According to numerous reports, President Bush
– while at a meeting with leaders of the European Union last week – gave the
mullahs an ultimatum:
"If Iran's leaders want peace and prosperity and a more hopeful
future for their people, they should (1) accept our offer, (2) abandon any
ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons and (3) come into compliance with their
In other words, if Iran's leaders – the mullahs – don't meet Bush's three demands,
he intends to launch yet another preemptive war of aggression to remove the
elected leaders of yet another sovereign state.
Now, the mullahs have stated over and over that they have no "ambitions"
to obtain nuclear weapons to abandon. Nuclear weapons would be against their
religion, the mullahs say.
And, after more than three years of intrusive, go-anywhere, see-anything, interview-anyone
inspections by staff of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Director-General
Mohamed ElBaradei continues to report to the IAEA Board of Governors that Iran
is in compliance with its "international obligations."
So OK, that's two conditions met. Now, what's this "offer" Bush is
And who is "our"?
Virtually everyone reporting on Bush's ultimatum went on to note that "the
suspension of uranium enrichment is a nonnegotiable precondition set out in
the proposal made to Iran by the five permanent UN Security Council members
– Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States – plus Germany."
Now, you're supposed to get the impression that the Security Council has made
a proposal – "our offer" – to Iran containing a "nonnegotiable
But it hasn't.
The proposal was transmitted to the mullahs earlier this month by Javier Solana,
an EU official who has no connection whatsoever to the Security Council.
In fact, Solana is the EU high representative who was a party in "support"
of the Brit-French-German-Iranian Paris Accord
[.pdf] of Nov. 15, 2004.
The Paris Accord negotiations were undertaken by the Iranians in the hope they
could obtain "objective guarantees" that the EU would defy the United States,
would reestablish normal diplomatic and trade relations, and would, inter
alia, respect both Iran's "inalienable" rights and European
obligations under the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Iran reaffirmed that "it does not and will not seek to acquire nuclear
And, in order to "build further confidence" Iran "decided –
on a voluntary basis – to continue and extend its suspension to include all
enrichment and reprocessing activities."
Since all these activities were already subject to IAEA Safeguards, the IAEA
Board of Governors was notified of this voluntary suspension and the IAEA Secretariat
asked to "verify and monitor" it.
Monitoring the Iranian voluntary suspension of IAEA Safeguarded
activities is the sum total of IAEA involvement in the Paris Accord negotiations!
Whether those negotiations succeeded or failed was literally none of
the IAEA Board's beeswax.
On March 23, 2005, the Iranians made a confidential proposal to the EU to voluntarily
"confine" their nuclear programs.
In particular, the Iranians offered to forgo indefinitely the chemical
processing of spent fuel to recover unspent uranium and plutonium, and to limit
their uranium-enrichment activities to meeting contingency refueling
requirements for Iranian nuclear power plants, planned and under construction.
The Iranians also offered to submit to "continuous on-site presence of IAEA
inspectors at the conversion and enrichment facilities to provide unprecedented
When the Iranians got no response to their offer, the Iranians went public,
[.pdf] on Aug. 1, 2005, the "phased" implementation of the "confined" – that
is, contingency only – uranium-enrichment program set out in their March proposal.
Bush promptly went ballistic, strong-armed the IAEA Board into demanding that
Iran return to the Paris Accord negotiating table. Or else.
When that didn't work, Bush strong-armed the IAEA Board into "reporting"
the Iranian "dossier" to the UN Security Council, hoping the Security
Council would demand that Iran return to the Paris Accord negotiating table.
That didn't work either.
So now Bush has got the Russians and Chinese to join him and the Brits-French-Germans-EU
in demanding that Iran return to the "negotiating table."
The Iranians were asked to keep the terms of the "offer" Solana brought
to them confidential, and apparently have, so far. But according to leaks "by
'Western diplomats on condition of anonymity,'" this time the mullahs will
be required to negotiate with the U.S.-Brits-French-Germans-Russians-Chinese
the extent to which the Iranians will be allowed to exercise their inalienable
rights, guaranteed under the NPT.
And this time there is a precondition. The "confidence-building"
suspensions by Iran that were made voluntarily under the Paris Accord
are now required.
Under the Paris Accord, there were no preconditions. In fact, under the Paris
Accord, the Brits-French-Germans-EU recognize up-front "Iran's rights under
the NPT, exercised in conformity with its obligations under the Treaty, without
On March 23, 2005, the Iranians offered to voluntarily "confine"
their program while reserving all their NPT rights – and hence, reserving
the rights of all NPT signatories.
It was a good offer, and Bush should have allowed the EU to accept it.