Addressing the Board of Governors of the International
Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna last week, Jackie Sanders, the U.S. representative,
the panel that it "cannot ignore forever its statutory obligation to
report this matter to the United Nations Security Council."
Well, it seems that IAEA Deputy Director General Pierre
Goldschmidt had just provided the Board an update on the comprehensive report
made last November verifying Iran's compliance with (a) its Treaty on Nonproliferation
of Nuclear Weapons Safeguards agreement, (b) its voluntary adherence to an Additional
Protocol, and (c) its voluntary suspension as a confidence-building measure
of enrichment-related and reprocessing-related activities.
Goldschmidt began by noting that "Iran has facilitated in a timely manner
Agency access to nuclear material and facilities under its Safeguards Agreement
and Additional Protocol."
He also reported that the IAEA "has continued its activities to verify
all elements of Iran's voluntary suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing
So far, so good.
But, in an effort to be "completely transparent" about its current
and past nuclear programs, Iran has voluntarily provided the IAEA all sorts
of information about its past activities.
"During a meeting on 12 January 2005 in Tehran, Iran showed the Agency
a handwritten one-page document reflecting an offer said to have been made to
Iran in 1987 by a foreign intermediary. While it is not entirely clear from
the document precisely what the offer entailed, Iran has stated that it related
to centrifuge-technology acquisition. This document suggests that the offer
included the delivery of: a disassembled sample machine (including drawings,
descriptions, and specifications for production); drawings, specifications and
calculations for a 'complete plant'; and materials for 2,000 centrifuge machines.
The document also reflects an offer to provide auxiliary vacuum and electric
drive equipment and uranium re-conversion and casting capabilities. Iran stated
that only some of these items had been delivered, and that all of those items
had been declared to the IAEA. This information is still being assessed. The
Agency has requested that all documentation relevant to the offer be made available
for the Agency's review."
Now, some of you may recall that, in the aftermath of the Gulf War, the IAEA
had discovered a one-page memo, dated Oct. 6, 1990, summarizing a meeting between
members of the Mukhabarat the Iraqi intelligence service and an
intermediary who said he represented the Khan network.
Metallurgist A.Q. Khan had worked for a subsidiary of Urenco,
the European uranium-enrichment consortium. Khan had stolen Urenco supplier
lists and Urenco designs for a first-generation gas centrifuge, returned to
Pakistan, and established an international procurement network for creating
in the early 1980s the Pakistani gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment program.
In 1990, the Khan network was apparently offering for a price
to help "Iraq establish a project to enrich uranium and manufacture a nuclear
So now the Bush-Cheney administration and the National Council of Resistance
of Iran the political arm of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq,
a U.S.- and European-designated "terrorist group" are charging
that the offer made three years earlier to provide Iran with uranium "casting
capabilities" amounted to an offer by the Khan network to help Iran manufacture
a nuclear weapon.
Now, bear in mind that after almost two years of go-almost-anywhere, see-almost-anything
inspections, the IAEA has found no evidence whatsoever that Iran has
or ever had a nuclear weapons program.
Nevertheless, Jackie baby warned the Board that it "cannot ignore forever
its statutory obligation to report this matter to the United Nations Security
Here is what the IAEA statue has to say (noncompliance being defined elsewhere
in the statue as the use of NPT-proscribed materials and facilities "in
such a way as to further any military purpose"):
"The inspectors shall report any noncompliance to the director general,
who shall thereupon transmit the report to the Board of Governors. The Board
shall call upon the recipient State or States to remedy forthwith any noncompliance
which it finds to have occurred. The Board shall report the noncompliance to
all members and to the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations."
Wow! It's a good thing for Iran that the IAEA inspectors have not found any
instances of Iranian "noncompliance." Because, if they had, "in
the event of failure of the recipient State or States to take fully corrective
action within a reasonable time," the IAEA Board may "suspend any
noncomplying member from the exercise of the privileges and rights of membership."