Nuking Safeguarded Facilities

According to the Jerusalem Post a “high-ranking [Israeli] defense official” told them that “there is growing consensus within the [Israeli] defense establishment that the United States will not attack Iran, and that Israel might be forced to act independently to stop the Islamic republic from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

But, after more than three years of go-anywhere see-anything inspections, Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, continues to report to the IAEA Board of Governors and to the UN Security Council that he can find “no indication” that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

You see, in 2003, perhaps because Bush launched his war of aggression against Iraq, the Iranians signed and immediately began to abide by an Advanced Protocol to their Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, which required greater “transparency.”

In particular, the Iranians had been under no obligation to inform the IAEA about their secret [but not illegal] procurement of second-hand first-generation gas-centrifuges purchased from A.Q. Khan and his Pakistan-based uranium-enrichment supply network until 6 months before actually introducing into them “special nuclear materials” [i.e. uranium hexafluoride].

However, as a result of Iran’s voluntary cooperation with the IAEA, going far beyond what is required by the Additional Protocol, documentation of all these activities have now been provided to the IAEA and the activities, themselves, have been subjected – retroactively – to Safeguards.

Surely, you say, the Israelis must be kidding. Surely they wouldn’t launch a pre-emptive attack against IAEA Safeguarded facilities.

Oh yeah?

Well, back in 1981, during Iraq’s war of aggression against Iran, the Israelis did launch a “pre-emptive” attack against the French-supplied Osirak materials testing reactor at the Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center.

The Israelis claimed the Iraqis planned to use the reactor – all the while subject to IAEA Safeguards – to make nuclear weapons.

However, in the aftermath of Bush’s War of Aggression against Iraq in 1991, the IAEA was able to determine from interviews and document searches that Iraq had no plans way back in 1981 to use Osirak to further some military purpose.

So, according to the experts at the IAEA, the Israelis were wrong then, about Iraq, and they’re wrong now, about Iran.

Here is the text of UN Security Council Resolution 487 (1981), adopted by the Security Council at its 2288th meeting on 19 June 1981

“The Security Council,

“Having considered the agenda contained in document S/Agenda/2280,

“Having noted the contents of the telegram dated 8 June 1981 from the Foreign Minister of Iraq (S/14509), Having heard the statements made to the Council on the subject at its 2280th through 2288th meetings,

“Taking note of the statement made by the Director-General of the International Atomic Emergency Agency (IAEA) to the Agency’s Board of Governors on the subject on 9 June 1981 and his statement to the Council at its 2288th meeting on 19 June 1981,

“Further taking note of the resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the IAEA on 12 June 1981 on the ‘military attack on the Iraq nuclear research centre and its implications for the Agency’ (S/14532),

“Fully aware of the fact that Iraq has been a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons since it came into force in 1970, that in accordance with that Treaty Iraq has accepted IAEA safeguards on all its nuclear activities, and that the Agency has testified that these safeguards have been satisfactorily applied to date,

“Noting furthermore that Israel has not adhered to the non-proliferation Treaty,

“Deeply concerned about the danger to international peace and security created by the premeditated Israeli air attack on Iraqi nuclear installations on 7 June 1981, which could at any time explode the situation in the area, with grave consequences for the vital interests of all States,

“Considering that, under the terms of Article 2, paragraph 4, of the Charter of the United Nations: ‘All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations,’

  1. “Strongly condemns the military attack by Israel in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct;

  2. Calls upon Israel to refrain in the future from any such acts or threats thereof;

  3. Further considers that the said attack constitutes a serious threat to the entire IAEA safeguards regime which is the foundation of the non-proliferation Treaty;

  4. Fully recognizes the inalienable sovereign right of Iraq, and all other States, especially the developing countries, to establish programmes of technological and nuclear development to develop their economy and industry for peaceful purposes in accordance with their present and future needs and consistent with the internationally accepted objectives of preventing nuclear-weapons proliferation;

  5. Calls upon Israel urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards;

  6. Considers that Iraq is entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered, responsibility for which has been acknowledged by Israel;

  7. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Security Council regularly informed of the implementation of this resolution.”

You’re probably wondering what effect this condemnation by the Security Council had on Israel?

Well, just like all the other condemnations over the years, the Israelis just ignored it.

Read more by Gordon Prather

Author: Gordon Prather

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.