by Pepe Escobar
Published: Oct. 01, 2009 – Asia Times
The United States and Western “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” crowd – hysteria running at fever pitch ahead of Thursday’s multilateral nuclear talks in Geneva – could do worse than have a word with Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.
Lula actually talked to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad face-to-face for over an hour on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week. He invited Ahmadinejad to visit Brazil in November. About the meeting, he went straight to the point, “What I wish for Iran is what I always wanted for Brazil – a peaceful, civilian nuclear program.”
by Kurt Nimmo
Published: Sep. 17, 2009 – Infowars
The Associated Press reports today that “experts” at the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency now “are in agreement that Tehran has the ability to make a nuclear bomb and is on the way to developing a missile system able to carry an atomic warhead, according to a secret report.”
The document says Iran has “sufficient information” to build a bomb and says Iran is likely to “overcome problems” on developing a delivery system, according to the AP.
In February, the IAEA reported that Iran had not converted the low-grade uranium that it has produced into weapon-grade uranium. “The Austrian Press Agency quoted an IAEA expert as saying that the uranium substances that Iran has produced at its Natanz enrichment facility have been carefully recorded and remote cameras have been installed to supervise part of the stockpile,” The Hindu reported on February 22.
Iran has denied accusations by the United States and its allies that it has been engaged in a clandestine nuclear weapons program.
by Yusuf Fernandez
Published: Sep. 16, 2009 – Al-Manar TV
In last months, Israel and its agents in the United States have increased their pressure on the International Atomic Energy Agency in order to force the agency to change its conclusions about the Iranian nuclear programme. The IAEA has repeatedly claimed that there is no evidence of military nuclear activities in Iran. However, some countries in the West, spearheaded by the United States and Israel, accuse Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons programme under the guise of peaceful enrichment activities although the have failed to provide any evidence supporting their accusations.
Israeli Apartheid (Last Updated Sat. Sep. 05)
EU, US condemn Israel’s settlement approval
Sat. Sep. 05 – The US condemns an Israeli plan to endorse the construction of hundreds of housing units as part of Tel Aviv’s settlement expansion in the West Bank.
Israel OK for new settler homes outrages Palestinians
Sat. Sep. 05 – JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel will approve construction of West Bank settlement homes before it considers a freeze sought by Washington, a top government official said on Friday, sparking Palestinian outrage.
In August, 63 Palestinians kidnapped by Israel
Fri. Sep. 04 – The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) says that in August, a total number of 63 Palestinians have been kidnapped from the West Bank by Israeli soldiers.
Israeli fighter jets bomb Gaza Strip
Fri. Sep. 04 – Israeli warplanes have launched an attack on the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian and Israeli officials say.
Israeli tanks invade Gaza, meet resistance
Fri. Sep. 04 – Israeli tanks and bulldozers have invaded the eastern border areas of the Gaza Strip, destroying cultivated agricultural Palestinian land.
Israel to build new houses in settlements
Fri. Sep. 04 – JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will approve hundreds of new housing units in West Bank settlements before slowing settlement construction, two of his aides said Friday, in an apparent snub of Washington’s public demand for a total settlement freeze.
Palestinian Children Murdered by IDF Snipers
Thu. Sep. 03 – Mohammad Riyad Nayef funiral, age of 14, he was murdered on Saturday in Al-Jalazun refugee camp.
East Jerusalem Shuts Out Thousands of Palestinians on Holy Day
Wed. Sep. 02 – Thousands of Palestinians were turned away at West Bank checkpoints leading into Jerusalem by Israeli security forces as they tried to attend Friday Ramadan prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque.
No halt to settlement policy: Israeli minister
Wed. Sep. 02 – An Israeli cabinet minister has categorically confirmed that construction and expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in and around Jerusalem (al-Quds) will continue.
Palestinian woman speaks of jailhouse abuse
Wed. Sep. 02 – A female Palestinian detainee has recounted how she was under continuous interrogation, intimidation, and abuse for 14 days by Israeli soldiers and interrogators.
Israel using arrests to silence Palestinian journalists
Wed. Sep. 02 – The PMC condemned the Zionist action after Israeli soldiers kidnapped journalist Seri Sammour on August 31 in a raid on his house in Jenin in the north of the occupied West Bank.
Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian in West Bank
Tue. Sep. 01 – RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – A Palestinian died overnight in an Israeli hospital after being shot by Israeli soldiers, Palestinian medical workers said on Tuesday.
Palestinain girl complains to ICC over Gaza war
Tue. Sep. 01 – A 15-year-old Palestinian girl has demanded the International Criminal Court to probe into the Israeli three-week war on the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Despite mounting pressure, Israel ups settlements
Mon. Aug. 31 – Despite mounting international pressure on Tel Aviv, Israel has accelerated settlement activity in East Jerusalem (al-Quds) in the first half of 2009.
Israeli warships bombard Gaza fishing boat
Mon. Aug. 31 – Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli warships bombarded Palestinian boats off the Sudaniyya shore north of Gaza City on Monday morning, according to Nizar Ayyash, head of the Fishermen’s Union.
Israel built 150 housing units in eastern Jerusalem in six months
Sun. Aug. 30 – OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– An Israeli organization monitoring the Israeli settlement drive in eastern Jerusalem has revealed that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) had built at least 150 housing units in occupied Jerusalem, particularly in the Old City.
Israeli aircraft bomb building in Gaza Strip
Sun. Aug. 30 – Israeli aircraft have bombed a building in the Gaza Strip, the latest in a series of attacks which killed four Palestinian and injured several others in the past week.
Egypt calls for settlement freeze in Jerusalem
Sat. Aug. 29 – Egypt has called on Israel to freeze settlement activities in occupied East Jerusalem (al-Quds) before the resumption of any peace talks with the Palestinians.
U.S. drops demand for Israel building freeze in East Jerusalem
Fri. Aug. 28 – According to both Israeli officials and Western diplomats, U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has recognized the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot announce a settlement freeze in East Jerusalem. The officials said the U.S. will not endorse new construction there, but would not demand Jerusalem publicly announce a freeze.
Merkel: Israeli settlements, obstacle to peace
Fri. Aug. 28 – German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Israeli settlement building in Palestinian territories must stop before peace can be established in the Middle East.
Israel planning to build 150 homes for Jewish settlers in Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem
Fri. Aug. 28 – 750 settlers are expected to move into the new houses, joining the existing 2000 settlers living in Arab-Palestinian neighborhoods.
The Israeli military kidnaps 13 Palestinian civilians from the West Bank
Fri. Aug. 28 – Israeli troops kidnapped 13 Palestinian civilians on Thursday during pre dawn invasions targeting a number of West Bank communities.
Obama’s Wars (Last Updated Sat. Sep. 05)
French soldier killed in Afghan bomb explosion
Sat. Sep. 05 – One French soldier from the NATO-led coalition forces has lost his life and nine others have sustained serious injuries after an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle in Afghanistan.
Afghans mourn dead under outcry of NATO bombing
Sat. Sep. 05 – KUNDUZ, Afghanistan (AFP) – Afghans on Saturday mourned the dead from a NATO bombing that killed scores of people and renewed an outcry over civilian casualties at the hands of Western troops in an eight-year war.
US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,339
Sat. Sep. 05 – As of Friday, Sept. 4, 2009, at least 4,339 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
Another British soldier falls in Afghanistan
Fri. Sep. 04 – A roadside bomb explosion has killed a British soldier in the troubled southern Afghanistan, bringing to 211 the overall British fatalities in the war-ravaged country.
Bomb attacks claim 7, injure 100 in Iraq
Fri. Sep. 04 – At least seven people have been killed and nearly one hundred others injured following a series of bomb attacks across war-torn Iraq on Thursday.
Body handed over in Iraq confirmed as British hostage
Fri. Sep. 04 – LONDON (Reuters) – British experts have identified a body handed over in Baghdad as security guard Alec MacLachlan, one of five British hostages seized in 2007, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Thursday.
Officials: US to Add 14,000 Combat Troops in Afghanistan
Thu. Sep. 03 – In what seems to be just the latest move in the ongoing US escalation in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials have indicated that they intend to swap out 14,000 support troops in favor of another 14,000 combat troops, which they called “trigger pullers.”
