As a signatory to the Treaty on Nonproliferation
of Nuclear Weapons, Iran is required to subject all "source or special
fissionable material" being produced, processed, or used in any principal facility
to verification – "in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic
Energy Agency" – that none is diverted from peaceful uses, to use in nuclear
All of it.
Although Pakistan and India are not NPT signatories, each have some
materials and activities that are subject to safeguards.
Why make a point of this?
Because, according to the IAEA Statute, it ought to make no difference
whatsoever to the IAEA Board of Governors whether all source and fissionable
materials and activities involving them are subject to an IAEA Safeguards Agreement
It is the NPT – not the IAEA Statute – that requires Iran to subject all
source and fissionable materials and all activities involving them to an IAEA
Hence, it is the NPT-required Safeguards Agreement that empowers the IAEA to
(a) verify that all Iranian source and fissionable materials – and all
activities involving their physical or chemical transformation – have been "declared,"
and that (b) there has not been any diversion of nuclear material to
nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
According to all Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei's reports made since November
2004, there is no indication that there are now any "undeclared" source
or special nuclear materials in Iran; nor is there any indication of any
diversion of nuclear materials.
What if India produces nuclear weapons with source or special nuclear materials
it has not made subject to safeguards?
Hey, according to Bonkers Bolton, that's no problem.
Since India isn't a NPT signatory, what it does with source or special nuclear
materials it hasn't made subject to an IAEA Safeguards Agreement is none of
the IAEA's business.
But suppose the IAEA discovers that India has used "declared" materials
in furtherance of some military purpose. Making armor-piecing bullets with "depleted
uranium" produced by a safeguarded uranium-enrichment facility, for example.
Well, that would certainly be a violation of India's Safeguards Agreement.
And if – in connection with the activities of the agency – there should arise
"questions that are within the competence of the Security Council":
"The agency shall notify the Security Council as the organ
bearing the main responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and
Now, would the discovery of such a violation by India be a serious threat to
international peace and security?
Nevertheless, despite ElBaradei's many reports that Iran is not in "violation"
or in "noncompliance" with its NPT-required Safeguards Agreement, Condi Rice
has seized on these words in ElBaradei's most
recent report [.pdf] – "the agency is not at this point in time in a position
to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in
Iran" – and declared them to be "questions that are within the competence of
the Security Council."
It's doubtful that ElBaradei would ever be in a position – no matter how much
more Iran cooperated or how much additional authority the UN Security Council
gave him – to make such a conclusion.
Besides, no one asked him.
The truly important part of all ElBaradei's recent reports is that as best
he can tell, after more than two years of go-anywhere, see-anything inspections,
Iran is in compliance with its NPT-required IAEA Safeguards Agreement.
Nevertheless, at Condi's insistence, the IAEA Board has reported to the Security
Council the entire Iranian dossier, which not only documents Iran's voluntary
cooperation with IAEA inspections that far exceed anything required by their
Safeguards Agreement (beyond even that required by an Additional Protocol),
but documents numerous serious violations by the Board and individual members
of Iran's "inalienable" rights under the IAEA Statute, as well as the NPT, itself.
Well, Rice reportedly told ElBaradei she wanted Iran's "case" before the Security
Council as soon as possible so she could seek a "Presidential Statement" noting
Iran's "past failures to comply with its international commitments."
Presidential Statements are the product of informal consultations between the
Council's president and its members and do not enjoy the status of Security
But as President Bush demonstrated three years ago when he attacked Iraq, "We
don't need no stinking resolutions!"
Last month, Bonkers Bolton was president, and Rice could probably have gotten
a Presidential Statement specifically authorizing council members – individually
or collectively – "to take appropriate measures" against Iran.
But someone should tell Condi that Ambassador César Mayoral of Argentina
is president this month.