Middle East

Iran: U.S. and Europe Push W.M.D. Frame-Up

International Atomic Energy Agency director general Mohamed El Baradei appears in the boardroom during a meeting at the I.A.E.A. headquarters in Vienna on September 20. (Photo: Joe Klamar / AFP-Getty Images)

In a Sept. 19 statement accompanying his latest report to a meeting of the 35-country board of governors of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency director general Mohammed El Baradei declared that “Iran continues to fulfill its obligations under the [I.A.E.A.] safeguards agreement and additional protocol by providing timely access to nuclear material, facilities and other locations.” He added that I.A.E.A. inspectors have found no evidence that Iran has breached its commitments under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Under the N.P.T., Iran is entitled to not only have nuclear power plants, but to convert and enrich uranium to fuel such power plants, provided it fulfills its I.A.E.A. obligations.

Despite El Baradei’s statement, the United States and the three major European Union powers — Britain, France and Germany (the so-called E.U.-3) — are pushing for the week-long I.A.E.A. board meeting in Vienna to bring Iran before the U.N. Security Council over their “suspicions” that Tehran has a secret nuclear weapons program.

Reuters reported on Sept. 20 that diplomats said the E.U.-3 planned to submit a draft resolution to the board meeting to report Iran to the Security Council after it resumed its nuclear fuel research program last month.

“The U.S., which has long accused Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear bombs, is pushing for fast action after Britain, France and Germany failed to convince Iran to mothball its nuclear fuel program in return for political and economic incentives,” Reuters reported. “E.U. diplomats say the E.U. trio would not seek immediate sanctions against Iran, but ask the Security Council to call on Tehran to freeze its entire uranium enrichment program.”

Paris agreement

While Reuters implied Iran had resumed uranium enrichment last month [August], Iran only resumed its research into the conversion of concentrated uranium ore (“yellowcake”) into uranium hexaflouride gas — an intermediary step in producing enriched uranium for use as a fuel in the Bushehr nuclear power plant that Russia is constructing for Iran.

Even if Iran had resumed uranium enrichment activities, this would not have been a violation of either the N.P.T. or the I.A.E.A. safeguards agreement.

However, in resuming uranium conversion activities, Tehran was ending a purely voluntary, non-legally binding and temporary suspension of research that it had agreed to last November — in the so-called Paris agreement with the E.U.-3.

Tehran only agreed to suspend its nuclear fuel cycle research while it conducted negotiations with the E.U.-3 over a possible package of “objective guarantees” — beyond those required under the I.A.E.A. safeguards agreement — that Iran’s nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes.

Washington and the E.U.-3 now accuse Iran of breaching its “international commitments” and want the I.A.E.A., which is not a party to the Paris agreement, to refer Iran to the Security Council.

However, as Dr Gordon Prather, a retired nuclear weapons physicist and the Pentagon’s chief scientist during the Reagan administration, pointed out in an article posted on Worldnetdaily.com on Sept. 17: “Last March, Iran did offer the Brits-French-Germans a package of ‘objective guarantees’ that included a voluntary ‘confinement’ of Iran’s nuclear programs, to include forgoing the reprocessing of spent fuel and the production of plutonium.

“The Brits-French-Germans completely ignored the Iranian offer. So, four months later, the Iranians alerted the I.A.E.A. it intended to resume uranium conversion — subject to I.A.E.A., oversight, of course.

“A week later the Brits-French-Germans finally made their offer — which was predicated on Iran’s ‘making a binding commitment not to pursue fuel cycle activities other than the construction and operation of light water power and research reactors’.

“No wonder the Non-Aligned Movement — which includes India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, as well as Russia and China — has officially declared their serious opposition to such discriminatory treatment of Iran by the I.A.E.A. and to the threats to ‘refer’ to the Security Council Iran’s refusal to give up its inalienable rights under the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.”

A Sept. 19 “analysis” article on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s U.N. General Assembly speech run by United Press International repeated another of Washington’s lies against Iran.

“Ahmadinejad was defiant and saying Iran was not dissuaded from its intended path to pursue the development of nuclear energy strictly for peaceful purposes,” the UPI article noted, adding: “Tehran’s leader said his nation had never been the aggressor and, besides, religious belief prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons. But he didn’t explain why Iran had secretly been conducting nuclear research in contradiction of the N.P.T.”

Past violation of NPT?

In an Aug. 13 Worldnetdaily.com article, Prather demolished this piece of White House black propaganda, regularly retailed by the Western corporate media: “El Baradei has reported to the board on numerous occasions that I.A.E.A. inspectors have found no ‘indication’ that Iran now has, ever had or intends to have a nuclear weapons program. So, what did the I.A.E.A. ‘find’ back in 2002?

“In the process of negotiating an additional protocol to the existing Iranian safeguards agreement, Iran voluntarily told the I.A.E.A. back in 2002 that, as a result of the United States forcing Russia to cancel the sale of a turn-key gas-centrifuge plant — to which the Iranians had an ‘inalienable right’ to acquire and operate under the N.P.T. — the Iranians had been attempting to construct gas centrifuges of similar design.

“Furthermore, once they had constructed several thousand and got them to work, they planned to construct a uranium-enrichment pilot plant and, eventually, construct a commercial scale uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz … under the Iranian safeguards agreement as it then existed, the Iranians were not obligated to tell the I.A.E.A. about any of that activity until they began processing ‘source or special nuclear materials’ for introduction into those gas centrifuges.”

The E.U.-3’s goal appears to be to ensure Iran is unable to develop a commercial-scale nuclear fuel production industry and thus have to import its nuclear fuel — from European nuclear fuel corporations. However in their pursuit of this goal, the E.U.-3 are helping Washington lay the propaganda groundwork for Iraq-style “regime change” in Iran, paving the way for U.S. corporations to take over Iran’s huge nationalized oil and gas resources.

If Washington can get Iran referred to the Security Council by the I.A.E.A. board, then the U.S. rulers will be a step closer to giving U.N. “legitimacy” to their war drive against Iran — just as they tried to with their invasion and occupation of oil-rich Iraq.

However, a major difficulty faced by Washington in carrying out this diplomatic maneuver is that Russia and China (permanent members of the Security Council with veto powers), as well as India, are opposed to having Iran referred to the Security Council.

The Sept. 18 New York Times observed that “China and India are growing at rates that have made them voracious consumers of oil — and thus friends of the Iranians. Russia has been a major supplier to Iran’s multibillion-dollar effort to build a large nuclear reactor. None wants to jeopardize its relations with Iran over a nuclear weapons program that Tehran denies exists” — and which I.A.E.A. inspectors have found no evidence of.

Originally published on Sept. 28.

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