Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What Iran Said

There have been a lot of articles posted recently about what some spokespeople, who were party to the lynching of Iran in the United Nations Security Council, otherwise known as Resolution 1803, had to say, or are saying. It is difficult to find the statements or even the name, Mohammad Khazaee, of Iran's Permanent Representative to the UN among the press clippings, at least in the United States.

Iran has had plenty of opportunity to comment on the situation post-Resolution 1803, and what I am presenting here are the reports from that meeting, about what Ambassador Khazaee said.
At the outset of the meeting, Iran’s representative said: “Today’s action of some members of the Security Council against Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme, along with the measures taken in this regard in the past, do not meet the minimum standards of legitimacy and legality.” Iran’s nuclear programme had been and would remain absolutely peaceful and in no way posed any threat to international peace and security. It, therefore, did not fall within the Council’s purview. The peaceful nature of his country’s nuclear programme had been confirmed by each and every IAEA report in the past several years.

By resolving the outstanding issues with regard to Iran’s past activities on the one hand, and conducting all its present activities, including the enrichment, under the full and continuous monitoring of the Agency, the country had removed any so-called “concerns” or “ambiguities” with regard to its peaceful nuclear activities in the past and at present, he said.

He said the Council’s behaviour in undermining the credibility and integrity of the Agency would only serve the interests of those who preferred to ignore IAEA, such as the Israeli regime, which, with hundreds of nuclear warheads in its possession, posed the most serious threat to international and regional peace and security. The future security of the world depended on how the United Nations, and especially the Security Council, functioned in a just and impartial manner. In reality, peoples across the globe had now lost their trust in the Council and considered its actions the result of political pressure exerted by a few Powers to advance their own agendas.
SECURITY COUNCIL TIGHTENS RESTRICTIONS ON IRAN’S PROLIFERATION-SENSITIVE NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES, INCREASES VIGILANCE OVER IRANIAN BANKS, HAS STATES INSPECT CARGO
The first paragraph deals with the illegality and illigitimacy of the UN action in a fairly straightforward way. The second paragraph, a statement negating “concerns” or “ambiguities” could be contested. Obviously if Iran expects to reprocess fuel, as they have stated, there is a certain ambiguity inherent in the technology itself. Iran wants to publish and use secondary materials based on Uranium processing for medical and scientific benefit and has stated it is not interested in military use of plutonium or other biproducts. It is the International Atomic Energy Agency's job to verify this, and Iran has shown a willingness to cooperate with that agency. The only damning issue for the IAEA is transparency regarding certain "alleged studies", which Irans says are "forged" or "fabricated".
Iran has not yet agreed to implement all the transparency measures required to clarify this cluster of allegations and questions. Iran has not provided the Agency with all the access to documents and to individuals requested by the Secretariat, nor has Iran provided the substantive explanations required to support its statements.
IAEA Board Report, 26 May 2008
Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA director, has chosen here to keep the ball in his court. He has chosen language, that while not blaming Iran, has the effect of increasing the amount of tension between Iran and the IAEA. The reason he has chosen to do this, is because of the claims made on the IAEA by members to investigate certain highly classified activities. At this time it is unknown whether these issues, whether they turn out to be frivolous, fabricated, true or even relevant, will ever be fully exposed by any of the parties.

However the secretness of these documents, in itself, makes them a poor claim to legitimacy by either the Six Nations, or the UN Security Council, which seems to be operating as an international rubber stamp for the 6 core operatives, consisting of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the United States, which just joined. They have taken the nickname, "P5+1", which seems to imply that the US retains the right to drop out again if it likes. There is no question that while "negotiating" without the US, the other 5 nations were always primarily acting as agent for the US and one of its allies, Israel, which has weaved between calling for the sanctions against Iran, whom they consider their enemy, calling for the U.S. to attack Iran, and making threats to strategically bomb Iran's facilities themselves. As a result of this campaign, Iranian officials and the United States officials have been involved in a war of words about potential strategies and outcomes projecting the possibility of an all-out military attack on Iran.

Back in February 22, 2008, a letter to the Secretary-General and Council President from the Ambassador Khazaee made the case for an IAEA-only solution to the crisis, quite eloquently.
In it, the Ambassador writes that the latest report of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General of 22 February (GOV/2008/4) declares the full implementation of the work plan concluded between Iran and IAEA in August 2007 (INFCIRC/711) and, thus, resolution and closure of all outstanding issues. The Director General had stressed that “the Agency has been able to conclude that answers provided by Iran, in accordance with the work plan, are consistent with its findings” and “considers those questions no longer outstanding”. The report also clearly attests to the “exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme”, both in the past and at present.

He writes that the consideration of Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme was imposed on the Council by certain countries out of “mere political motivations and narrow national interests and on the basis of certain pretexts and allegations, which have been totally baseless”. The full implementation of the work plan has eliminated those pretexts and allegations. The current and other reports show that Iran is committed to its international obligations and, at the same time, persistent in pursuing and exercising its legal and inalienable rights.

He further states in his letter that, according to the IAEA report, the Agency had recently received from Iran additional information similar to that which Iran had previously provided, pursuant to the Additional Protocol to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), as well as updated design information. Iran had provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and had provided relevant reports. It had also provided access to individuals in response to the Agency’s requests.

