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September 5, 2006

Bolton: Mission Accomplished?


by Gordon Prather

This year, Bonkers Bolton and his Gang of Three (Brits, French, Germans) have managed to get the other members of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors and the United Nations Security Council to commit assisted suicide, seriously undermining – as intended – the authority and effectiveness of the United Nations itself.

First, the IAEA – whose primary mission is to "seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health, and prosperity throughout the world."

On Feb. 4, 2006, Bolton got the IAEA Board to pass a resolution [.pdf] that (a) begins by stipulating "that nothing in the Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable rights of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production, and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination," but then perversely (b) goes on to not only deny Iran its inalienable NPT rights, but also presumes to make additional demands on Iran as an NPT-signatory.

Bolton had already attempted (but failed) to drastically modify the NPT at the 2005 NPT Review Conference, removing the demands made on us and the rights bestowed on everyone else.

Now, the IAEA Board "deemed it necessary" that Iran – inter alia – "ratify promptly and implement in full the Additional Protocol" to its NPT Safeguards Agreement.

Of course, the IAEA Board has no authority to make any such demands. So recess-appointee Ambassador Bolton brought the IAEA resolution before the UN Security Council, which does.

But upon first referral, all Bolton got was a UNSC non-binding presidential statement, which begins,

"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and recalls the right of States Party, in conformity with articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production, and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination."

Bummer.

Meanwhile, with Bush-Blair acquiescence – if not downright encouragement – the Israelis had launched a bona fide "act of aggression" against Lebanon.

Bolton soon had his hands full, preventing the Security Council from condemning Israel for it flagrant violations of the UN Charter, while strong-arming it into passing Resolution 1696, which

"Acting under Article 40 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations

"Demands, in this context, that Iran shall suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA…."

What does that mean – "acting under Article 40"?

Well, Bolton had earlier strong-armed the IAEA Board of Governors into asking the Security Council to determine that Iran's refusal to re-suspend – as "required" by the UNSC presidential statement – certain IAEA safeguarded activities constituted under Article 39 a "threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression."

Article 40 says

"In order to prevent an aggravation of the situation, the Security Council may, before making the recommendations or deciding upon the measures provided for in Article 39, call upon the parties concerned to comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary or desirable. Such provisional measures shall be without prejudice to the rights, claims, or position of the parties concerned. The Security Council shall duly take account of failure to comply with such provisional measures."

Now, the Security Council has yet to determine under Article 39 that Iran's safeguarded activities constitute a threat to the peace, much less an act of aggression. So, technically, the Council shouldn't yet be "acting under Article 40."

Nor should the Council call upon Iran to take without further delay the steps required by the IAEA Board in its resolution of Feb. 4 , which included requiring Iran to "ratify promptly and implement in full the Additional Protocol" to its NPT Safeguards Agreement.

An Additional Protocol – once ratified – can hardly be considered a "provisional measure."

The Council shouldn't be "demanding" that Iran suspend safeguarded uranium enrichment activities. After all, Bolton and his Gang of Three have made it clear such suspensions will hardly be temporary "provisional measures," taken "without prejudice" to the exercise of Iran's "inalienable rights" under the NPT.

As Iran's UN representative, Javad Zarif, put it upon passage of UNSCR 1696:

"Today we are witness to an extremely dangerous trend; while members of the NPT are denied their rights and are punished, those who defy the NPT, particularly the perpetrators of [the] current carnage in Lebanon and Palestine, are rewarded by generous nuclear cooperation agreements."

Having successfully established such a trend, it may not matter to recess-appointee Bolton whether he becomes permanent ambassador to the United Nations or not.


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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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