Infuriated by the surprise agreement between the P5+1 countries and Iran on the first round of confidence-building measures, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has taken to out and out falsification to trash-talk the deal. And he lets loose with a couple of whoppers. In a press release yesterday, Cantor wrote:
The text of the interim agreement with Iran explicitly and dangerously recognizes that Iran will be allowed to enrich uranium when it describes a ‘mutually defined enrichment program’ in a final, comprehensive deal. It is clear why the Iranians are claiming this deal recognizes their right to enrich.
This is the classic bait-and-switch of Cantor and his warmongering allies: pretend that Iran has no right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes as a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and when an agreement such as this does not deny Iran the right to enrich, claim that a new right has been established by this “bad deal.” Then hope that no one can actually read the NPT. What does the NPT say about the right to enrich? Article IV is pretty clear:
Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.
Iran already has the right to enrich uranium to whatever degree it wishes, as long as in conformity with Article I of the NPT, which states:
Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.
Cantor and his allies may claim that there is no right to enrich in the NPT, but the US has long maintained (until recently, that is) that Article IV explicitly confers that right. As Iran experts Professors Flynt and Hillary Leverett write late last week:
[W]hen the U.S. and the Soviet Union first opened the NPT for signature in 1968, senior U.S. officials testified to Congress that the NPT recognized a right to safeguarded enrichment. That was the position of the United States until the end of the Cold War—and then we decided to try to unilaterally rewrite the Treaty because we didn’t want non-Western countries getting fuel cycle capabilities.
The US foreign policy establishment, infested as it is by interventionists of the Left and Right, simply make up new rules as they go along, insisting that the US is not to be bound by said rules. The US is the exceptional nation; rules are for the others to obey. Is it any wonder the rest of the world is disgusted with US foreign policy?