Rebuking Bolton

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

Last month, Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei made yet another report that – as best he can tell – no proscribed materials are being or have been so used.

However, in his most recent report, ElBaradei made the gratuitous remark that "the agency is not at this point in time in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran."

According to Condi, that gratuitous remark raises "questions that are within the competence of the Security Council, as the organ bearing the main responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security."

How could ElBaradei’s possible incompetence translate into Iran’s nuclear programs constituting a threat to international peace and security?

Well, there’s more to it than that. Quoth Condi:

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges that we face is the policy of the Iranian regime, which is a policy of destabilization of the world’s most volatile and vulnerable region. And it’s not just Iran’s nuclear program, but also their support for terrorism around the world. They are, in effect, the central banker for terrorism around the world.

Aha! So it’s not "just Iran’s nuclear program."

No. According to Bonkers Bolton, it’s the "mullahs in charge" of those programs.

When you see the risk of a government led by a president like [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, a man who has denied the existence of the Holocaust, who has said Israel ought to be wiped off the map – imagining somebody like that with his finger on a nuclear button means that you can’t take any option off the table if you believe, as President Bush does, that it’s unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons.

They’re determined to acquire nuclear weapons, unless we can find a way to stop them. And what we’re trying to do through peaceful and diplomatic means in the Security Council is put heat on it. As long as the hard-lined mullahs are in charge, we think they’re determined to get them and we’re determined to stop them.

Hence, Bush-Cheney-Rice got the IAEA Board to report the entire Iranian dossier to the Security Council because the "mullahs are in charge" there.

Unfortunately, that dossier not only documents (a) Iran’s voluntary cooperation with IAEA inspectors that far exceeds anything required by their Safeguards Agreement (beyond even that required by an Additional Protocol), but also documents (b) numerous serious violations by the Board, itself, of Iran’s "inalienable" rights, guaranteed under the IAEA Statute.

According to Bolton:

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 …

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, after three weeks of acrimonious debate about it, this week the Security Council issued a Presidential Statement, which begins as follows:

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.


Iran – even under the mullahs – is guaranteed the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes?

Without discrimination?

But, what about Condi’s "questions"?

Well, 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."

Nevertheless, the Council essentially remanded the Iranian dossier to the IAEA Board:

The Security Council strongly supports the role of the IAEA Board of Governors … and underlines the necessity of the IAEA continuing its work to clarify all outstanding issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme.

And, since the Council thinks the NPT is worth saving, the Presidential Statement "calls" on mullahs to please, please, please go an extra mile with the IAEA to save it.

April 3, 2006