In her opening statement to the Sixth Review Conference
of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons held at UN Headquarters
five years ago, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright encouraged conferees to
focus on three key issues: how the treaty is working to (a) prevent nuclear
proliferation, (b) advance nuclear disarmament, and (c) enhance cooperation
in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice didn't bother to address or even attend
the Seventh RevCon being held this month. Instead, she sent some mid-level State
Department weenie you've probably never heard of named Stephen Rademaker to
instruct the conferees.
Before revealing what Rademaker directed the conferees to focus on, it might
be useful to provide some excerpts from the Sixth
RevCon Final Report.
"The Conference recalls that the overwhelming majority of states entered
into legally binding commitments not to receive, manufacture, or otherwise acquire
nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in the context – inter alia
– of the corresponding legally binding commitments by the nuclear-weapon states
to nuclear disarmament in accordance with the treaty."
In other words, the overwhelming majority of NPT signatories thought they had
obtained – among other things – a legally binding commitment by the U.S., Russia,
China, France, and the UK to get rid of their nuke stockpiles.
"The Conference emphasizes that measures should be taken to ensure
that the rights of all states parties under the provisions of the preamble and
the articles of the treaty are fully protected and that no state party is limited
in the exercise of these rights in accordance with the treaty."
In other words, President Clinton violated Iran's NPT rights when he – among
other things – strong-armed President Yeltsin into canceling the sale of a Russian
gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment plant to Iran.
"The Conference reaffirms that the IAEA is the competent authority
responsible to verify and assure, in accordance with the Statute of the IAEA
and the IAEA's safeguards system, compliance with its safeguards agreements
with states parties, undertaken in fulfillment of their obligations under Article
III, paragraph 1 of the treaty, with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear
energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
"It is the conviction of the Conference that nothing should be done
to undermine the authority of the IAEA in this regard.
"States parties that have concerns regarding noncompliance with the
safeguards agreements of the treaty by the states parties should direct such
concerns, along with supporting evidence and information, to the IAEA to consider,
investigate, draw conclusions, and decide on necessary actions in accordance
with its mandate."
In other words, the IAEA is solely responsible for deciding whether "source
and special fissionable materials" are being used by Iran "in furtherance
of any military purpose."
So as Rademaker addresses the 2005 RevCon, keep in mind that the United States
has unquestionably violated the NPT – by denying Iran's "inalienable"
rights under the treaty – but as best IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei
as can determine, Iran has not. Quoth
"Today, the treaty is facing the most serious challenge in its history
due to instances of noncompliance. Although the vast majority of member states
have lived up to their NPT nonproliferation obligations that constitute the
treaty's most important contribution to international peace and security, some
"Indeed, Mr. President, some continue to use the pretext of a peaceful
nuclear program to pursue the goal of developing nuclear weapons. We must confront
this challenge in order to ensure that the treaty remains relevant. This Review
Conference provides an opportunity for us to demonstrate our resolve by reaffirming
our collective determination that noncompliance with the treaty's core nonproliferation
norms is a clear threat to international peace and security.
"For almost two decades, Iran has conducted a clandestine nuclear weapons
program, aided by the illicit network of A. Q. Khan.
"Britain, France, and Germany, with our support, are seeking to reach
a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear problem, a solution that given
the history of clandestine nuclear weapons work in that country, must include
permanent cessation of Iran's enrichment and reprocessing efforts, as well as
dismantlement of equipment and facilities related to such activity."
So what is ElBaradei going to do about Iran's "nuclear weapons" program?
Quoth the director general:
"I have seen no nuclear weapons program in Iran. What I have seen is
that Iran is trying to gain access to nuclear enrichment technology, and so
far there is no danger from Iran."