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May 26, 2007

Effecting Regime Change in Iran


by Gordon Prather

There is reportedly a heated debate underway between members of the Cheney Cabal – who want to bomb-bomb-Iran – and members of the Condi diplomacy crowd, who want to conduct "covert" destabilizing operations within Iran and to impose crushing sanctions on the Iranians, themselves.

The "diplomatic" approach towards effecting regime change in Iran reportedly has the support of the Pentagon and the Intelligence Community.

Unfortunately, the diplomatic approach – which has already resulted in the defenestration of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the corruption of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as the UN Security Council, itself – doesn’t seem to be working.

As a result of more than two years of "diplomatic" pressure, the IAEA Board did adopt resolution GOV/2006/14 [.pdf] and the Security Council did adopt UNSCR 1747 [.pdf], in which the Council, inter alia:

"re-affirmed that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall without further delay take the steps required by the Board of Governors in (IAEA) resolution GOV/2006/14, which are essential to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of its nuclear programme and to resolve outstanding questions."

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei has just submitted report GOV/2007/22 covering (a) the implementation of Iran’s NPT Safeguards Agreement and (b) Iran‘s compliance with UNSCR 1747.

Contrary to what you’ve been told by the same folks – minus Judith Miller – who sold you on Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq, ElBaradei reports that Iran continues to be in complete compliance with its NPT Safeguards Agreement.

"Pursuant to its NPT Safeguards Agreement, Iran has been providing the Agency with access to declared nuclear material, and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and facilities."

Hence

"the Agency is able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran."

Hence, contrary to statements by "senior administration officials," Iran continues to fulfill all its NPT obligations.

However, ElBaradei reports that Iran is not in compliance with IAEA resolution GOV/2006/14 and UNSCR 1747.

Nor does it appear that Iran intends to so comply.

Here’s what Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had to say [.pdf] when he was allowed to address the Security Council, after – of course – UNSCR 1747 had already passed.

"As an organ of an international Organization created by States, the Security Council is bound by law, and Member States have every right to insist that the Council keep within the powers that they accorded it under the Charter of the United Nations.

"The Security Council must exercise those powers consistently with the purposes and principles of the Charter. Equally, the measures it takes must be consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations and with other international law. Members of the Security Council do not have the right to undermine the Council’s credibility.

"There is every reason to assert that the Security Council’s consideration of the Iranian peaceful nuclear program has no legal basis, since the referral of the case to the Council [by the IAEA Board] and then the adoption of resolutions [by the UNSC] fail to meet the minimum standards of legality. Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities cannot, by any stretch of law, fact or logic, be characterized as a threat to peace."

The NPT obligates no-nuke signatories like Iran to subject all "source or special fissionable materials" and all activities involving such materials to an IAEA safeguards agreement.

The IAEA Statute – not the NPT – provides a mechanism for ensuring "compliance with the undertaking against use [of safeguarded materials and activities] in furtherance of any military purpose."

Since 1974, all Iranian nuclear programs have been subject to a Safeguards Agreement [.pdf] with the International Atomic Energy Agency – as required by the NPT.

As of this writing, the IAEA Director-General continues to report that Iran is in complete compliance with its Safeguards Agreement and that no NPT-proscribed materials have ever been diverted by Iran to a military purpose.

So, what are these "outstanding questions" to which UNSCR 1747 refers?

Well, in the process of negotiating an Additional Protocol to the existing Iranian Safeguards Agreement Iran voluntarily told the IAEA back in 2002 that, as a result of the United States forcing Russia to cancel the sale of a turnkey gas-centrifuge plant – which the Iranians had an "inalienable right" to acquire and operate under the NPT – the Iranians had been attempting to construct gas centrifuges of similar design.

But, contrary to Condi and the Cheney Cabal, under the Iranian Safeguards Agreement as it then existed, the Iranians were not obligated to tell the IAEA about any of that activity until they began processing "source or special nuclear materials" for introduction into those gas centrifuges.

Nevertheless, the Iranians had volunteered to suspend all such activities for the duration of the "Paris Accord" negotiations with the Brits-Germans-French. Although the IAEA was not a party to the negotiations, the IAEA was "invited" to verify the suspension.

The Paris Accord negotiations were undertaken by the Iranians in the hope they could obtain "objective guarantees" that the European Union would defy the United States, would reestablish normal diplomatic and trade relations that would, inter alia, respect both Iran's "inalienable" NPT rights and European NPT obligations.

On March 23, 2005, Iran offered a package to the Brits-Germans-French that included a voluntary "confinement" of Iran's nuclear programs, to which – as a result of pressure by Condi’s "diplomats" – the Brits-Germans-French never even acknowledged. Much less did they ever offer Iran "firm commitments on security issues."

So, in July, 2005, the Iranians decided to end their voluntary suspension of IAEA Safeguarded activities and so informed the IAEA.

As noted, the IAEA was not a party to the Paris Accord negotiations, so the success or failure of them was none of the IAEA’s business.

Nevertheless, under intense pressure from Condi’s diplomats, first the IAEA Board of Governors, and eventually the UN Security Council, made it their business.

Hence, there resulted a series of Board and Security Council resolutions that have demanded – in effect – that Iran immediately cease and permanently abandon all those activities which the NPT affords an "inalienable right" and accept the institution in Iran of an inspection regime rivaling the one imposed on Iraq by the Security Council in the aftermath of the first Gulf War.

The alternative for Iran?

Apparently, the Cheney Cabal gets to launch Gulf War III.


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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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