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Iran III


Judging by official statements to have come from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, so far this year, the most important steps the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty can take to reduce the risks associated with nuclear weapons boil down to three (by my count, anyway—not his or anyone else’s):

* Enhance the IAEA’s inspections regime by making the 1997 Additional Protocol to the NPT the norm for all parties to the NPT across the board. (For a current list of State Parties to have signed the Additional Protocol.)

* Adopt a moratorium (with an eye towards permanence) on the development of new facilities for the enrichment of uranium or the processing of plutonium, combined with international guarantees of the supply of enriched uranium to all states seeking to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Ultimately, the world’s supply of enriched uranium/plutonium should be brought under international control, ElBaradei believes. Presently, the nuclear Haves supply themselves and everyone else.

* Most important, the world’s nuclear Haves must agree to surrender their nuclear weapons stockpiles, once and for all. In keeping with both the letter and the spirit of the NPT, expressly spelled out in Article VI, the world’s nuclear-weapon states “must also disarm more quickly and comprehensively,” as ElBaradei put it in an interview with Der Spiegel.

These steps cover the risks associated with nuclear weapons per se. Including the risks associated with the substantial black market for nuclear material, technology, and above all expertise that keeps growing by exponential leaps and bounds. The risks associated with nuclear weapons winding up in the hands of small organizations. And the risks—the gravest of them all, because of the sheer firepower involved—associated with conventional conflicts among one or more of the nuclear-weapons states escalating into an actual nuclear war. (Hardly the standard profile of the threat posed by the “rogue state” or “nuclear terrorist” in American literary circles.)

What seems virtually forgotten, and therefore worth repeating here, is what Article VI and Article VII of the NPT actually state. For the record, parties to the NPT have agreed not only to keep as vile and dangerous an instrument of destruction as nuclear weapons out of the hands of the nuclear Have-Nots. (A list that currently excludes the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Though three of the last four never have been parties to the NPT, and the very last one just withdrew its membership.)

But parties to the NPT also have agreed that:

Article VI
Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

Article VII
Nothing in this Treaty affects the right of any group of States to conclude regional treaties in order to assure the total absence of nuclear weapons in their respective territories.

Now. Articles VI and VII are clearly the cornerstones of the NPT. It would be madness to expect a nuclear Have-Not to accept this status except as part of a grand bargain with the nuclear Haves, enforceable at the international level, to come and join it some day.

Monday morning in Vienna, one of the semi-annual meetings of the Board of Directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled to begin. The IAEA’s ElBaradei would like this session of the Board to prepare for the re-appraisal of the NPT scheduled for the United Nations in New York City this coming May. The United States would like to use it to do as much damage as possible to the IAEA internally (including ElBaradei’s ouster), and to use the IAEA as a stick to beat up on the governments of Iran, Russia, and North Korea: North Korea because on February 10 the leadership in Pyongyang declared their state the newest member of the nuclear Haves; and Iran and Russia because, just today, they announced an agreement whereby Russia would one day supply Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr with enriched uranium, with Russia keeping control of the spent uranium throughout the post-reactor phase of the fuel cycle. As Reuters is reporting this agreement at the moment (by Monday morning, the American media are bound to have adopted an hysterical mode), “A key part of the agreement obliges Tehran to repatriate all spent nuclear fuel to Russia. Moscow hopes this will allay U.S. worries that Iran may use the spent fuel, which could be reprocessed into bomb-grade plutonium, to develop arms.” To my ear, this sounds a lot like what ElBaradei himself has been proposing: The life cycle of the fuel for the Bushehr plant would be controlled by a party outside of its immediate user. The point, eventually, would be to internationalize the control of the fuel. Nor just for Iran. But for all of the nuclear-active states and agencies.

On the absolutely essential question of the nature of the Iranian nuclear program, and the allegations that the Americans (and some of the expatriate Iranians who these day orbit American Power) keep making about it, and the evidence concerning the program that the inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency have found or failed to find (at least some of whom we must presume are as crooked as the states making the allegations of wrongdoing), the single best website to examine is the one the IAEA devotes to the question:

In Focus: IAEA and Iran

Just don’t forget: The IAEA is the United Nations. And as one anonymous American diplomat told The Independent about the “level of anti-UN feeling in parts of the US administration,” “These guys just cannot stand the UN getting in the way of what they want to do.” (“U.S. Agents Use Phone Taps in Bid To Unseat ElBaradei,” Rupert Cornwell, Dec. 13, 2004.)

This goes for Mohamed ElBaradei. But also the IAEA. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Russia. Britain, Germany, and France. The works.

These guys would sooner watch it all come tumbling down, than lose a big contest in this part of the world.

