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September 25, 2004

Iran's Golden Offer


by Gordon Prather

The Pentagon has just conducted war games, modeling a preemptive attack against the Iranian uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz – which is still several years from becoming operational – and the Russian nuclear power plant nearing completion at Bushehr.

The result? Not only would the attack be ineffective, but it might well plunge the entire Persian Gulf into a bloody, protracted war, perhaps involving nukes, perhaps escalating into World War III.

Of course the neo-crazies wouldn't mind plunging the entire Persian Gulf into war. They're convinced "they" could win that war, just as easily and quickly as "they" won Gulf Wars I and II.

And if a U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran gets us into a nuke war with Russia and/or China? No problem. Sooner or later, the neo-crazies plant to have us at war with Russia over Chechnya and with China over Taiwan, anyway.

Bummer.

Oh, well. Maybe the upcoming presidential debates can turnon what to do about Iran's "nuclear programs."

You see, our old allies (UK-France-Germany) and our potential allies (Russia and China) watched in absolute horror the unfolding of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They want to prevent an even more horrific Operation Iranian Freedom. But, even more than that, they want to preserve the viability of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards regime.

Neo-crazies to the contrary, the NPT Safeguards regime – administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – has been effective, even when the IAEA only had authority to inspect facilities subject to a Safeguards Agreement. Now that the French-Germans-Brits-Russians have got Iran to sign an Additional Protocol to their Safeguards agreement – giving the IAEA unlimited unannounced access to any and every suspicious-looking facility in Iran – Iran has little "wiggle room." Virtually no chance to hide from the IAEA the construction of illicit facilities for nuke programs or the transforming of existing ones.

Even the neo-crazies have been forced to admit that Iran could only effect such constructions or transformations after following the example of North Korea and withdrawing from the NPT.

So, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell, "The time has come to move the Iranian case to the Security Council in order to put an end to this nightmare. We know that the Europeans are trying, now, to 'engage' with the Iranians, but we know that the Iranians will never abandon their plans to develop nuclear weapons."

You see, even if the IAEA continues to give Iran's nuclear programs a "clean bill of health" – much like the one they gave Iraq in the months immediately preceding Bush's misuse of a Security Council resolution to launch a "war of aggression" – if Bush can get Iran's "refusal to abandon plans to develop nuclear weapons" before the Security Council, then maybe he can get some kind of similar resolution passed that he can similarly misuse to launch a "war of aggression" against Iran.

The Bush Doctrine worked when applied to Iraq; why not apply it to Iran?

But hold on. The mullahs may have just outsmarted Bush and the neo-crazies

You see, for some time IAEA Director General ElBaradei has been pushing for "multilateralization of the fuel cycle."

Article IV recognizes the inalienable right of every NPT signatory to acquire any and all nuclear technology and to utilize it for peaceful purposes. But ElBaradei believes that dual-use facilities – such as uranium-enrichment plants that can be transformed from making fuel for power reactors into making fissile material for nukes – "should be under international control or, at the very least, some sort of multilateral process."

Last week Iran appeared to embrace ElBaradei's multilateralization. Speaking to the Asia Times in Vienna, Mohammad Hossein Mousavian, the right-hand man of Hasan Rohani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator with both the IAEA and UK-France-Germany, announced Iran was willing to multilateralize all their nuclear programs.

Came the Islamic Revolution, Germany (Siemens) was almost finished building the nuclear power plant at Bushehr. France (Framatome) had begun the construction of two nuclear power plants at Darkhovin. In 1992 China also contracted for – but never built – two nuclear power plants at Darkhovin.

France already operates a large uranium-enrichment plant in France (EURODIF), but it uses half-century-old gaseous-diffusion technology. The Russians signed a contract – canceled by Clinton – to provide Iran a turnkey gas-centrifuge plant.

So the Iranians may have plenty of takers on their offer.

Besides, Iran is also offering, as part of a golden package, full cooperation in fighting international terrorism and restoring peace and security in the Persian Gulf.

And lots of oil.

Now that's an offer that Kerry can't refuse. But Bush?


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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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