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July 23, 2005

Tearing Up the NPT


by Gordon Prather

Well, that tears it. Or, rather, tears it up. President Bush effectively tore up the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons by announcing this week that "as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology, India should acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such states."

Translation? Even though India refused to be a Party to the NPT, because India has developed and tested nuclear weapons, India should now "acquire the same benefits and advantages" that the NPT bestows on the five "nuclear-weapons states" – US, UK, France, Russia and China.

Specifically, even though all NPT signatories not having nukes are required to subject all their nuclear programs to a full-scope Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the five NWS are allowed to unilaterally decide which of their nuclear programs – if any – they subject to such an agreement.

Prime Minister Singh announced India was prepared to "assume the same responsibilities and practices" of the five NWS.

"These responsibilities and practices consist of identifying and separating civilian and military nuclear facilities and programs in a phased manner and filing a declaration regarding its civilians facilities with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); taking a decision to place voluntarily its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards; signing and adhering to an Additional Protocol with respect to civilian nuclear facilities; continuing India's unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing; working with the United States for the conclusion of a multilateral Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty."

But not, of course, become a party to the NPT.

President Bush has often said he wants to "strengthen" the NPT. Obviously, that was a lie.

In fact, there had been entirely too much "strengthening" of the NPT at the Sixth Review Conference, held five years ago, to suit Bush.

The final report of the Sixth RevCon began by reaffirming the recommendations contained in the final report of the Fifth Revcon. But it took delegates to the Seventh RevCon two weeks to even agree on an agenda because Bush refused to allow the final report of the Sixth RevCon to even be discussed, much less be reaffirmed.

Among other things, the Sixth RevCon Report affirmed:

"An unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all states parties are committed under Article VI."

Disarm?

"The importance and urgency of signatures and ratifications, without delay and without conditions and in accordance with constitutional processes, to achieve the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty."

Ratify the CTBT?

"The [Sixth] Conference reaffirms that IAEA is the competent authority responsible for verifying and assuring … compliance with its safeguards agreements … 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 IAEA in this regard."

Don't challenge the authority of the IAEA?

"The [Sixth] Conference notes the reaffirmation by the nuclear-weapon states of their commitment to the United Nations Security Council resolution 984 (1995) on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons."

Give assurances to Iran that we won't attack them with nuclear weapons?

You've got to be kidding. Bush would never agree to do any of those things, now required of us by the NPT.

On the other hand, India has now agreed to ratify the CTBT and has affirmed the ‘competent authority' of the IAEA to verify compliance with India's Safeguards Agreement.

Maybe that explains the positive reaction of IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei.

ElBaradei "welcomed" the US-India agreement to embark on full civil nuclear energy cooperation and to enhance nuclear non-proliferation and security.

"Out of the box thinking and active participation by all members of the international community are important if we are to advance nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, safety and security, and tackle new threats such as illicit trafficking in sensitive nuclear technology and the risks of nuclear terrorism.

"Making advanced civil nuclear technology available to all countries will contribute to the enhancement of nuclear safety and security."

ElBaradei said that India´s intention to identify and place all its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards and sign and adhere to an Additional Protocol with respect to civilian nuclear facilities is a welcome development.

"I have always advocated concrete and practical steps towards the universal application of IAEA safeguards."

In Israel?

Especially in Israel.


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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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