Contractors Outnumber U.S. Troops in Afghanistan
Thu. Sep. 03 – Civilian contractors working for the Pentagon in Afghanistan not only outnumber the uniformed troops, according to a report by a Congressional research group, but also form the highest ratio of contractors to military personnel recorded in any war in the history of the United States.
More militants killed in NW Pakistan
Thu. Sep. 03 – Pakistani security forces have killed 16 more militants and arrested 35 others on the second day of an encounter in the Khyber region of north western tribal belt.
CIA refuses to release torture documents
Thu. Sep. 03 – The CIA has refused to release further documents related to its controversial rendition, detention and interrogation of terror suspects
IRAQ: Monthly death toll highest in over a year
Wed. Sep. 02 – Violence in Iraq produced the highest death toll in 13 months as August was marred by a series of suicide bombings in northern Iraq and a high-profile attack on two government ministries in Baghdad that stoked concerns that security was deteriorating with the removal of most U.S. forces from Iraqi cities and the approach of national elections in January.
A total of 456 people were killed in attacks in August, including 393 civilians, a number far lower than the figures at the height of Iraq’s civil war in 2006 and 2007 when Iraq’s monthly death toll sometimes soared past 2,000.
US support for Afghan war at all-time low
Wed. Sep. 02 – The support of Americans for the war in Afghanistan has fallen to its lowest level since the US-led invasion eight years ago, a new poll has found.
Two UK soldiers killed in Helmand
Tue. Sep. 01 – Two British soldiers are killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, bringing to 210 the total number of UK troop fatalities since the operations began in 2001.
Afghan bombs kill two US soldiers
Mon. Aug. 31 – Kabul , (AFP) – Bomb attacks in Afghanistan killed two US soldiers today as the commander of 100,000 Western troops in the country called for a revised strategy to defeat Taliban insurgents, the military said.
The soldiers from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force were killed in separate improvised-explosive device attacks in southern Afghanistan, the military said in a statement.
US military still holding 9,000 Iraqi prisoners
Mon. Aug. 31 – The US military still holds about 9,000 Iraqi detainees, despite the fact that it is obliged to release or hand over the custody of all Iraqi prisoners under a Washington-Baghdad interim security pact.
Bomb blast sets NATO trucks ablaze in Pakistan
Mon. Aug. 31 – With insurgency at its peak in Pakistan, a powerful bomb blast in the country has set ablaze several trucks loaded with supplies for US forces in Afghanistan.
Blast kills 14 police recruits in Pakistan’s Swat
Sun. Aug. 30 – MINGORA, Pakistan – A suicide bomber killed at least 14 police recruits Sunday in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in the deadliest attack since the army regained control over the northwestern valley from the Taliban, an official said.
Attack on American patrol kills 2 Afghans
Sat. Aug. 29 – KABUL – Officials say two Afghan civilians were killed and 21 wounded when a suicide bomber detonated explosives near a group of American troops.
Truck bombs kill 16 people in Iraq
Sat. Aug. 29 – BAGHDAD – Two truck bombs struck separate communities north of Iraq’s capital on Saturday, killing at least 16 people in the latest attacks that indicate insurgents are targeting relatively unprotected areas as security forces focus on defending the cities.
NATO chief: mission to last ‘as long as it takes’
Fri. Aug. 28 – ANKARA, Turkey – NATO’s mission in Afghanistan will last “as long as it takes” to ensure that the country is secure, the alliance’s new leader said Friday during a visit to the Turkish capital.
August deadliest month for US in Afghanistan
Fri. Aug. 28 – KABUL – An American service member died in a bomb blast in Afghanistan on Friday, making August the deadliest month of the eight-year war for U.S. forces.
US Copter Opens Fire on Afghan Medical Clinic
Fri. Aug. 28 – US and Afghan forces, backed by a US Apache helicopter attacked a medical clinic in the Paktika Province of Afghanistan yesterday after receiving reports that a wounded Taliban commander had “sought treatment” at the facility.
2 American soldiers killed in Baghdad bombing
Fri. Aug. 28 – BAGHDAD – The U.S. military says two American soldiers have died of wounds sustained during a roadside bomb attack in the Iraqi capital.
