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January 24, 2009

New Era of America Leadership?


by Gordon Prather

Check it out! According to the Obama-Biden Foreign Policy Agenda just posted at the White House web-site, "President Obama and Vice President Biden will renew America's security and standing in the world through a new era of American leadership."

How?

"The Obama-Biden foreign policy will end the war in Iraq responsibly, finish the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, secure nuclear weapons and loose nuclear materials from terrorists, and renew American diplomacy to support strong alliances and to seek a lasting peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Great! But after reaffirming that

"The gravest danger to the American people is the threat of a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon and the spread of nuclear weapons to dangerous regimes,"

the White House goes on to promise that,

"Obama and Biden will crack down on nuclear proliferation by strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so that countries like North Korea and Iran that break the rules will automatically face strong international sanctions."

Say again?

What rules?

As far as a "non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty" – such as Iran has been since 1974 – there is really only one rule, namely

"Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agency's safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices." 

However;

"The safeguards required by this article shall be implemented in a manner designed to comply with Article IV of this Treaty, and to avoid hampering the economic or technological development of the Parties or international cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear activities, including the international exchange of nuclear material and equipment for the processing, use or production of nuclear material for peaceful purposes in accordance with the provisions of this article and the principle of safeguarding set forth in the Preamble of the Treaty."

And what does Article IV say?

"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."

Now; maybe all that is not clear to a dimwit like Bush the Younger, but surely President Obama will soon realize – as does most of the world – that Iran has broken no NPT rule and that for at least the past eight years it is the United States that has been the most flagrant violator of NPT rules.

Bush-Cheney-Bolton-Rice not only repeatedly violated the letter and spirit of the NPT, but deliberately and improperly interfered in the workings of the IAEA Safeguards system, undermined the IAEA Statute, and corrupted the IAEA Board of Governors.

Bush-Cheney-Bolton-Rice even corrupted the UN Security Council, strong-arming it into passing several resolutions, the most recent being UNSCR 1803 of March, 2008.

UNSCR 1803 begins with the Security Council –

"Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the need for all States Party to that Treaty to comply fully with all their obligations, and recalling the right of States Party, in conformity with Articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination."

The Security Council then proceeds to discriminate, in violation of NPT guarantees, to deny Iran the "inalienable rights" it has just "reaffirmed."

The Iranian Foreign Minister sent a formal protest to the UN Secretary General, which began by noting – correctly – that Iran "has consistently complied with its obligations" under the NPT and the IAEA Statute.

It then noted the "irrational opposition" of the United States and the Brits-Germans-French to Iran's exercising its "inalienable rights" as affirmed in the NPT and IAEA Statute, and charged that their "instrumental manipulation" of the IAEA Board and Security Council had resulted in international law and the UN Charter being "seriously violated."

Iran went on to charge that the U.S.-Brits-Germans-French provided "erroneous information" with the result that the IAEA Secretariat had been prevented from fulfilling "its real tasks on important issues such as the prevention of actual [nuclear weapons] proliferation, disarmament and developing a mechanism to effectively verify the nuclear activities of the non-parties to the NPT, particularly the Zionist regime that is continuing to develop nuclear weapons in the [Mid-East] region."

Iran then reminded the Secretary General of the substantive and procedural legal requirements set out in the IAEA Safeguards Agreements, the IAEA Statute and the UN Charter for involving the Security Council in issues related to any Safeguarded nuclear programs.

In particular, Iran correctly noted that "there has never been any reference in the Agency's reports to any noncompliance by Iran or and diversion in its peaceful nuclear activities." On the contrary, "the IAEA Director-General has repeatedly stressed that there has been no diversion of the declared nuclear materials."

(The IAEA Statute requires the IAEA Board to "find" that the Director-General has not been able to verify there has been no diversion before referring the matter to the Security Council.)

Hence, Iran found it "necessary to stress that the engagement of the Security Council in this issue – and also the resolutions adopted in this regard – have been unlawful."

In conclusion, Iran noted that "the maintenance and strengthening of international peace and security requires, as a first step, our endeavor to ensure a safer world through developing equitable international rules, and through their evenhanded implementation."

So, once President Obama has had a chance to read the Iranian Foreign Minister's letter, will he agree to take that first step?


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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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