You probably heard that – as a result of extreme
pressure brought by the Bush-Cheney administration – a special meeting of the
International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors was convened last week
to discuss what to do about the "gravest" threat to develop to "our" national
security since the end of the Cold War.
The announced resumption of certain IAEA-safeguarded programs, voluntarily
and temporarily suspended by Iran more than two years ago.
What did the Board decide to do?
Well, you may have heard misleading reports that the Board – unable to satisfy
itself that Bush-Cheney allegations that Iran had a nuclear weapons program
that IAEA inspectors had been unable to find any trace of, despite almost three
years of intrusive inspections, were without merit – did refer the matter to
the Security Council.
The Associated Press even reported – falsely – that Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad had ordered the end of voluntary cooperation with the IAEA "in response
to the UN agency decision to refer Iran to the Security Council over fears the
country is trying to develop a nuclear bomb."
But there was no referral.
Far from turning over the alleged "Iranian nuclear crisis" to the Security
Council, the IAEA Board specifically "remains seized with the matter."
The AP did correctly report that "Iran will resume uranium enrichment and will
no longer allow snap IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities – voluntary
measures it had allowed in recent years in a gesture to build trust."
But the AP didn't tell you that Iran's Parliament had passed a law last year
that required – in the event the IAEA Board reported Iran to the Security Council
– the cessation of all voluntary cooperation with the IAEA above and beyond
that required by Iran's Safeguards Agreement. And a resumption of all Iranian
safeguarded nuclear programs that had been voluntarily suspended.
Now, certain members of the IAEA Board claim to have been unable to satisfy
themselves about "the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's program." Hence
Board called on Iran to [.pdf]:
- "reestablish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related
and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified
by the Agency";
- "reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy
- "ratify promptly and implement in full the Additional Protocol";
- "pending ratification, continue to act in accordance with the provisions
of the Additional Protocol which Iran signed on Dec. 18, 2003"; and
- "implement transparency measures, as requested by the director general,
including in GOV/2005/67, which extend beyond the formal requirements of the
Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and include such access to individuals,
documentation relating to procurement, dual-use equipment, certain military-owned
workshops, and research and development as the Agency may request in support
of its ongoing investigations."
But then the Board went on to:
"Request the director general to report to the Security Council of
the United Nations that these steps are required of Iran by the Board and to
report to the Security Council all IAEA reports and resolutions, as adopted,
relating to this issue."
Just a request that Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei report to the Security
Council the absolutely outrageous discriminatory demands that his Board of Governors
has made of Iran – an IAEA member in undisputed compliance with its Safeguards
Agreement and the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons?
Well, if the Board is lucky, ElBaradei won't make such a report. And if he
does, the Board better hope the Security Council will just ignore it.
Because, in anticipation of a such a report, the Iranian delegate made these
points in a note
verbale to the Board Feb. 2, 2006 [.pdf]:
- "The mere fact that some members of the Board – who have no privilege
over the others – pre-impose certain decisions on the Board, goes against
the legal stance and authority of the Board."
- "Furthermore, these developments have revealed the political pressures
over the Board and will jeopardize the credibility of its decisions."
- "The resumption of R&D activities after two and a half years of
suspension cannot provide the ground for taking harsh decisions by the Board
and reporting the issue to the Security Council. Those activities are exclusively
peaceful and completely within the IAEA legal framework, and their suspension
was decided by Iran, voluntarily and provisionally."
- "The Board decision to report the issue to the Security Council has
no legal and technical basis."
Iran's right; it's the IAEA Board the Security Council should sanction, not