Congressional Duplicity

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While the European
Union's Javier Solana and Iran's Ali Lanjani were making u2018good progress'
towards an agreement that "will provide objective guarantees
[to the EU] that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful
purposes" that "will equally provide firm guarantees [to
Iran] on nuclear, technological and economic cooperation and firm
commitments [by the EU to Iran] on security issues" — the US
House of Representatives perversely called up and passed by voice
vote HR 6198, an onerous expansion of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act
of 1996.

ILSA was a
primary cause of Iran's entering into talks with the EU in the first
place.

In 1995 the
Islamic Republic of Iran launched a major effort to open up its
energy sector — including oil and natural gas exploration, development
and production — to foreign Islamic-law compatible u2018investment'.

Well, that
would never do. So the Likudniks in Congress enacted ILSA, which
required the President to impose sanctions on foreign
companies — including EU, Russian and Chinese — that make such u2018investments'.

The threat
of such ILSA sanctions was enough to get Russia to cancel a contract
to supply Iran a turn-key gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment facility
[but not enough to cancel the construction of a nuclear power plant
at Bushehr].

Of course,
under the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons — to which
Iran, Russia and the United States are signatories — (a) Iran had
an u2018inalienable right' to acquire both facilities and (b) the International
Atomic Energy Agency and all IAEA members [including the US] were
obligated to u2018facilitate' their acquisition and subsequent peaceful
operation.

As the Iranians
put it in their Note Verbale of August 1, 2005, to all IAEA Members

While
Iran’s rights under the NPT have continued to be grossly and systematically
violated, and while major state parties to the Treaty have persisted
in their non-compliance with many of their obligations under Articles
I, IV and VI of the Treaty in general, and under paragraph 2 of
Article IV vis–vis Iran in particular, Iran nevertheless continued
diligently to comply with all its obligations under the Treaty.

In October
2003, Iran entered into an agreement with France, Germany and
the United Kingdom with the explicit expectation to open a new
chapter of full transparency, cooperation and access to nuclear
and other advanced technologies.

Regrettably,
Iran received very little, if anything, in return and instead
has repeatedly
expanded its voluntary "confidence building measures"
only to be reciprocated by broken promises and expanded requests.

The October
2003 promises of the E3 on nuclear cooperation and regional security
and non-proliferation have yet to be even addressed.

The Iranians
have since made it clear on numerous occasions that attempts by
u2018some members' of the IAEA Board and UN Security Council to transform
such voluntary measures "into cessation or
long-term suspension were incompatible with the letter and spirit
of the Paris Agreement and therefore unacceptable to Iran."

Such attempts
are also incompatible with the IAEA Statute, the NPT and the UN
Charter, itself.

So now come
various Likudniks in the House to declare [Section 401 of HR 6198]

It should
be the policy of the United States not to bring into force an
agreement for cooperation with the government of any country that
is assisting the nuclear program of Iran or transferring advanced
conventional weapons or missiles to Iran unless —

(1) the
President has determined that Iran has suspended all enrichment-related
and reprocessing related activity (including uranium conversion
and research and development, manufacturing, testing, and assembly
relating to enrichment and reprocessing), has committed to verifiably
refrain permanently from such activity in the future (except
potentially the conversion of uranium exclusively for export to
foreign nuclear fuel production facilities pursuant to internationally
agreed arrangements and subject to strict international safeguards),
and is abiding by that commitment; or

(2) the
government of that country — (A) has, either on its own initiative
or pursuant to a binding decision of the United Nations Security
Council, suspended all nuclear assistance to Iran and all transfers
of advanced conventional weapons and missiles to Iran, pending
a decision by Iran to implement measures that would permit the
President to make the determination described in paragraph (1);

What does that
mean?

Well, for one
thing, if Russia doesn't immediately cease its construction of the
nuclear power plant at Bushehr, the US-Russia Nuclear Cooperation
Agreement is dead on arrival.

But beyond
that, the Likudniks — who also unreservedly support the US-India
Nuclear Cooperation Agreement — have just dealt another potentially
fatal blow to the NPT, the IAEA and perhaps even the UN Security
Council itself.

October
2, 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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