• Clueless on Iran

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    to Reuter’s Louis Charbonneau – a neo-crazy media sycophant
    if ever there was one – those despicable Iranians "broke
    U.N. seals at a uranium processing plant" last week.

    According to
    Charbonneau, the International Atomic Energy Agency "put on
    the seals after Tehran agreed with the European Union’s biggest
    powers to halt all nuclear fuel work last November to ease tensions
    after the IAEA found Iran had hidden weapons-grade highly enriched

    defied EU warnings [that] it could now be referred to the U.N. Security
    Council for possible sanctions for having kept its uranium enrichment
    work secret for years – until it was found out in 2002 –
    breaking the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."

    Now, all of
    that "reporting" is – at best – misleading.

    And deliberately

    is deliberately misleading you about a) what the IAEA "found"
    back in 2002, b) why the IAEA seals were in place, c) what the Iranians
    did last week, and last – but most important – d) what
    constitutes a "breaking" of the NPT.

    officials have repeatedly charged that the Iranians have broken
    the NPT and that they are seeking to manufacture or "otherwise
    acquire" nuclear weapons.

    But, if the
    Iranians were breaking the NPT, who would be in the best position
    to know? The Bush-Cheney officials who made similar charges about

    Neo-crazy media
    sycophants like Charbonneau?

    No. It does
    you no good to have a nuclear weapons program if you can’t beg,
    borrow or steal the tens of kilograms of fissile material that are
    absolutely required to make a nuke. So, the NPT requires no-nuke
    states like Iran to subject all "source or special fissionable
    materials" and all activities involving such materials to an
    IAEA Safeguards Agreement.

    The IAEA Statute
    – not the NPT – provides a mechanism for ensuring "compliance
    with the undertaking against use [of safeguarded materials and activities]
    in furtherance of any military purpose."

    The IAEA Statute
    – not the NPT – requires the IAEA Board of Governors to
    report any use "in furtherance of any military purpose"
    to all IAEA members, to the U.N. General Assembly and to the Security

    If, as Charbonneau
    charges, IAEA inspectors had found "hidden weapons-grade highly
    enriched uranium" in Iran, they would have been required to
    report that to the Board and the Board would have been required
    to report that to the Security Council.

    But, they didn’t.
    In fact, Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei has reported to the
    Board on numerous occasions that IAEA inspectors have found no "indication"
    that Iran now has, ever had or intends to have a nuclear weapons

    So, what did
    the IAEA "find" back in 2002.

    In the process
    of negotiating an Additional Protocol to the existing Iranian Safeguards
    Agreement, Iran voluntarily told the IAEA back in 2002 that, as
    a result of the United States forcing Russia to cancel the sale
    of a turn-key gas-centrifuge plant – to which the Iranians
    had an "inalienable right" to acquire and operate under
    the NPT – the Iranians had been attempting to construct gas
    centrifuges of similar design. Furthermore, once they had constructed
    several thousand and got them to work, they planned to construct
    a uranium-enrichment pilot plant and, eventually, construct a commercial
    scale uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz.

    But, contrary
    to Charbonneau and the neo-crazies, under the Iranian Safeguards
    Agreement as it then existed, the Iranians were not obligated to
    tell the IAEA about any of that activity until they began processing
    "source or special nuclear materials" for introduction
    into those gas centrifuges.

    So, why were
    there IAEA "seals" on those uranium-conversion facilities?
    Well, the Iranians had volunteered to suspend all such activities,
    for the duration of the EU-Iranian negotiations. Since the facilities
    were all already Safeguarded, the IAEA was "invited" to
    verify the suspension.

    But, the IAEA
    is not a party to the EU-Iranian talks.

    So, what could
    the Board possibly report to the Security Council? That the EU and
    Iran hoped to conclude an agreement that "will provide objective
    guarantees" that "Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively
    for peaceful purposes" and that it "will equally provide
    firm guarantees" to Iran "on nuclear, technological, and
    economic cooperation and firm commitments on security issues"?

    That on March
    23, Iran offered a package of "objective guarantees" to
    the EU that included a voluntary "confinement" of Iran’s
    nuclear programs? That the EU never responded to the Iranian offer?
    That the EU never offered Iran "firm commitments on security

    That the Iranians
    decided to end their voluntary suspension of Safeguarded activities
    and had so informed the IAEA?

    None of that
    is any of the IAEA’s business. So why report it?

    15, 2005

    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.

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