Anti-Iranian Hysteria

The Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons begins by affirming “that all Parties to the Treaty are entitled to participate in the fullest possible exchange of scientific information for — and to contribute alone or in cooperation with other States to — the further development of the applications of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.”

But, the NPT requires 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.

Article 28 of the Agreement between Iran and the IAEA “for the application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty” says:

The objective of the safeguards procedures set forth in this part of the Agreement is the timely detection of diversion of significant quantities of nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities to the manufacture of nuclear weapons or of other nuclear explosive devices or for purposes unknown, and deterrence of such diversion by the risk of early detection.

Accordingly, the director general and his designated inspectors “shall have access at all times to all places” as necessary “to account for [Safeguarded] source and special fissionable materials” and “to determine whether there is compliance with the undertaking against use in furtherance of any military purpose.”

When IAEA inspectors do determine that safeguarded materials have been used “in furtherance of any military purpose,” they shall report such “non-compliance” to the director general who shall thereupon transmit the report to the Board of Governors.

Then, according to the IAEA Statute:

If the Board, upon examination of relevant information reported to it by the director general, finds that the Agency is not able to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded under this Agreement, to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, it may make the reports provided for in paragraph C of Article XII of the Statute of the Agency.

But, more than a year ago, Director General Mohamed ElBaradei reported to the Board that “all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”

How, then, to explain the resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Sept. 24 [.pdf file] with respect to “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran”?

After “recalling” that “nothing in the Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable rights of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination,” the Board then proceeds to "discriminate.”

It calls on Iran “to observe fully its commitments,” voluntarily made to the Brits-French-Germans, for the duration of the Paris Agreement negotiations — to which the IAEA is not a party — “and to return to the negotiating process that has made good progress in the last two years.”

Good progress?

Who says?

The aforesaid Paris Agreement also begins with the Brits-French-Germans recognizing “Iran’s rights under the NPT exercised in conformity with its obligations under the Treaty, without discrimination.”

At a meeting in March, whereupon both parties were to make preliminary proposals as to how each side was to provide “objective guarantees” to the other, the Iranians made their proposal [.pdf file], but the Brits-French-Germans didn’t.

So, the Iranians offered to give them until June, or perhaps July.

But, Iran made it clear that any attempt to turn their voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment activities into a cessation or long-term suspension would be “incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Paris Agreement and therefore unacceptable to Iran.” When a Brits-French-German proposal had still not been received by late July, the Iranians informed the IAEA that they would be resuming uranium conversion at Esfehan as soon as the IAEA was prepared to monitor their activities.

Thereupon the Brits-French-Germans finally did make a proposal [.pdf file], in which they required Iran — among other things — “not to pursue fuel cycle activities other than the construction and operation of light-water power and research reactors.”

So, what did the IAEA Board do? Basically, they “urged” Iran to accept the Brits-French-Germans on their offer — or else! — even though the IAEA Board would essentially be requiring, thereby, Iran to forfeit its inalienable rights, guaranteed under the NPT “to participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.”

Well, that’s just what Bush and the Israelis have been demanding.

October 10, 2005

Political Theatre

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts