The Security Council Deadline Myth

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Under a Safeguards
Agreement concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency
– as required by the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
Weapons – Iran agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to "verify"
that no "source or special nuclear materials" are being
used in furtherance of a nuclear weapons program.

During the
past three years, every report Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei
has made to the IAEA Board concluded that – as best he can
determine – no proscribed materials have been so used.

The NPT and
the IAEA Statute and the Iranian Safeguards Agreement all guarantee
Iran’s "inalienable" right to conduct research into –
and to enjoy all the benefits of the peaceful use of – nuclear
energy.

The IAEA Statute
ensures – insofar as the IAEA is able – that "source
or special nuclear materials" are not used in furtherance of
a military purpose as a secondary mission.

ElBaradei’s
reports over the past three years are that – while he cannot
be absolutely certain that there are no proscribed materials in
Iran that he doesn’t know about – there are no "indications"
that there are.

Nevertheless,
Bush-Cheney-Bolton-Rice strong-armed the IAEA Board into reporting
the entire Iranian dossier to the Security Council "for possible
action."

According to
Bonkers Bolton, our representative on the Security Council:

This is a
real test for the Security Council. There’s just no doubt that
for close to 20 years, the Iranians have been pursuing nuclear
weapons through a clandestine program that we’ve uncovered. No
doubt?

That Bolton
has uncovered?

After three
years of intrusive on-the-ground inspections, there is nothing but
doubt, and ElBaradei hasn’t uncovered anything.

That doesn’t
faze Bonkers.

If the U.N.
Security Council can’t deal with the proliferation of nuclear
weapons, can’t deal with the greatest threat we have with a country
like Iran – that’s one of the leading state sponsors of terrorism
– if the Security Council can’t deal with that, you have
a real question of what it can deal with.

Well, Article
39 of the U.N. Charter does say:

The Security
Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace,
breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations,
or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles
41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Article 41
provides for measures "not including the use of armed forces."

Article 42
provides for measures including the use of armed forces.

But, Article
40 says:

In order
to prevent an aggravation of the situation, the Security Council
may, before making the recommendations or deciding upon the measures
provided for in Article 39, call upon the parties concerned to
comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary or
desirable.

Well, after
three weeks of acrimonious debate, the UNSC issued a non-binding
Presidential Statement, essentially "calling" upon the
parties to settle their differences amongst themselves.

The Council
did note "with serious concern" that "the IAEA is
unable to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials
or activities in Iran."

Of course,
that’s a reflection on the IAEA, not on Iran.

Nevertheless,
Bush-Cheney-Bolton-Rice and their neo-crazy media sycophants would
have you believe that the UNSC gave Iran a "deadline"
to suspend all uranium enrichment activities within 30 days –
or else.

Wrong!

In words very
carefully chosen, the UNSC merely "called" upon Iran to
take the steps "required" by the IAEA Board so that the
Board’s "outstanding questions can best be resolved and confidence
built in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s program."

In effect,
the UNSC remanded the "Iranian nuclear issue" to the IAEA
Board for resolution. That, of course, was what China and Russia
had insisted on all along.

And still insist
on.

The UNSC did
not address the question of whether the IAEA Board had any right
under the IAEA Statute or the U.N. Charter to make such requirements.

Nor did the
UNSC address the question of whether the Iranian "nuclear issue"
constituted "a threat to the peace, a breach of the peace,
or act of aggression."

Worse (for
Bush-Cheney-Rice-Bolton), the Presidential Statement began:

The Security
Council reaffirms its commitment to the Treaty on the Non Proliferation
of Nuclear Weapons and recalls the right of States Party, in conformity
with articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production
and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.

In other words,
Iran does have the rights under the NPT it asserts and no one –
not even the neo-crazies – can discriminate against them.

May
1, 2006

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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