The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) "aims
to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states while ensuring
fair access to peaceful nuclear technology under international safeguards
(audits and inspections).
"There are two categories of parties to the treaty -- nuclear weapon states
(NWS) and non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS). Under the treaty, NWS are
defined as the five states that exploded a nuclear device before January 1,
1967 (United States, Soviet Union -- now Russia, United Kingdom, France, and
China)." Iran is a non-nuclear weapon state.
Security Council Resolution 1696 is of 'dubious legality'
At the end of July 2006, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1696
making enrichment suspension mandatory under Chapter VII of the UN Charter --
which empowers the Security Council to act in the face of "threat to the
peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of agression."
Age of Deception" (p199), IAEA Director General ElBaradei writes that
the resolution was of "dubious legality". There was still no proof that
Iran's nuclear activity involved a weapons program. It was quite a stretch
to say that a small laboratory-scale centrifuge-cascade constituted "a
threat to international peace and security" when peaceful uranium enrichment
is legal for all member states under the NPT.
Article I: Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to
transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear
explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly,
or indirectly . . .
The IAEA report released on November 8, 2011, does not claim that Iran is in
violation of Article I.
Article II: Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty
undertakes . . . not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or
other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance
in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
The IAEA report (paragraph 53) states: "The information indicates that Iran
has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear
explosive device. The information also indicates that prior to the end of
2003, these activities took place under a structured programme, and that
some activities may still be ongoing."
The IAEA conclusion is based upon information it "has continued to receive,
collect and evaluate" (paragraph 11) including information regarding
"development of safe, fast-acting detonators, and equipment suitable for
firing the detonators" (paragraph 38). Iran's efforts "were assisted by the
work of a foreign expert" (paragraph 44).
"But", according to Gareth
Porter, "it turns out that the foreign expert, who is not named in the
IAEA report but was identified in news reports as Vyacheslav Danilenko, is
not a nuclear weapons scientist but one of the top specialists in the world
in the production of nanodiamonds by explosives."
"On 4 December 2007 US Intelligence concluded that the Iranians discontinued
their nuclear program in 2003 and had not resumed it. The
National Intelligence Estimate disclosed that all 16 US intelligence
agencies reported that Iran was still enriching uranium and if they
restarted the program with the desire to create an atomic bomb, they could
produce one by 2010 or 2015."
A year earlier, former Director General of the IAEA, Mohamed
ElBaradei had warned that as many as 30 countries could soon have
technology that would let them produce atomic weapons "in a very short
time," joining the nine states known or suspected to have such arms.
In 2010, the Belfer Center at Harvard University, estimated that 40 countries
"have the technical ability to build nuclear arsenals".
Having "the technical ability to build nuclear arsenals" is not a violation
of the NPT. Indeed, this capability may be acquired in the pursuit of
"peaceful nuclear technology" -- Article IV specifically permits this.
Article III: Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to
accept safeguards . . . with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear
energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive
The IAEA report states (paragraphs 6 and 7): "Under its Safeguards
Agreement, Iran has declared to the Agency 15 nuclear facilities and nine
locations outside facilities where nuclear material is customarily used
(LOFs). Notwithstanding that certain of the activities being undertaken by
Iran at some of the facilities are contrary to the relevant resolutions of
the Board of Governors and the Security Council, as indicated below, the
Agency continues to implement safeguards at these facilities and LOFs.
"Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the
Security Council, that Iran has not suspended its enrichment related
activities in the following declared facilities [Natanz, Fordow], all of
which are nevertheless under Agency safeguards."
However, the resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council,
demanding that Iran suspend its enrichment activities, is a denial of Iran's
rights under Article IV of the NPT.
At Natanz, the IAEA "has concluded that the facility has operated as
declared by Iran in the Design Information Questionnaire".
At Fordow, environmental samples taken at FFEP up to 27 April 2011 did not
indicate the presence of enriched uranium".