Swine Flu Hoax (Last Updated Thu. Sep. 03)
Obama to spend another $2.7 bln to fight H1N1
Thu. Sep. 03 – WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration will spend an additional $2.7 billion to buy swine flu drugs and vaccines, just days after White House science advisers called the pandemic “a serious threat to our nation.”
CDC Warns Neurologists To Watch For Nerve Disease Following Swine Flu Shots
Thu. Sep. 03 – The CDC has followed in the footsteps of British health authorities by warning neurologists to look out for cases of the nerve disease Guillain-Barre syndrome caused by the swine flu vaccine.
Fox News Poll: Majority Think Swine Flu Vaccine Deadlier Than Virus
Sat. Aug. 29 – According to a Fox News poll, the majority of respondents think that the swine flu vaccine is deadlier than the actual virus itself, emphasizing the growing momentum in the revolt against government plans to institute mass H1N1 vaccination programs.
More News (Last Updated Sat. Sep. 05)
27 Iranians in world’s top scientists list
Sat. Sep. 05 – Twenty seven Iranian scientists have been named among the 100-member-list of the most prominent scientists in the world, the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) has announced.
Iran says US nuke documents ‘forged’
Sat. Sep. 05 – VIENNA – Iran accused the U.S. on Friday of using “forged documents” and relying on subterfuge to make its case that Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, according to a confidential letter obtained by The Associated Press.
U.S. Lost 335,000 Jobs in August and 5.9 Million Jobs in Past Year
Thu. Sep. 03 – TrimTabs Investment Research estimates that the U.S. economy lost 335,000 jobs in August, which is nearly 50% more than the current consensus estimate of 225,000 jobs lost. In the past twelve months, the U.S. economy has lost 5.9 million jobs, the largest annual job loss in records dating back to 1970.
Amnesty Intl. urges Obama to lift embargo on Cuba
Wed. Sep. 02 – Amnesty International has called on President Barack Obama to lift the 47-year-old embargo on Cuba In order to redefine US relations with Latin America.
Iran, Pakistan to complete gas pipeline by 2013
Tue. Sep. 01 – Iranian and Pakistani officials have agreed in principle to complete a long awaited multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project by 2013.
Russian Professor: US collapse likely in 2010
Tue. Sep. 01 – A Russian academician says the demise of the US is imminent, arguing that the likelihood for the US collapse by July 2010 is more than 50 percent.
Blackwater trains mercenaries in Philippines
Mon. Aug. 31 – The notorious US private security contractor, formerly known as Blackwater, uses a Philippines location to train mercenaries for Iraq and Afghanistan operations.
Cheney wants skeleton kept in closet
Mon. Aug. 31 – Former US vice president Dick Cheney has branded an inquiry into suspected CIA prisoner abuses as ‘political’, saying he might refuse to speak with a prosecutor investigating the case.
Serious fraud complaints double in Afghan vote
Mon. Aug. 31 – KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s election fraud watchdog said on Sunday it is probing 567 allegations of abuse it considers serious enough to affect the outcome of the Aug 20 vote, more than double the number announced two days ago.
Obama Administration Seeks “Emergency Control” of the Internet
Mon. Aug. 31 – As the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (S.773) wends its way through Congress, civil liberties’ advocates are decrying provisions that would hand the President unlimited power to disconnect private-sector computers from the internet.
Iran ’scores points’ on IAEA report despite US pressure
Sat. Aug. 29 – “As he (IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei) says in paragraph 26, Iran has cooperated with the agency, improving the safeguard measures in Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz,” Tehran’s IAEA ambassador, Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh, told Press TV.
S. America calls for expulsion of US troops
Sat. Aug. 29 – The leaders joined voices in expressing concerns about the presence of foreign forces in the region that might pose threats to the sovereignty of the bloc’s Member States – a reference to a recent military pact between the United States and Colombia.
US denies giving up missile shield plan
Fri. Aug. 28 – Washington has denied reports that it was abandoning a plan to deploy defense missile shield bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Castro: US aims to overthrow Chavez’s government
Fri. Aug. 28 – Fidel Castro has accused the US of seeking to overthrow Venezuela’s government and to establish power through its future military bases in Colombia.
After 7 months, Obama’s approval rating 50%
Fri. Aug. 28 – After seven months in power, US President Barack Obama’s approval rating has plunged to its lowest level, according to a new poll.