It had now become clear, says Iran’s Permanent Representative, that the country’s peaceful nuclear issue should be dealt with by the Agency as the sole pertinent international organization and that safeguards implementation in Iran had to be “in a routine manner from now on”. Further, “the Security Council should avoid inflicting more damage to the credibility and authority of IAEA, as well as its own credibility, by persisting in further illegal and illogical engagement and actions pursued by few countries,” he writes.
SECURITY COUNCIL TIGHTENS RESTRICTIONS
And finally, here is Ambassador Khazaee's closing statement at the meeting, probably the most eloquent of all:
MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE ( Iran) said: “Today’s action of some members of the Security Council against Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme, along with the measures taken in this regard in the past, do not meet the minimum standards of legitimacy and legality.” Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme had been brought to the Council in violation of the [International Atomic Energy Agency’s] statute; Iran had not violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. It had signed the Additional Protocol in 2003 and had begun its voluntary implementation, which it was not supposed to have begun implementing prior to 2003. In addition, Iran was only obliged to inform IAEA 180 days prior to feeding nuclear material into facilities, but it had informed the Agency about the uranium conversion facility four years prior to its operation in 2004, and also four years before Iran had been obliged to do so.

He said Iran’s nuclear programme had been, and would remain, absolutely peaceful, and in no way posed any threat to international peace and security. It, therefore, did not fall within the Council’s purview. The peaceful nature of his country’s nuclear programme had been confirmed by each and every IAEA report in the past several years. On the basis of ideological and strategic grounds, Iran categorically rejected the development, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons, as well as of all other weapons of mass destruction, and it was a leader in international efforts to oppose such weapons. The IAEA Director General had stressed in various statements that “the Agency does not have any data or evidence indicating that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons” and that there was “no evidence Iran’s enrichment of uranium is intended for a military nuclear programme”.

The outstanding issues were now resolved and closed, he stressed. The co-sponsors of today’s resolution had argued in the past that the Council should be involved due to unresolved outstanding questions. However, Iran had concluded a work plan with IAEA in August 2007 to address and resolve the outstanding issues. The conclusion of the work plan had been described as “a significant step forward” by the Director General. The co-sponsors of today’s resolution had spared no efforts to hamper its successful implementation. The Agency’s 22 February report, however, had “clearly declared the resolution and closure of all outstanding issues”. The Director General had said after the report’s release, “we managed to clarify all the remaining outstanding issues, including the most important issue, which is the scope and nature of Iran’s enrichment programme”.

By resolving the outstanding issues with regard to Iran’s past activities on the one hand, and conducting all its present activities, including the enrichment, under the full and continuous monitoring of IAEA, the country had removed any so-called “concerns” or “ambiguities” with regard to its peaceful nuclear activities in the past and at present, Mr. Khazaee said. Those who had resorted to a systematic and relentless campaign of false claims, propaganda, intimidation and pressure aimed at IAEA had prompted one of its senior officials to stress that “since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that’s come to us [from the United States] has proved to be wrong”. A well-organized and pre-planned propaganda campaign had begun even before the release of the latest IAEA report, in order to eclipse Iran’s resolving outstanding issues.

He said the full implementation of the work plan, and thus resolution and closure of the outstanding issues, had eliminated the most basic pretexts and allegations, on the basis of which Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme had been referred to the Council. “ Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme should be dealt with solely by the Agency.”

Addressing the suspension issue, he said that Iran could not and would not accept a requirement that was legally defective and politically coercive. Neither in the IAEA’s statute, nor in the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s safeguards, not even in the Additional Protocol, were “enrichment” and “reprocessing” prohibited. There was not even a limit for the level of enrichment. Voluntary suspension had been in place for more than two years in Iran and that had been verified. It had become clear, however, that those insisting on suspension had indeed aimed to prolong and ultimately perpetuate it, and thus deprive Iran from exercising its inalienable rights. The attempt to make the suspension mandatory through the Council, from the outset, had violated the fundamental principles of international law, the Non-Proliferation Treaty and IAEA Board of Governors’ resolutions.

He said the Council’s decision to coerce Iran into suspension had also been a gross violation of the United Nations Charter’s Article 25. The Council could not coerce countries into submitting either to its decisions taken in bad faith or to its demands negating the fundamental purposes and principles of the Charter. Iran needed to enrich uranium to provide fuel for the nuclear reactors it was planning to build to meet the growing energy needs. There had never been guarantees that those fuel needs would be provided fully by foreign sources. No country could solely rely on others to provide it with the technology and materials that were vital for its development and for the welfare of its people.

As a representative of a founding Member of the United Nations, he expressed “grave concern and dismay regarding the path that the Security Council has chosen and pursued”. The Council should be a secure and safe place where the rights of nations, not only were not violated, but were fully respected. A question arose as to why, after all the crimes of the Zionist regime in the Occupied Palestinian Territory had had been described as ethnic cleansing, genocide and war crimes by the international community, the Council had failed to put an end to those crimes. Recalling the Council’s inaction after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran on 22 September 1980, he said “no amount of explanation would be able to describe the disastrous consequences of these unacceptable behaviours of the Security Council”.

The Council’s behaviour in undermining the credibility and integrity of IAEA would only serve the interests of those who preferred to ignore the Agency, such as the Israeli regime, which, with hundreds of nuclear warheads in its possession, posed the most serious threat to international and regional peace and security. “Is it not time for the Council to respect the judgement of an institution that is part of the UN system? Or to respect the legitimate rights of a great nation with a long history of civilization and peaceful coexistence with other nations?” he asked. The future security of the world depended on how the United Nations, and especially the Security Council, functioned in a just and impartial manner. In reality, peoples across the globe had now lost their trust in the Council and considered its actions the result of political pressure exerted by a few Powers to advance their own agendas.
SECURITY COUNCIL TIGHTENS RESTRICTIONS
Just why Mohammad Khazaee's beautiful prose and more importantly, why all of his points and arguments seem to be completely missing from English-language news sources is the key question that needs to be answered in the disturbing saga of the Six Nations plus the Security Council vs. Iran.
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