Monday, August 15, 2005

Iran Rejects UN Criticism, Vows to Continue Uranium Processing

Iran rejected a resolution from the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency urging it to freeze a uranium processing program, and vowed to become a nuclear fuel exporter within the next decade.

The resolution "is a vote of no-confidence in the agency,'' said the Middle Eastern country's chief delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Cyrus Nasseri, at a press conference in Vienna. "It is absurd.''

The IAEA's 35-member board of governors earlier passed a resolution drafted by European diplomats criticizing Iran's resumption of uranium processing and calling on the Islamic government to freeze its nuclear fuel program.



More Light & Less Flat-Earth Missionaries!

I appreciate your careful reporting on the on-going saga of Iran's alleged NPT violations (Mark Landler, Nuclear Agency
Votes to Report Iran to U.N. Security Council for Treaty Violations, NYT, September 25, 2005). Yet, in light of my own
understanding of the facts surrounding the NPT's genesis at and around the UN's Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament,
I am surprised at the now recurring but persistently ill-focused and ill-informed NPT debate (cf: Swiss Representative's
statement at Non-Nuclear Weapon States Conference of August 1968: I can't
help wondering what the fuss is really all about. And to those genuinely concerned with the very real security and political issues
involved, I wish them the time, intellectual honesty and clear-sightedness to raise the debate beyond the currently dominating
flat-earth visions!

I note the IAEA Board's Resolution of September 24, 2005
( to be essentially based on the publicly released list
of failures contained in the Board's Report GOV/2003/75
"47. Based on all information currently available to the Agency, it is clear that Iran has failed in a number of instances
over an extended period of time to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement with respect to the reporting of
nuclear material and its processing and use, as well as the declaration of facilities where such material has been
processed and stored."

However, as a fin connaisseur of the NPT genesis, you may remember and it may be helpful to recall now the then-U.S.
Secretary of State Dean Rusk's famous and disarmingly assuring NPT definition, as published in "Treaty on the
Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons", Senate Executive Report No 91-1, Washington 3/6/69, p.3:
"The treaty deals only with what is prohibited, not with what is permitted".
An equally instructive authentic interpretation can be found in the Memorandum furnished by the then-U.S. Atomic Energy
Commission (now: Energy Department) to the Committee "Relationship of Non-Proliferation Treaty to Atomic Energy Act
Provision regarding Military Cooperation with Allies", as reproduced in: Military Implications of the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Hearings before the Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Washington,
2/27/69, p.141:
"The NPT prohibits ... transferring complete nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices to any recipient ..."

On this background, it seems important to note that the key NPT articles II and III entail IAEA safeguards obligations only if
the nuclear material, technology or equipment is intended and declared to be for peaceful purposes. Clearly, none of these
obligations apply at all for non-peaceful, i.e. military purposes! And under the Heading "NON-APPLICATION OF
Safeguards Agreement (Infcirc 214: thus quite
naturally - and explicitly at that - provides for the termination of IAEA safeguards if correspondingly safeguarded material or
equipment is to be used for non-explosive military purposes:
"Article 14
If the Government of Iran intends to exercise its discretion to use nuclear material which is required to be safeguarded
under this Agreement in a nuclear activity which does not require the application of safeguards under this Agreement,
the following procedures shall apply:
(a) The Government of Iran shall inform the Agency of the activity, making it clear:
(i) That the use of the nuclear material in a non-proscribed military activity will not be in conflict with an undertaking the
Government of Iran may have given and in respect of which Agency safeguards apply, that the material will be used
only in a peaceful nuclear activity; and
(ii) That during the period of non-application of safeguards the nuclear material will not be used for the production of
nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;
(b) The Government of Iran and the Agency shall make an arrangement so that, only while the nuclear material is in
such an activity, the safeguards provided for in this Agreement will not be applied. The arrangement shall identify, to
the extent possible, the period or circumstances during which safeguards will not be applied. In any event, the
safeguards provided for in this Agreement shall apply again as soon as the nuclear material is reintroduced into a
peaceful nuclear activity. The Agency shall be kept informed of the total quantity and composition of such
unsafeguarded material in Iran and of any export of such material; and
(c) Each arrangement shall be made in agreement with the Agency. Such agreement shall be given as promptly as
possible and shall relate only to such matters as, inter alia, temporal and procedural provisions and reporting
arrangements, but shall not involve any approval or classified knowledge of the military activity or relate to the use of
the nuclear material therein"

Thus, I have difficulty pin-pointing which of Iran's commitments under the NPT have indeed not been complied with - by whom
and on a level comparable to less-reported or purposely overlooked and under- or non-reported socalled violations of
"obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty" by either other NPT member states or even the Agency itself. For I
have no publicly available information ruling out a - totally legitimate and legal - non-reported military-purpose nuclear fuel
program (e.g. for a nuclear submarine) for which reason Iran, in fact and in law, might have proceeded strictly in line with its
NPT obligations and in accordance with the above-quoted art.14 of its NPT Safeguards Agreement, i.e. in total agreement
with all related NPT commitments as originally intended, written down, signed and sealed.

Or do you have such information, which might justify all the exitement, finger-pointing and lack of calm and serenity which has
been observed in Vienna and elsewhere? In the event, I'd appreciate your handing me a candle to illuminate the matter! Thanks
in advance.


PS: you may be interested in some old - and forgotten, and by now apparently politically incorrect - arguments which
dominated the NPT debate at the time of its genesis (

Sun Sep 25, 09:37:00 PM +00:00  

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