Bolton has pushed unsuccessfully for nearly two years to get the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors to refer to the UN Security Council
what he alleges are violations by Iran of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT). Unsuccessfully, because the IAEA has concluded after an exhaustive special
inspection that there is no evidence that Iran has violated the NPT.
By signing the NPT, Iran had promised not to acquire or produce nukes. Under
the Safeguards Agreement they signed with the IAEA, Iran was required to "declare"
all their "nuclear materials," however acquired or produced. IAEA
inspectors carry out periodic on-site inspections to ensure that there have
been no diversions of nuclear materials from peaceful activities to the production
Not declaring all "nuclear materials" is merely a violation of the
Safeguards Agreement. Diverting "nuclear materials" to the production
of nukes is a violation of the treaty.
Sensing that the IAEA Board would not refer the matter to the Security Council
absent a reported flagrant violation of the NPT last month Bolton got the
G-8 Group of Industrialized Nations to try to intimidate the IAEA.
"We deplore Iran's delays, deficiencies in cooperation, and inadequate
disclosures, as detailed in IAEA Director General reports. We therefore urge
Iran promptly and fully to comply with its commitments and all IAEA Board requirements,
including ratification and full implementation of the Additional Protocol, leading
to resolution of all outstanding issues related to its nuclear program.
"We support the suspension of nuclear fuel cycle cooperation with states
that violate their nuclear non-proliferation and safeguards obligations, recognizing
that the responsibility and authority for such decisions rests with national
governments or the Security Council."
But IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei will report that Iran has
been fully cooperating and has made complete disclosures. Furthermore,
Iran has essentially been operating as if the Additional Protocol had already
been ratified. The IAEA uncovered some past failures of the sort it recently
uncovered in South Korea to promptly and fully declare all "nuclear
materials." But there are no outstanding issues to be resolved. The IAEA
has found no indication that Iran has diverted or attempted to divert "nuclear
materials" to the production of nukes. Therefore, there is no NPT violation
for the IAEA Board to refer to the Security Council.
A senior U.S. diplomat who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity
said that even if the IAEA Board balks, the United States will still seek a
referral to the Security Council based on Iran's "past record of deception
on its nuclear activities," and the matter could be referred to the Council
"in different ways."
But, absent an NPT violation, it appears that Bolton will have to convince
the Security Council that Iran's Safeguarded nuclear programs constitute a "threat
to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression." If he can do
that, then it will be up to the Security Council to "make recommendations,
or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42,
to maintain or restore international peace and security."
Under Article 41, the Security Council may "call upon the members to impose
complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air,
postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance
of diplomatic relations."
Under Article 42 the Security Council may conclude that measures provided for
in Article 41 would be inadequate. It may then call upon members to take "such
action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore
international peace and security."
If Iran refuses to accede to U.S. demands that they suspend the nuclear energy
programs the NPT gives them an "inalienable right" to have, Bolton
has reportedly written his counterparts in Paris, London, and Berlin that he
expects them to back his request for "action by the Security Council."
Chinese Foreign Minister Li
Zhaoxing said that Beijing believes Iran's nuclear issue should be resolved
within the framework of the IAEA and that China would likely "veto"
any action by the Council.
What to do? Well, apparently the neo-crazies are seriously considering launching
or condoning a preemptive strike against Iran's Safeguarded facilities,
in flagrant violation of the UN Charter.
Perhaps that is what prompted British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to declare
this week that such an attack was "inconceivable." "I don't see any circumstances
in which military action would be justified against Iran, full stop."