Well, according to a report
released last month by the Grand Pooh-Bahs of The Bipartisan Policy Center –
and an op-ed
piece based upon their report, published this week in the Washington
Post – it shouldn't matter whether a Republican or a Democrat becomes our
next President; he'll probably have to bomb-bomb Iran. And the sooner, the better.
Well, first of all, according to the Grand Pooh-Bahs, by insisting on their
NPT rights and by defying the illegal efforts of the Board of Governors of the
International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN Security Council to prevent their
exercising those inalienable rights, the Islamic Republic's regime has "undermined"
our glorious nuclear-weapons proliferation-prevention regime.
Never mind that representatives of that Islamic regime have repeatedly charged
– at meetings of the IAEA Board of Governors, the UN Security Council, the UN
General Assembly, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned
Group Ministerial Conference – that it is the United States that has
deliberately all but destroyed the NPT-IAEA nuke proliferation-prevention regime.
Agreement – which gave the IAEA the "right and the obligation" to ensure
that safeguards are applied on "all source or special fissionable material …
for the exclusive purpose of verifying that such material is not diverted to
nuclear weapons" – entered into force in 1974.
So what constitutes being in non-compliance with NPT obligations? The IAEA's
reporting that certain NPT-proscribed materials have been diverted to a nuclear
In the early 1990s, Russia had agreed to complete the nuclear power plants
at Bushehr, whose construction had begun under the Shah, and build a gas-centrifuge
uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz.
Also in the early 1990s, China had agreed to provide Iran two 300 MW nuclear
power plants and a uranium-conversion plant at Isfahan.
But in 1995, as a result of intense pressure by President Clinton on Russia
and China – and on European suppliers of auxiliary equipment – Russia canceled
the gas-centrifuge facility contract and China canceled the power plant contract.
In 1997, China also canceled the uranium-conversion plant contract.
The Russians continued to honor their contract to complete at least one of
the 1,000 MW power plants at Bushehr.
So the Iranians decided to try to develop or acquire – secretly, but not illegally
– elements of the nuclear fuel-cycle themselves.
(It is important to note that under their existing basic Safeguards Agreement,
they were – and are, once again – under no obligation to inform the IAEA about
any of those activities until shortly before they actually involve(d) the chemical
or physical transformation of safeguarded nuclear materials.)
The most serious Iranian "violation" of its existing Safeguards agreement was
the failure to report at the time the importation from China in 1991 of small
amounts of uranium oxide to be used for testing of different processes involved
in the then-to-be-supplied Chinese uranium-conversion facility.
The facility – which the Iranians had to build, themselves – had been subjected
to IAEA Safeguards before their agreement required it, but the Iranians had
never reported the test materials – which they had not yet used – they had got
Then in December 2003, Iran signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and announced
it would "cooperate with the Agency in accordance with the [Additional] Protocol
in advance of its ratification."
And "cooperate" they did, until the summer of 2006, when under intense
U.S. pressure, the IAEA Board demanded that Iran suspend indefinitely (contrary
to the IAEA Statute) all its Safeguarded uranium-enrichment programs.
However, last year Iran agreed to a Work
Plan, which provided Director-General ElBaradei access to certain Iranian
facilities, personnel, operating and procurement records – access going far
beyond what would have been required even under the Additional Protocol if it
had ever been ratified – that ElBaradei deemed necessary for satisfying his
concerns about the "nature" of Iran's nuclear programs.
Contrary to the claims of the Bipartisan Grand Pooh-Bahs, the IAEA has never
charged Iran with being in non-compliance with the NPT – has never even suggested
that any NPT-proscribed materials may have been diverted to any military
program. And ElBaradei has now reportedly satisfied himself that there is no
evidence that Iran now has – or ever had – a nuclear weapons program.
In fact, as a result of having successfully undergone years of such unprecedented
scrutiny, the Islamic regime has emerged as the most vocal defender of the virgin
NPT-IAEA regime, and as the most vocal critic of the way it has been violated.
To the dismay of the Israeli Ambassador, the Iranians were "hugged"
and "cheered," primarily for that defense and criticism, at last month's
meeting of the UN General Assembly.
Okay, never mind that. But, what about this?
According to the Bipartisan Grand Pooh-Bahs, Iran's refusal to suspend, indefinitely,
its IAEA Safeguarded programs "may pose the most significant strategic
threat to the United States during the next administration."
But didn't last year's National
Intelligence Estimate conclude that Iran had "suspended" way back
in 2003 whatever "nuclear warhead" work they may have been doing?
Well, yes, but according to the Bipartisan Grand Pooh-Bahs –
"Its [the NIE's] artificial separation between military and civilian
technology contradicts a reality where such distinction cannot be made.
Despite Tehran's protestations, we do not believe its program is inherently
peaceful in nature."
"Even if Tehran does not actually build or test a nuclear weapon,
its establishment of an indigenous [uranium] enrichment capability places
the region under a cloud of ambiguity, given uncertain Iranian capacities
and intentions. Such ambiguity will give the Islamic Republic a de facto
nuclear deterrent, which could embolden it to reinvigorate its export of
revolution and escalate support for terrorist groups."
Mercy! What is the next President to do?
Well, the Bipartisan Grand Pooh-Bahs "agree" that "diplomacy"
should "underlie" our "strategy" for illegally (under the
IAEA Statute and the UN Charter) preventing Iran from exercising its NPT-guaranteed
rights to the use of "atomic energy" for peaceful purposes. However,
they "acknowledge" that said "diplomatic approach" hasn't
So, listen up, all you Presidential Candidates.
If you find, upon taking office, that Iran's alleged "de facto
nuclear deterrent" hasn't already been "taken out," you'd better
do it. In a bipartisan manner, of course.