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July 8, 2006

Subverting IAEA-NSG Regime


by Gordon Prather

The Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) recognizes the "inalienable right" of all signatories to "the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information" related to the "use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."

Furthermore, all NPT signatories are to "undertake" to "facilitate" that exchange.

That means Iran has the "inalienable right" to acquire the nuclear reactors that Russia has undertaken to supply and the uranium-conversion equipment that China undertook to supply.

As a non-nuclear-weapons signatory, the NPT requires Iran to subject all transfers to the Safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

On the other hand – thanks to Bush-Cheney-Condi-Bolton – the Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK) is no-longer a NPT signatory, and hence, has no such "inalienable right" to acquire nuclear reactors, uranium-enrichment and uranium-conversion equipment, even if to be used for peaceful purposes.

But neither is DPRK prohibited from making such acquisitions.

However, the 44-members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group have voluntarily agreed to coordinate their export rules, regulations and laws relating to "nuclear" and "dual use" materials, equipment and technology. Since 1992 the NSG has required the importing country of certain NPT-proscribed materials, equipment and technology to subject all their nuclear activities – peaceful or otherwise – to IAEA Safeguards.

That means that NSG guidelines have effectively prevented the importation of certain NPT-proscribed materials (such as nuclear power plant fuel) to Israel, India, Pakistan and now DPRK, because of their understandable unwillingness to subject their nuke stockpiles and nuke-related programs to IAEA Safeguards.

But now Bush-Cheney-Condi have concluded the US-India Strategic Partnership and have, necessarily, pressured the NSG to permanently exempt India from the requirement to subject all their nuclear activities – peaceful or otherwise – to IAEA Safeguards.

The Russians immediately agreed to the permanent exemption and have already supplied India nuclear reactor fuel that the US had pressured them – up until now – not to supply. Is there a Russia-India Strategic Partnership on the horizon? Why not?

And perhaps the Chinese will decide to permanently exempt Pakistan – rather than India – from that 1992 NSG guideline. Perhaps even conclude a China-Pakistan Strategic Partnership. Why not?

(There is considerable reason to believe that the United States has always had a covert Strategic Partnership with Israel.)

So, that would leave only the DPRK subject to the 1992 NSG Guidelines.

You know, the country the Soviet Union persuaded to sign its first Safeguards Agreement in 1977, to sign the NPT in 1985, and the country Russia persuaded to sign its NPT Safeguards Agreement in 1992.

Of course, that was just after the IAEA had discovered that Iraq’s Safeguards Agreement hadn’t given its inspectors the authority needed to satisfy themselves that all materials and activities that should be "declared" in a country are, in fact, declared.

DPRK balked at voluntarily providing that additional authority to the IAEA that the UN Security Council had just provided it in Iraq. So, IAEA Director-General Hans Blix appealed to the IAEA Board to appeal to the Security Council to provide him that authority.

So, on 12 March, 1993, DPRK announced its intention to withdraw from the NPT, thereby voiding its IAEA Safeguards Agreement. Its principal stated rationale for withdrawing was its claim that the United States had threatened its national security by, inter allia, strong-arming the IAEA Board of Governors into adopting on 25 February, 1993, a resolution requiring DPRK officials to open military sites to inspection that were not related to its declared source and special nuclear materials or activities involving the physical or chemical transformation of such materials.

(Like what Condi has got the IAEA Board to require of Iranian officials?)

Then, on 21 October, 1994, the US and DPRK signed the so-called Agreed Framework, wherein the DPRK agreed to "freeze" and "eventually dismantle" its Russian-supplied plutonium-producing reactors and related facilities, in return for United States "provision" by 2003 of two light-water moderated and cooled 1000 MWe power plants.

(Like the offer Condi and the Brits-French-Germans-Chinese-Russians have reportedly just made to Iran?)

As we now know, Clinton-Gore never intended to comply with the requirements of the Agreed Framework, not expecting the Kim dynasty to survive long.

And of course, Condi doesn’t intend to comply with any agreement reached with the Iranians, the Mullahs not expected to survive long.

But here it is, 2006, and the Kim dynasty’s still in power, demonstrating its principal cash crop – ballistic missiles – some no doubt capable of delivering its newest cash crop – nukes – developed courtesy Bush’s unilateral abrogation of the Agreed Framework in October, 2002.


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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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