Monday, May 16, 2005

Fixed Around the Policy, Pt. II 

At Antiwar.com, supply-side wack job Jude Wanniski is pushing a wild-haired conspiracy theory as to why BushCo wants John Bolton confirmed sooner rather than later:
Why the big rush? My reliable sources tell me it is because there is a timetable that makes it urgent for Bolton to be ready for action in June in order to cripple the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as part of the plan to bomb the Iranian nuclear power plant at Bushehr. That's because Bushehr, under construction with Russian supervision, will soon be ready to receive the Russian fissionable material enabling it to produce power. In 1981, remember Republican senators, Israel bombed the Osiraq nuclear power plant near Baghdad just before it was to be fueled by its French contractors. Once fueled, bombing is out of the question because of the radiation that would be emitted, with clouds traveling who knows where.

Of course, you must know by now that at the time the Israelis blew up Osiraq, the situation was quite different. We were in the midst of the Cold War, the United States was supporting Iraq in its war against Iran, and the Russians were supporting Iran. So when the billion-dollar Osiraq plant went up in smoke (with the help of the neocons who were already occupying the Pentagon in that first year of the Reagan administration), there was no reaction from Russia because the Israelis were essentially bombing us!! We also know by now that Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program at the time, but only began its (unsuccessful) clandestine effort after Osiraq.

The same is now true of Iran. If a month or two from now you are advised by President Bush that it is necessary to take out Bushehr to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, you would have to wonder if the neocons and their Likud allies in Tel Aviv aren't simply threatening World War III on a faulty premise. Wouldn't you? The situation now is quite different, with Bushehr a Russian project in Iran . . . .

Is Iran this kind of threat to anyone? As far as I can tell, ladies and gentlemen of the GOP Senate, the answer is "absolutely not," at least as long as they remain members in good standing of the NPT, which means they will permit the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect intrusively and constantly, as they have been doing. It has been the mission of John Bolton and his underling Stephen Rademaker to "reform" the United Nations in a way that dissolves the NPT and the need for the IAEA, not only to pave the way for the bombing of Bushehr, but also to get out from under the NPT provisions that require all the nuclear weapon powers to make progress toward making the world a nuclear-free zone.
Sounds crazy, right? Six weeks from now we'll know one way or the other. In the meantime, Gordon Prather -- also at Antiwar.com -- offers this, on the supposed "threats" coming out of Tehran:
What talks? What Iranian threats? What breaches? What Iranian undertakings? What Iranian obligations?

Well, the French-Brit-German and Iranian foreign ministers met in Tehran back in October of 2003, emerging to announce that the Iranian government had been persuaded to sign an additional protocol to its Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency and to immediately commence ratification procedures. In the meantime, as a "confirmation of its good intentions," the Iranian government volunteered to cooperate with the IAEA in accordance with the additional protocol.

Furthermore, even though Iran had the "inalienable right" as a signatory to the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, Iran announced that – as a further "confidence-building measure" – it would temporarily suspend all uranium enrichment and processing activities already planned or underway

Last November, the French-Brit-German foreign ministers – acting as agents for the European Union – began "talks" with Iran on "a mutually acceptable long-term arrangement."

To build further confidence, Iran decided to voluntarily continue its temporary suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, including:
  • the manufacture and import of gas centrifuges and their components;
  • the assembly, installation, testing, or operation of gas centrifuges;
  • work to undertake any plutonium separation, or to construct or operate any plutonium separation installation; and
  • all tests or production at any uranium conversion installation.
    • The IAEA was officially notified of this voluntary suspension and invited to verify and monitor it.

      The IAEA Board of Governors was officially notified that the voluntary suspension by Iran was not a legal obligation and would be sustained only so long as the EU-Iranian talks continued.
      Sound vaguely familiar? See item immediately below.

      UPDATE: Mr. Wanniski also recommends another article at TomDispatch, Dilip Hiro's "The Iranian Nuclear Issue in a Global Context." Tom Engelhardt's introduction quotes Richard Butler, the former head of the UN Special Commission to Disarm Iraq:
      The Bush Administration has not only refused to adhere to its obligations under the [Nuclear Nonproliferation] treaty . . . but has now embarked on what is anathema under the treaty -- the production of a new generation of nuclear weapons. These are the new, more compact, nukes the Administration says it needs for the so-called war on terrorism. It beggars belief that the Administration appears to believe it can succeed in restraining Iran while it proceeds to violate its obligations.
      Engelhardt again: "According to American intelligence, Iran is probably still seven years away from producing a nuclear weapon (assuming that's what it's intent on doing, which is not at all clear) -- and yet Iran may prove the fulcrum on which the NPT is cracked open."

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