Planted News Stories Show New Bid by West to Say Iran Seeks Nuclear Weapons
by Gareth Porter
Published: Aug. 26, 2009 – CounterPunch.org
Western officials are leaking stories to the Associated Press and Reuters aimed at pressuring the outgoing chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, to include a summary of intelligence alleging that Iran has been actively pursuing work on nuclear weapons in the IAEA report due out this week.
The aim of the pressure for publication of the document appears to be to discredit the November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the Iranian nuclear programme, which concluded that Iran had ended work on nuclear weapons in 2003.
Published: August 21, 2009, Al Jazeera
UN inspectors have visited the site of a nearly completed Iranian nuclear reactor for the first time in a year, foreign diplomats have said.
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited the Arak reactor in central Iran last week after the Iranian government lifted a ban, the diplomats, who asked to remain anonymous, said on Friday.
They said Iranian authorities also agreed to allow the IAEA to expand its monitoring operations of the Arak reactor.
The diplomats said Iran also agreed to grant UN inspectors greater monitoring rights at Natanz, another uranium enrichment site.
“The containment and surveillance measures were updated as the agency wanted,” one of the diplomats told the AFP news agency.
by David Morrison
Source: The Electronic Intifada
At a White House press conference on 18 May 2009, US President Barack Obama expressed “deepening concern” about “the potential pursuit of a nuclear weapon by Iran.” He continued:
“Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon would not only be a threat to Israel and a threat to the United States, but would be profoundly destabilizing in the international community as a whole and could set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”
By his side was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the room with them, there was an elephant, a large and formidably destructive elephant, which they and the assembled press pretended not to see.
I am, of course, referring to Israel’s actual nuclear weapons systems, with which Netanyahu is capable of doing to numerous cities in the Middle East, including Tehran, what the US did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Iran, by contrast, has no nuclear weapons. The US President said so himself in Prague on 5 April 2009 in his major speech on nuclear disarmament. “Iran has yet to build a nuclear weapon,” he admitted.
Obama’s remark that “Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon” would be “profoundly destabilizing” and “could set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East” is profoundly dishonest. In reality, the race started in the early 1950s when Israel launched its nuclear weapons program.
Let us suppose for a moment that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, capable of producing effective nuclear warheads and the means of delivering them to Israel, within a few years. Would that make Iran a serious threat to Israel, as Obama said? Of course not.
Rulers of Iran don’t want their cities devastated and they know that if Iran were to make a nuclear strike on Israel, it is absolutely certain that Israel would retaliate by making multiple nuclear strikes on Iran and raze many Iranian cities to the ground — so Iran won’t do it. Israel possesses a nuclear arsenal, and the ruthlessness to use it, that is more than adequate to deter Iran from making a nuclear strike on the country.
Likewise, it is unimaginable that Iran would attack the US, or US interests abroad, for fear of overwhelming retaliation.
However, taking account of the elephant in the room puts a very different perspective on the impact of a nuclear-armed Iran.
The significance of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons is not that Iran would become a threat to Israel and the US, but that Israel and the US would no longer contemplate attacking Iran. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate weapons of self-defense — a state that possesses nuclear weapons doesn’t get attacked by other states.
One thing is certain: attacking Iran, ostensibly to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, would make the case for it acquiring them like nothing else. It would then be abundantly clear that Iran could not protect itself by other means — and it can be guaranteed that it would then make a supreme effort to acquire them.
Has Iran got a nuclear weapons program, in violation of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?
Iran has repeatedly denied that it has such a program. Furthermore, the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa on September 2004 that “the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons” (“Iran’s Statement at IAEA Emergency Meeting,” Mehr News Agency, 10 August 2005) . In doing so, he was following in the footsteps of his predecessor and founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini.
That’s what Iran says. As required by the NPT, Iran’s nuclear facilities are subject to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). And, despite many years of inspection and investigation, the IAEA has found no evidence that Iran has, or ever had, a nuclear weapons program, though Western media consistently give the opposite impression. True, the possibility exists that Iran has nuclear facilities for military purposes, which it hasn’t declared to the IAEA. The IAEA has found no evidence for this, but the possibility cannot be completely ruled out.