"The Agency is still awaiting a substantive response from Iran to Agency
requests for further information in relation to announcements made by Iran
concerning the construction of ten new uranium enrichment facilities".
This information is required pursuant to the Additional
Protocol that Iran accepted in 2003 as a
voluntary, confidence-building measure, and agreed to suspend its enrichment and
reprocessing activities during the course of the negotiations.
The IAEA report does not claim that Iran is in violation of Article III.
Article IV: Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as
affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop
research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without
discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.
Under the NPT, Iran is permitted to engage in "enrichment related
activities" for "peaceful purposes". Naturally ocurring uranium contains 0.7
percent U-235. Iran requires enriched uranium for generation of electricity
and for medical purposes (typically containing 20 percent U-235 -- weapons grade
uranium typically contains 85 percent U-235).
The IAEA report does not state that there's been a "diversion of nuclear
energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive
Iran has offered the international community several options to assure it
that its enrichment activities remain in compliance with the NPT.
Article V: Each Party to the Treaty undertakes to take appropriate
measures to ensure that, . . . potential benefits from any peaceful
applications of nuclear explosions will be made available to
non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty on a non-discriminatory basis
. . .
Instead of making available to Iran "potential benefits from any peaceful
applications of nuclear explosions" as required by the NPT, the UN Security
Council, and Israel (which is not a signatory to the NPT) are denying and/or
threatening Iran's rights under Article V -- i.e. the enrichment of uranium
for peaceful purposes.
Cyber attacks on Iran's
nuclear facilities, and assassination
of Iran's scientists, are being employed to thwart Iran's peaceful pursuit of
"The best way to know the full extent of Iran's nuclear doings is to offer
it help" wrote Jack Boureston and Charles D. Ferguson in the Bulletin of
the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2005.
Article VI: Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue
negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of
the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a
treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective
Instead of working toward "nuclear disarmament", Tony Benn, UK Cabinet minister in the
Wilson and Callaghan governments from 1964-79, writes that the US is building
a new class of nuclear weapons -- a violation of Article VI.
"Despite government budget pressures and international rhetoric about
disarmament, evidence points to a new and dangerous "era of nuclear
weapons", the report for the British American Security Information Council
(Basic) warns. It says the US will spend $700bn on the nuclear
weapons industry over the next decade, while Russia will spend at least
$70bn on delivery systems alone. Other countries including China, India,
Israel, France and Pakistan are expected to devote formidable sums on
tactical and strategic missile systems" according to Richard Norton-Taylor.
Article X: Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty
have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary
events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the
supreme interests of its country.
While Iran insists that it will not build nuclear weapons, should it choose
to do so lawfully, it can withdraw from the NPT like North Korea did in 2003.
India, Israel, Pakistan remain outside the NPT, and have substantial stockpiles
of nuclear weapons.
Is Iran being singled out because of its strategic location in the oil and
gas-rich Middle East and Central Asia?
According to John Pilger, "No
blueprint for the new imperialism is more respected than Brzezinski's.
Invested with biblical authority by the Bush gang, his 1997 book "The
Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives"
describes American priorities as the economic subjugation of the Soviet
Union and the control of central Asia and the Middle East."
Threats of war against Iran are tantamount to terrorism.
The dictionary definition of terrorism is "use of force or threats to
demoralize, intimidate, and subjugate, esp. such use as a political weapon
The UN High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
defined terrorism as "any action intended to cause death or serious
bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating
a population or compelling a government or an international organisation to
do, or abstain from, any act."
Under any reasonable definition of terrorism, Israeli, UK, and US threats
to attack Iran constitute terrorism.
Such threats are also a violation of the UN Charter, Chapter VI, Article 33
-- "The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to
endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first
of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation,
arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or
arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice."
