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September 1, 2007

IAEA-Iran Resolving Outstanding Questions

by Gordon Prather

The Cheney Cabal media sycophants at the New York Times and elsewhere are indignantly reporting that Iran continues to ignore certain sections of resolutions passed by Board of Directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, requiring actions deemed "necessary" to satisfy their "concerns" about Iran’s nuclear programs – concerns subsequently "reaffirmed" by the UN Security Council, ever "mindful of its primary responsibility" under the UN Charter "for the maintenance of international peace and security."

But the reality is the IAEA has once again verified to all IAEA members and NPT-signatories "the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials" by Iran. Furthermore, Iran and the IAEA Secretariat have just announced an important agreed "time table" for "resolution" by year’s end of "all outstanding questions" relevant to the implementation of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. And even some "questions" that aren’t relevant.

On May 15, 1974, Iran entered into an agreement with the IAEA – to remain in force as long as Iran remained a party to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – wherein all Iranian "source or special fissionable materials" and activities involving them were to be made subject to IAEA Safeguards "with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful purposes."

Now, it is true that Iran voluntarily suspended certain activities in 2003 when it signed an Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement, and offered to begin complying with the Additional Protocol, immediately, in advance of its formal ratification. And, in 2005, offered to permanently suspend certain other activities, in return for certain security guarantees by the European Union.

But that offer to the EU was never even acknowledged, no NPT-illegal sanctions on Iran were ever lifted, and no security guarantees were ever provided to Iran.

So, Iran resumed some of the activities it had voluntarily suspended. Furthermore, Iran’s Parliament decided not to ratify the Additional Protocol and ordered the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency to cease complying with it.

Since then, the official mission and role of the IAEA in Iran is once again totally proscribed by the original Safeguards Agreement and its Subsidiary Arrangements.

Nevertheless, on February 4, 2006, under extreme pressure by the United States, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution in which it concluded that for "confidence" to be built "in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program" it was "deemed necessary" for Iran to :

  • re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the Agency;
  • reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water;
  • ratify promptly and implement in full the Additional Protocol;
  • pending ratification, continue to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol which Iran signed on 18 December 2003;
  • implement transparency measures, as requested by the Director General, including in GOV/2005/67, which extend beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and include such access to individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military-owned workshops and research and development as the Agency may request in support of its ongoing investigations.

Now, it is certainly within the Board’s purview to ask Iran to resolve those legitimate "outstanding questions" concerning Iran’s implementation of its Safeguards agreement, chronicled in the Director-General’s report of September 2, 2005.

But nowhere does the UN Charter, the IAEA Statute or the NPT, itself, even suggest that the Board needs to satisfy itself that any country’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

For the Board to "deem it necessary" for a sovereign state to promptly ratify the Additional Protocol to its existing Safeguards Agreement – a treaty – is an egregious violation of the IAEA UN-proscribed charter.

And for the Board to "report" Iran to the Security Council as a "threat to the peace" for Iran’s failure to comply with the Board’s illegal and outrageous demands is beyond the pale.

The primary mission of the IAEA is to "encourage and assist research on – and development and practical application of – atomic energy for peaceful purposes, throughout the world."

The IAEA Board should have censured President Clinton for his successful attempts in 1995 to prevent Russia from supplying Iran a turn-key gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment plant and China from supplying Iran a turn-key uranium-conversion plant. Or his unsuccessful attempts to prevent Russia from completing the nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

Today, the IAEA Board should be doing all it can to facilitate the coming on-line of Bushehr and completion of the uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz.

And, every nation-state throughout the world knows that.

Way down on its list of missions, the IAEA is "to establish and administer safeguards" designed to ensure special fissionable materials and activities involving them subject to IAEA safeguards are not used to "further any military purpose."

So, back to the "timetable" for "resolution" by year’s end of "all outstanding questions" relevant to the implementation of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement.

As to "outstanding" issues that are relevant to Iran’s Safeguards agreement, they agreed to try to resolve questions concerning (a) the lab experiments involving the production of minute quantities of Plutonium and Polonium-210 and (b) the source of the enriched-uranium micro-contamination found at "a technical University in Tehran."

The Iranians agreed to try to document all attempts to procure, manufacture and operate so-called P2 (second generation) gas centrifuges.

Also, even though Iran’s Safeguards Agreement doesn’t require it, Iran also agreed to try to resolve apparent inconsistencies relating to a brochure, apparently supplied by Pakistanis, gratis, found in Iran’s files and subsequently placed under seal by the IAEA, which included instructions – which the Iranians claim they never used – on how to cast hemispherical shells of uranium.

Finally, the IAEA agreed to provide Iran with access to the "documentation" it has in its possession – apparently obtained in 2004 by the CIA from the "smoking laptop" and "leaked" to the IAEA in 2005 – regarding (a) the Green Salt Project (b) high explosive testing and (c) missile re-entry vehicle studies, all alleged programs which the Cheney Cabal alleges are related to Iran’s nuclear programs.

So, if by year-end the IAEA Secretariat is satisfied that Iran is in complete compliance with its Safeguards Agreement and so reports to the IAEA Board, then how can the Cheney Cabal possibly "justify" an attack on Iran’s Safeguarded nuclear facilities?

Oh, well, they’ll think of something.

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Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

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