Iran’s possession of uranium enrichment facilities is not in breach of the NPT, so long as they are for civil nuclear purposes. The operation of these facilities at Natanz is subject to rigorous IAEA scrutiny. The IAEA has testified that only low enriched uranium suitable for a power generation reactor is being produced there and that none of it is being diverted from the plant for other purposes, for example, to further enrich uranium to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon. That being so, the ongoing demands that Iran suspend these enrichment facilities is a denial of its “inalienable right” under Article IV(1) of the NPT to engage in nuclear activities for peaceful purposes.
What is the current US intelligence assessment? A US National Intelligence Estimate, the key judgments of which were published in December 2007, concluded that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in the autumn of 2003, and hadn’t restarted its program in the interim (see David Morrison, “Iran hasn’t a nuclear weapons programme says US intelligence,” Labour and Trade Union Review, 14 December 2007).
Commenting on this, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, noted on 4 December 2007 that:
“[T]he Estimate tallies with the Agency’s consistent statements over the last few years that, although Iran still needs to clarify some important aspects of its past and present nuclear activities, the Agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran.”
The present position of the US/EU seems to be that Iran should not have uranium enrichment facilities on its own territory, under any circumstances. As I have said above, this is a denial of Iran’s “inalienable right” under Article IV(1) of the NPT to engage in nuclear activities for peaceful purposes. It is also discriminatory against Iran, since no objection has ever been raised to other states, for example, Brazil and Japan, having enrichment facilities on their own territory in order to manufacture reactor fuel.
Iran entered into negotiations with the UK, France and Germany about its nuclear facilities in October 2003. During these negotiations, Iran voluntarily suspended a range of nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment. The negotiations came to an abrupt halt in August 2005 when the European states made proposals, which required Iran to abandon all processing of domestically mined uranium, including enrichment, and to import all fuel for nuclear power reactors.
Had Iran accepted these proposals, its nuclear power generation would have been dependent on fuel from abroad, which could be cut off at any time, even though Iran has a domestic supply of uranium ore. It was no surprise, therefore, that Iran rejected these proposals out of hand — and later resumed those activities it had suspended, including uranium enrichment.
Since then, the US/EU took Iran to the UN Security Council about its nuclear activities. The council has passed various resolutions demanding, inter alia, that Iran suspend uranium enrichment and imposing (rather mild) economic sanctions on it in an attempt to compel it to do so. Russia and China have gone along with this rather reluctantly, while using their veto power to keep the sanctions mild.
The key question is: are there any circumstances in which the US/EU would be content for Iran to have uranium enrichment facilities on its own territory? For example, could additional measures be put in place to provide assurance that these, and other nuclear facilities, are being used for peaceful purposes only?
In the past, Iran did allow an enhanced form of IAEA inspection, under a so-called Additional Protocol to its basic inspection agreement with the IAEA. This isn’t mandatory on a state under the NPT (and Brazil, which also has uranium enrichment facilities, doesn’t allow it). The Additional Protocol is designed to allow the IAEA to get a full picture of a state’s nuclear activities by providing the agency with authority to visit any facility, declared or not, and to visit unannounced — and thereby seek to eliminate the possibility that a state is engaging in nuclear activity for military purposes at sites that it hasn’t declared to the agency.
Iran signed an Additional Protocol in 2003 and allowed the IAEA to operate under it from December 2003 until February 2006. But, it withdrew permission in February 2006 when it was referred to the Security Council. There is little doubt that Iran would be prepared to allow the IAEA to operate under an Additional Protocol again, if the Security Council dogs were called off and the economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council were lifted.
That is one additional measure that could be taken to help provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear facilities are being used for peaceful purposes only. Another measure was suggested by Iran, as long ago as 17 September 2005. Then, in a speech to the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the following extraordinary offer, which goes way beyond the requirements of the NPT:
“… as a further confidence-building measure and in order to provide the greatest degree of transparency, the Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to engage in serious partnership with private and public sectors of other countries in the implementation of [a] uranium enrichment program in Iran.”
Needless to say, the US/EU have ignored this proposal, which would have put Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities under a degree of international control. Perhaps, President Obama’s staff should draw this proposal to his attention.
David Morrison is a political officer for the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.