Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The 6 Nations, the United Nations, and the Quest for Nuclear Fire

It would seem that Iran should have the right to process Nuclear Fuel for peaceful purposes. That these purposes should remain peaceful is a matter controlled by the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and its investigative arm, the International Atomic Energy Agency. Both the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States, but not Israel (a nuclear power in the Mideast) are signatories to the NPT.

Iran's rights to process fuel under supervision are protected under
the NPT Article IV. It does seem that the U.S. might be a teeny tiny bit delinquent under Article VI though, since the U.S. (as a Nuclear Weapons State) has about 4,000 nukes left.

Article I:[10] Each nuclear-weapons state (NWS) undertakes not to transfer, to any recipient, nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices, and not to assist any non-nuclear weapon state to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices.

Article II: Each non-NWS party undertakes not to receive, from any source, nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices; not to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices; and not to receive any assistance in their manufacture.

Article IV: 1. 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.

Article VI. The states undertake 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 towards a "Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control".
So why does the IAEA not let Iran off the hook? (For that matter, why have they let the U.S. off the hook on Article VI, which demands "complete" disarmament?) I show from recent documents, and essential archives, that this is not the case. The IAEA has made "significant progress", as they have reported in May, 2008. The Security Council Resolution 1803 and the Letter and Proposals from the 6-Nations group are both quite at odds with this though. They paint a bleak picture, and impose further sanctions on the 30-year old nation. The only way out is reported as "suspension of nuclear fuel enrichment", something the IAEA, the organization responsible for verifying the peacefulness of Iran's program, has not called for in their May Governor's Report.
As you can see from the report, the Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran.

However, it is regrettable that we have not made the progress we had hoped for with respect to the one remaining major issue, namely clarification of the cluster of allegations and Secretariat questions relevant to possible military dimensions to Iran´s nuclear programme. The so-called alleged studies remain a matter of serious concern.

Why does ElBaradei call these "so-called alleged studies"? What are the so-called alleged studies, and who created them? We read on from the same document:
Iran maintains that it has never had a nuclear weapons programme and that the documents related to these alleged studies are "forged" or "fabricated". In this context, I should note that the Agency received much of the information concerning the alleged studies only in electronic form and it was unfortunately not authorized to provide copies to Iran.
So the accusations are non-verifiable and non-transparent communications from guess which spy-countries? What does this remind you of? This is clearly top-drawer Iraq War/Dick Cheney stuff. It is apparent that only with the best of luck and good administration will ElBaradei and company navigate the traps that have been set up for him by the "alleged studies" nations.

Now we come to the role played by the United Nations Security Council, which has passed at least 4 resolution pertaining to nuclear power in Iran. The latest resolution is number 1803, in which virtually none of the claims that are made against Iran are true. Starting with the usual hoidy-toidy, it meanders on to this last reasonable paragraph:
Recalling the resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors (GOV/2006/14), which states that a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue would contribute to global
non-proliferation efforts and to realizing the objective of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, including their means of delivery,
The paragraph that follows is essentially a confirmation that 1. Iran has not caved in to demands to shut down its nuclear industry, and 2. a big pack of lies and canards about issues that either don't exist, or no longer exist.
Iran has not established full and sustained suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities and heavy water-related projects as set out in resolution 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), and 1747 (2007), nor resumed its cooperation with the IAEA under the Additional Protocol, nor taken the other steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors,
The paragraph about "design information" is completely contradicted by the IAEA Governer's Report - which is foolishly unmentioned in the Security Council Resolution, except in the dissenting comments among some of the participants.
7. On 13 May 2008, the Agency carried out design information verification at the Iran Nuclear Research Reactor (IR-40) and noted that construction of the facility was ongoing. The Agency has continued to monitor the status of the Heavy Water Production Plant using satellite imagery.
Virtually none of the claims in the 1803 Resolution are true, they are mostly a rehash of the previous language. Nor are the claims substantial; here is the text of the ballyhooed Article 39, for example:
The Government of Iran and the Agency shall make Subsidiary Arrangements which shall specify in detail, to the extent necessary to permit the Agency to fulfill its responsibilities under this Agreement in an effective and efficient manner, how the procedures laid down in this Agreement are to be applied. The Subsidiary Arrangements may be extended or changed by agreement between the Government of Iran and the Agency without amendment of this Agreement.
So why did they vote against Iran and seemingly against the IAEA's report? Some of the points made in the South African Representative's report were echoed in other speeches:
DUMISANI S. KUMALO ( South Africa) regretted that the sponsors of the resolution persisted with the same text they had tabled before the IAEA Director General’s report. The resolution appeared not to adequately take into account the progress that had been made between Iran and the Agency. Adoption of the new resolution could not even be postponed until the IAEA Board had had a full opportunity to consider the matter. That left the impression that the verification work and progress made by the Agency was virtually irrelevant to the co-sponsors.

