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March 18, 2006

Washington: The Biggest NPT Violator


by Gordon Prather

Well, according to President Bush’s 2006 National Security Strategy,

"America is at war.

"This is a wartime national security strategy required by the grave challenge we face – the rise of terrorism fueled by an aggressive ideology of hatred and murder, fully revealed to the American people on September 11, 2001.

"This strategy reflects our most solemn obligation: to protect the security of the American people."

The 2002 NSS [.pdf] was issued more than a year after the events of 9-11, and almost a year after Bush had invaded, conquered and occupied Afghanistan – presumably in search of Osama bin Laden, the man Bush claims is his principal opponent in the "War" on "Terror."

However, the 2002 NSS focused – as does the 2006 NSS – on "rogue states," rather than terrorists, themselves.

According to both strategies, these states –

  • brutalize their own people and squander their national resources for the personal gain of the rulers;
  • display no regard for international law, threaten their neighbors, and callously violate international treaties to which they are party;
  • are determined to acquire weapons of mass destruction, along with other advanced military technology, to be used as threats or offensively to achieve the aggressive designs of these regimes;
  • sponsor terrorism around the globe; and
  • reject basic human values and hate the United States and everything for which it stands.

In the 2002 NSS, the rogue states named were Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

The 2006 NSS focuses mostly on Iran and the nuclear weapons program Bush-Cheney-Bolton claim – without a shred of evidence – Iran has.

Iran denies that it now has – or has had, since the CIA-installed Shah fled – a nuclear weapons program.

For more than two years, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have been conducting intrusive inspections of all Iranian civilian nuclear sites – as well as numerous military sites suggested by the CIA. Iran has been voluntarily cooperating with the IAEA, even though the number and scope of these inspections go far beyond that required of Iran by its Safeguards agreement, even beyond that would be required if an Additional Protocol to Iran’s Safeguards agreement was in force, which it is not since it hasn't been ratified by Iran's parliament.

As best the IAEA can tell, the Iranians are telling the truth, even about things they have told the IAEA that they were under no obligation to tell.

In report after report, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei says that all "declared source and special nuclear materials" are now accounted for and that there is "no indication" of undeclared materials, nor of a nuclear weapons program in Iran.

So, back to the 2006 NSS.

The best way to block aspiring nuclear states or nuclear terrorists is to deny them access to the essential ingredient of fissile material.

Therefore, our strategy focuses on controlling fissile material with two priority objectives:

First, to keep states from acquiring the capability to produce fissile material suitable for making nuclear weapons; and second, to deter, interdict, or prevent any transfer of that material from states that have this capability to rogue states or to terrorists.

The first objective requires closing a loophole in the Non-Proliferation Treaty that permits regimes to produce fissile material that can be used to make nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian nuclear power program.

Loophole?

In return for Iran’s subjecting all nuclear-energy related activities to IAEA Safeguards – for the exclusive purpose of the IAEA’s being able to verify that such things as fissile material are never used to make nuclear weapons – the NPT guarantees Iran’s inalienable right to produce and use such things.

That guarantee is one of the three pillars of the NPT.

Achieving the NSS first objective requires nothing less than the destruction of the foundation of the NPT.

But that’s OK with Bush-Cheney-Rice-Bolton.

You see, another NPT pillar is the commitment – reaffirmed by President Clinton at the 2000 NPT Review Conference – to get rid of all our nukes.

Then, there’s the NPT prohibition against Bush’s assisting India with its nuclear weapons program.

And the NPT prohibition against Bush’s preventing Russia and China from facilitating Iran’s enjoyment – without discrimination – of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Truth to tell, the United States has been the most frequent and flagrant violator of its NPT obligations, and deserves to be reported to the UN Security Council.

Interestingly enough, if the members of the Security Council bother to read the IAEA dossier on Iran that Bush-Cheney-Rice-Bolton forced ElBaradei to forward to them last week, they will realize that.


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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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