Pugwash Online (Homepage)

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1970-)

Model Protocol Additional to the Agreement(s) Between State(s) and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards (INFCIRC/540), September, 1997
List of State Parties to have signed the Additional Procotol

In Focus: IAEA and Iran

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran (GOV/2004/83), November 15, 2004
Communication dated 26 November 2004 received from the Permanent Representatives of France, Germany, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Kingdom concerning the agreement signed in Paris on 15 November 2004 (a.k.a., the Paris Agreement, INFCIRC/637), November 15, 2005
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran (GOV/2004/90), November 29, 2004

National Counsel of Resistance of Iran
Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization

Iran Negotiates Deal to Curtail Nuclear Work,” Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, September 8, 2004
“Doubts persist over Tehran’s true intentions regarding its nuclear programme,” Stephen Fidler et al., Financial Times, September 9, 2004
A Syrian bomb?” Douglas Davis, Jerusalem Post, September 10, 2004
Nuclear Agency’s Action on Iran Falls Short of U.S. Goal,” Craig S. Smith, New York Times, September 18, 2004
Allies at IAEA Meeting Reject U.S. Stand on Iran,” Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, September 18, 2004
Iran Moving Methodically Toward Nuclear Capability,” Douglas Frantz, Los Angeles Times, October 21, 2005
White House takes aim at U.N.’s nuclear chief,” Robert Collier, San Francisco Chronicle, November 2, 2004
Top U.N. arms inspector slams Bush,” Robert Collier and James Sterngold, San Francisco Chronicle, November 5, 2004
Iran Says It Will Halt Enriching Uranium,” Farah Stockman and Brian Whitmore, Boston Globe, November 15, 2004
“Tehran heads off sanctions with pledge to nuclear agency,” Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, November 15, 2005
Iran bows to EU pressure to freeze uranium programme,” Ian Traynor, The Guardian, November 15, 2004
“Uranium agreement with Iran Climbdown is a victory for methods promoted by UN,” Editorial, The Herald, November 15, 2004
“Iran Agrees To Freeze Uranium Programme,” Harvey McGavin, The Independent, November 15, 2004
“Iran Agrees to Nuclear Deal Sought by EU,” Maggie Farley and Sonya Yee, Los Angeles Times, November 15, 2004
“Iran Gives Pledge on Uranium, But Europeans Are Cautious,” Elaine Sciolino, New York Times, November 15, 2004
Iran ready to abandon nuclear ambitions for EU trade deals,” Rory Watson, The Times, November 15, 2004
Iran Vows To Freeze Nuclear Programs,” Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, November 15, 2004
UN Finds No Proof of Nuclear Weapons in Iran,” Brian Whitmore, Boston Globe, November 16, 2004
Europe persuades Iran to cool nuclear program – for now,” Peter Ford, Christian Science Monitor, November 16, 2004
“Europeans try to play down deal on Iran’s uranium plans,” Stephen Fidler et al., Financial Times, November 16, 2004
UN boost for Iran over nuclear arms,” Ian Traynor and Kasra Naji, The Guardian, November 16, 2004
U.N. Sees No New Nuclear Signs in Iran,” Douglas Frantz, Los Angeles Times, November 16, 2004
“Iran’s Nuclear Freeze,” Editorial, Los Angeles Times, November 16, 2004
“Europeans Say Iran Agrees to Freeze Uranium Enrichment,” Elaine Sciolino et al., New York Times, November 16, 2004
U.N. Finds No Nuclear Bomb Program in Iran,” Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, November 16, 2004
Nuclear Agency Praises Iran,” Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, November 30, 2004
“U.S. Wants to Block Iran’s Nuclear Ambition, but Diplomacy Seems to Be the Only Path,” Thom Shanker et al., New York Times, December 12, 2004
IAEA Leader’s Phone Tapped,” Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, December 12, 2004
“US taps watchdog’s phone,” David Rennie, Daily Telegraph, December 13, 2004
“Iran’s deterrent: Only the US can address Tehran’s nuclear security concerns,” Editorial, Financial Times, December 13, 2004
US tapped ElBaradei calls, claim officials,” Suzanne Goldenberg and Ian Traynor, The Guardian, December 13, 2004
“U.S. Agents Use Phone Taps in Bid To Unseat ElBaradei,” Rupert Cornwell, The Independent, December 13, 2004
“U.S. Presses for New Director Of the U.N.’s Atomic Agency,” Steven R. Weisman, New York Times, December 14, 2004
“How UN nuclear watchdog fell out with US,” Roula Khalaf, Financial Times, December 15, 2004
U.S. Alone in Seeking Ouster,” Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, January 22, 2005
Q&A: ElBaradei, Feeling the Nuclear Heat,” Washington Post, January 30, 2005
Besieged Chief of Atomic Agency Carries On,” Mark Landler, New York Times, February 1, 2005
Seven steps to raise world security,” Mohamed ElBaradei, Financial Times, February 2, 2005
N. Korea Declaration Draws World Concern,” Anthony Faiola and Philip P. Pan, Washington Post, February 11, 2005
“‘Al-Qaida also Wants the Bomb’” (Interview with Mohamed ElBaradei), Der Speigel, February 21, 2005
Washington in U-Turn Over Iran’s Nuclear Programme,” Rupert Cornwell, The Independent, February 27, 2005
11th-Hour Snag Delays Nuclear Fuel Deal Between Iran, Russia,” David Holley, Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2005
Iran Was Offered Nuclear Parts,” Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, February 27, 2005
Iran, Russia Sign Nuclear Fuel Deal Opposed by U.S.,” Paul Hughes, Reuters, February 27, 2005
Five Facts About Iran-Russia Nuclear Deal,” Reuters, February 27, 2005
UN to debate Iran’s nuclear plans,” Bethany Bell, BBC News World Edition, February 28, 2005

Iran’s Dire Threat (It might be able to defend itself),” Edward S. Herman, Z Magazine, October, 2004
The Coming Wars,” Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker, January 24/31, 2005

Iran I
Iran II

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