He said the rationale to bring the issue to the Council was to reinforce the decisions of the Agency and enhance its authority, yet the resolution did not accurately reflect what was happening at the Agency. He was seriously concerned about the implications of that for the Security Council’s credibility, and the only reason South Africa supported the resolution was to preserve the unanimity behind previous Council decisions.
"Preserve ... unanimity" was mentioned by a number of other members of the Security Council as reasons for their votes, so we can only conclude that unfortunately, the Security Council members would have made great Stalinists, had they only been born sooner.

What is at issue for Iran is clear: The Council Resolutions largely call for Iran to Suspend enrichment processing of Uranium, a technology that feel is their right and a central part of their nuclear industry, as their main objective. As a matter of fact, the 6-party group has promised that if Iran only cooperates with them on their terms, it will get some of its nuclear rights back sometime in the future.
For their part China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States state their readiness: ... to treat Iran's nuclear program in the same manner as any Non-nuclear Weapons State Party to the NPT once international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme is restored.
June 12, 2008 6-party Proposals
This exposes the threatening nature of the 6-party's position, that their opinion and purpose is that Iran should lose its right to process nuclear material (in other words, freeze a part of its economy) and should not again achieve it until an unknown future time, at which "international confidence" (read, the 6-parties' - or should we read, Israel's?) is deemed to be restored.

For the meantime, however the Security Council has demanded that Iran relinquish these rights, and Iran has expressed complete confidence in its defensive capability and it's willingness to fight a war, if necessary, as a means to preserve its pride and sovereignty on this issue.

So what we have here is a belligerent Israel and the U.S. both making threats (each at its own level) to attack Iran, now a powerful sovereign and independent nation, the IAEA trying to do its work, while being hampered by Catch-22 style disagreements between international spy agencies and the Islamic Republic of Iran, while the UN Security Council loses credibility as the gopher for Israel and the US (not to mention the credibility that the U.S. loses to its own constituents and the world as the water-carrier in chief for Israel), and the Islamic Republic of Iran (not unlike Israel), basically continues on enjoying its membership in the "cool-weapon-of-the-month club", while developing the peaceful nuclear technology it insists on having.

The only way out of this impasse is for the UN Security Council and 6-nation group to withdraw its demand for a suspension of Iran's nuclear industry, and restrain themselves from trying to imposing unreachable accords (Unreachable accords being those which are clearly in the interest of one party, and clearly against the interest of the other.) and simply allow the IAEA to do its job, while demanding that Iran become and remain verifiably free of nuclear weapons, at least as long as it remains under the NPT.

All of the 6-Nations countries must realize that the earth is not just for its own use; that other nations, even newer ones, are going to demand their autonomy and sovereignty above all else, just as we would. To avoid war, all of these parties must learn that acting peacefully and reasonably will get more done than a whole lot of bluster and ballast. The mentality or ideology that some countries are "good" for having weapons and other countries are "bad", for the same reason, which now seems to have a hammerlock on the Security Council, must be abandoned. Certainly, in the US, if not most of these nations, electing officials that don't put the demands of other governments above the needs of their own constituents will be a strong step in the right direction.
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