right to go anywhere and look at any facility it suspects
of harboring a weapons program, the government of which you are
a part continues to make demands upon it that it KNOWS Tehran cannot
accept and still consider itself a sovereign nation.

Britain, France and Germany did attempt to negotiate even more restrictive
conditions on Iran than exist in the NPT and Safeguards Agreement
and its latest protocol. In November last year, in Paris, Iran agreed
to suspend all work on even the earliest phases of enriching uranium
for use in a nuclear power plant while awaiting the outcome of the
diplomatic talks with the EU countries. For its part, the EU countries
asked that Iran come up on its own with a set of u201Cobjective guaranteesu201D
that go beyond the NPT, to make as air tight as possible a perpetual
verification of Iran's limitation on its atomic activity to producing
only electric power. Iran did so, asking an international team of
experts including U.S. scientists, to recommend such u201Cobjective

As Dr. Gordon Prather wrote last weekend in his

March 23, Iran offered a package of “objective guarantees” that
included a voluntary “confinement” of Iran’s nuclear programs,
to include:

    1. forgoing
      the reprocessing of spent fuel and the production of plutonium;
    2. a “ceiling”
      on enrichment at reactor fuel level;
    3. limiting
      the extent of the enrichment program to that required for Iran’s
      power reactors;
    4. the immediate
      conversion of all enriched uranium to fuel rods to preclude
      even the technical possibility of further enrichment; and
    5. an incremental
      and phased approach to implementation of the uranium-enrichment
      program, beginning with the least sensitive aspects — such as
      uranium conversion.

      The Iranians also proposed that there be an unprecedented “continuous
      on-site presence of IAEA inspectors at the conversion and enrichment

Now, as a consequence of the EU failure to respond in a timely
manner to the Iranian offer, the Iranians have announced they
will resume uranium conversion.

this package of concessions by Tehran is unfamiliar to you, it is
because it has never been reported in the American press. It of
course was known to the IAEA at the time, and if reporters would
now ask around, they would surely find that John Bolton was among
the first to know about the concessions, and so would Vice President
Cheney and his chief of staff, Scooter Libby. But no, not a word
in the press. The only place I found out about them was in Dr.
Prather's column.

Now Dr. Prather, a nuclear physicist who was the army's chief scientist
in the Reagan administration and a conservative Republican, tells
me that the
9-page letter from Iran to the IAEA
making these concessions
has been on the IAEA website for several days, but still has not
been mentioned by the American press. That is, when Iran last week
advised the IAEA that it was going to resume its activities because
there had been no satisfactory response from the EU, it asked that
the letter be included as a formal IAEA document, which ElBaradei
did. You should take the trouble of reading it in full. In keeping
with the NPT and Safeguards Agreement, Iran would be obliged to
so inform the IAEA so it would have time to send inspectors and
install cameras and other equipment to assure that only permissible
work was being done. Iran continues to bend over backwards.

So do the neo-con warhawks who remain embedded in the administration
you serve, Robert. There is even talk, reported in the same NYTimes
story this morning, that your very own State Department is talking
about denying a visa to Iran's newly-elected president, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, to attend the United Nations General Assembly next
month. A preferred tactic of Richard Perle and Neo-Con Cabal has
been to prevent their opponents from speaking in international forums
to counter their propaganda, and of course they know if Ahmadinejad
speaks at the U.N., it would be hard for the media to not cover
what he has to say. Do you hear me, Bob? Mr. Zoellick? Deputy Secretary
of State?

By the way, there are similar problems with North Korea, including
the miserable reports on the 6-party talks in the media, again with
the NYTimes in the lead. I'll be back at you tomorrow on
that. Iran is enough for one day.

Sincerely, your longtime admirer, Jude

11, 2005

Wanniski [send him mail]
runs the financial/political advisory service

Wanniski Archives

Email Print