one – including the Iranians at their (nonexistent) equivalent
of our Los Alamos Laboratory – can make a nuclear weapon until
they have managed to acquire multi-kilogram quantities of almost
pure uranium-235, uranium-233 or plutonium-239.
that reason, the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
required all signatories not already having nuclear weapons to conclude
a Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency,
with a view to preventing diversion of “source or special fissionable
material” to the production of nuclear weapons.
material is natural uranium in any form. “Special fissionable” material
includes Plutonium-239 and “enriched” uranium in any form.
to a Safeguards Agreement, IAEA inspectors perform periodic on-site
inspections and continuous on-site monitoring to verify that “declared”
source and/or special fissionable materials are not diverted to
a “military purpose.”
the Gulf War, the IAEA Action Team – reporting directly to
the U.N. Security Council – discovered that Iraq had had a
multi-billion dollar “undeclared” (and unsuccessful) program to
enrich uranium for military purposes.
Iraqi nuke program of the late 1980s had gone completely undetected
by U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies. However, the U.S. and
Israeli intelligence agencies did detect the nonexistent
Iraqi nuke program of the late 1990s.)
cometh the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards
Agreement [.pdf document], which provided IAEA inspectors
much more authority, resulting in much greater transparency to nuclear
programs and nuclear-related activities.
signed an Additional Protocol in December 2003, and voluntarily
agreed to abide by it, pending ratification by the Iranian Parliament.
original Safeguards Agreement merely required the disclosure of
information on new Iranian facilities that would be processing safeguarded
nuclear materials a few months before the materials were actually
introduced. The Additional Protocol requires disclosure of that
design information as soon as Iranian authorities decide to construct,
authorize construction or modify such a facility.
Additional Protocol also provided for “voluntary reporting on imports
and exports of nuclear material and exports of specified equipment
and non-nuclear material.”
a result of their voluntary compliance with the reporting requirements
of the Additional Protocol, Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei was
to report to the IAEA Board of Governors a year later [.pdf document]
that Iran had “failed in a number of instances over an extended
period of time to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement
with respect to the reporting of nuclear material, its processing
and its use, as well as the declaration of facilities where such
material had been processed and stored.”
should be noted that most of these “failures” were formally disputed
by the Iranians as being subject to interpretation.
resolved, ElBaradei was also able to report that within that year
Iran had taken “corrective actions” with respect to most of those
a few weeks ago ElBaradei reported that “Since October 2003, good
progress has been made in Iran's correction of the breaches”
that had been discovered in its basic Safeguards Agreement “and
in the Agency's ability to confirm certain aspects of Iran's
current declarations” made under the Additional Protocol.
fact, ElBaradei reported that the remaining issues under the Iranian
Safeguards Agreement and its not-yet-ratified Additional Protocol
“will be followed up as a routine safeguards implementation matter.”
there you have it. As of a few weeks ago, not only had Iran corrected
the “breaches” that occurred before it signed the Additional Protocol
in 2003, but those “issues” that had arisen since as a consequence
of their voluntary adherence to the Additional Protocol were being
more than two years of intrusive go-anywhere see-anything ask-anybody
inspections under the Additional Protocol, the IAEA has yet to find
any indications that there are now in Iran any “undeclared” materials
or activities that should have been “declared,” nor any indications
that any declared materials have been diverted for a military purpose.
Additional Protocol concept was a success in its first serious application.
The IAEA was now not only able to verify the non-diversion of “declared”
nuclear material, but also to provide some assurances of the absence
of “undeclared” nuclear materials and activities.
why did the IAEA Board then plead
incompetence [.pdf document], “finding” that ElBaradei's
positive reports on Iran's Safeguarded programs had, nevertheless,
resulted in an “absence of confidence” on the Board's part “that
Iran's nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes”
and ought to be referred to more competent authority “as a threat
to international peace and security”?
one thing seems certain; the Iranian Parliament will never ratify
those incompetents' Additional Protocol.
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.