In the April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), the United
States declared that it would not use nuclear weapons against
non-nuclear-weapon states that are members in good standing of the nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
Given repeated US and Israeli threats
to bomb Iran's (NPT-compliant) nuclear facilities, and the war on Iraq for
its non-existent weapons of mass destruction, Iran's reluctance to provide
certain information to the IAEA (beyond that required by the Safeguards
Agreement) is understandable.
"The United States spends over $700 billion on defense each year; Iran
spends a mere $10 billion." On what basis, asks Stephen M Walt, is Iran "the greatest
threat to the world?"
How many countries has Iran attacked in the last 50 years? 100 years? How
many countries have Israel and the US attacked? Does this tell us anything?
The technical issues with Iran's nuclear program could have been resolved
within the IAEA, but they have become
politicized within the UN Security Council, and driven Iran and the US
To better understand the schism between the two countries, listen to
this interview about Operation Ajax with the author of All
The Shah's Men (ignore his statements about 9/11). It reshaped the history of Iran, the
Middle East and the world.
[Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Director Fereydoun Abbasi . . .
told the Iranian Students News Agency that Iran will build four or five
reactors for research and medical isotope production in the coming years and
that the reactors will use 20 percent-enriched
uranium fuel.--Peter Crall, "Iran Says It Needs
More 20%-Enriched Fuel," armscontrol.org, May 2011]
[Since there is no evidence presented in this new report by the IAEA
Director General that Iran has physically constructed a nuclear explosive
device or any of its components, one can conclude that the Director
General's concern expressed in this report cannot be justified as being
based upon a breach of a rule of international law prohibiting the
activities outlined in the IAEA report. Such a rule exists neither in Iran's
safeguards agreement with the IAEA, or in the NPT. Rather, the reason for
the IAEA's and the UN Security Council's attention to Iran can only be based
on other factors, primarily including the determination of the US and other
states that Iran is a threat to Israel, the region and international peace
and security generally.--Daniel Joyner, "Iran's
Nuclear Program and the Legal Mandate of the IAEA," JURIST,
November 9, 2011]
[ . . . the hyped IAEA report of November 8, 2011, turned out to contain
some old allegations that remain unverified and some new ones that appear to
be flimsy or strange. So why publish these allegations with fanfare? One can
answer the question by paraphrasing the two aforementioned statements by
former IAEA Director General ElBaradei and US Ambassador Glyn Davies: the
Americans and their allies, particularly the Israelis, are only interested
in one thing and one thing only, regime change in Iran by any means
necessary. In this endeavor, Mr. Amano is solidly in the US-Israeli
court.--Sasan Fayzamanesh, "Mr.
Amano and Regime Change: The IAEA Reports on Iran,"
counterpunch.org, November 15, 2011]
John Pilger, December 14, 2011: What Obama "didn't say is that since 1945 the US military has been directly responsible for the deaths of over 10 million people and that America has in that time overthrown 50 governments, including democracies, and intervened in at least 30 more."
[Although not mentioned, the "strategic prize" of the first stage of this
war on Iran is Syria; the first campaign in a much wider sectarian
power-bid. "Other than the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself," Saudi
King Abdullah was reported to have said last summer, "nothing would weaken
Iran more than losing Syria."--Aisling Byrne, "A mistaken
case for Syrian regime change," atimes.com, January 5, 2012]
[Between the start of the nuclear era to the end of the Cold War, tens if
not hundreds of thousands of earnest scholars, strategists, pacifist
activists, journalistic commentators, politicians and prospective victims of
nuclear war brooded over how nuclear weapons might be used in war. So far as
I know, the only conclusive answer we found (I was, on occasion, one of
those people) was that they were only useful as a threat to deter someone
else from aggression.--William Pfaff, "Is a nuclear Iran really to be feared?," Tribune Media
Services, January 24, 2012]
[Of the countries now operating or constructing nuclear energy or research
reactors under the treaty, more than 40 also have the capabilities to build
nuclear weapons--Bernard Aronson, "Can Brazil Stop Iran," nytimes.com, April 3, 2012]