In President Bush's first State of the Union
message, he essentially accused North Korea, Iran, and Iraq of having clandestine
nuke programs and in his first enunciation of what later became known
as the Bush Doctrine warned them he would "not tolerate" their
having the nuke programs he accused them of having.
No matter that all three nation-states were signatories to the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Every NPT signatory not already in possession of nukes pledges to not acquire
or even seek to acquire nukes, in return for being guaranteed
"inalienable" rights of access to everything "nuclear" that
However, all "source and special nuclear materials" as well
as all activities involving the chemical or physical transformation thereof
have to be "declared" and made subject to a Safeguards Agreement
with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The IAEA was created in 1957, primarily to facilitate the international transfer
of nuclear energy, but the IAEA Statue requires the agency to "ensure"
through its Safeguards and Physical Security regime that "adequate
measures" are taken "to prevent the source and special fissionable
materials" transferred or produced, subsequently, "from being used
in furtherance of any military purpose."
If IAEA inspectors discover any such activity, the IAEA Board of Governors
can refer the matter to the UN Security Council, which could under the
UN Charter impose sanctions.
When the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signature
in 1968, the IAEA Safeguards regime with its Security Council enforcement
mechanism had been in operation for more than a decade.
So the NPT simply required every signatory without nukes to enter into a IAEA
Safeguards Agreement "with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy
from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons."
Note that the NPT makes use of, but does not in any way modify, the IAEA Charter
and its Safeguards regime.
However, in the aftermath of the Gulf War, the IAEA Board of Governors concluded
that existing Safeguards Agreements did not ensure that adequate measures could
be taken to ensure that "special fissionable materials" were not used
in furtherance of some military purpose. So in 1997, the IAEA unveiled a Model
Additional Protocol [.pdf], which they hoped all countries having Safeguards
Agreements would accept and adhere to.
In late 2003, Iran voluntarily did sign an Additional Protocol, vastly expanding
the authority of IAEA inspectors to go anywhere and see anything. In particular,
under the Additional Protocol, the Iranians were required to provide all pertinent
information about their plans to acquire and/or manufacture and operate gas
centrifuges. Under their existing Safeguards Agreement, the Iranians had not
been required to divulge any information about the planning, acquisition, or
manufacture of gas centrifuges, nor any information about a future uranium-enrichment
facility until shortly before introducing "source or special nuclear materials"
into the centrifuges.
In other words, under the existing Iranian Safeguards Agreement, only those
activities that actually involved chemical or physical transformation of source
or special nuclear materials were required to be reported to the IAEA.
Since Iran began voluntarily adhering to the Additional Protocol, Director General
Mohamed ElBaradei has repeatedly reported to the IAEA Board that he has found
no evidence that Iran has even planned to engage in activities including those
not even involving safeguarded materials in furtherance of any military purpose.
"Recalling the Director General's assessment in GOV/2004/83 that all
the declared nuclear material in Iran had been accounted for, and that such
material had not been diverted to prohibited activities
"Recognizing the right of states to the development and practical application
of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, including the production of electric
the IAEA Board, nevertheless, expressed
last week [.pdf] "serious concern" that "Iran had decided
to resume the uranium conversion activities at the Uranium Conversion Facility
Hadn't those activities been subject to IAEA scrutiny for many months? And
hadn't ElBaradei found no evidence that they were doing anything at Esfahan
to "further a military purpose"?
So why did the Board urge "Iran to reestablish full suspension of all
enrichment related activities" at Esfahan "on the same voluntary,
non-legally binding basis as requested in previous Board resolutions"?
Well, believe it or not, because after two years of go-anywhere, see-anything
inspections, "the Agency is not yet in a position to conclude that there
are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran."
There is nothing in the IAEA Statute that requires such a conclusion.
But even if the IAEA did come to that conclusion, do you suppose Bush would