Rogue Regulator?

Days after Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei made his most recent "confidential" report to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Cheney Cabal sycophantic editorialists at the Washington Post charged ElBaradei with being a "Rogue Regulator," behaving as if he was "free to ignore" the Board, using his IAEA Secretariat to "thwart" the will of leading members of the IAEA "above all, the United States."

Well, obviously these rogue editorialists haven’t read or don’t comprehend (a) the IAEA Statute or (b) Chapter VII of the UN Charter or (c) the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or (d) the Iranian Safeguards Agreement or (e) any of the recent IAEA Board of Governors resolutions dealing with Iran or (f) the recent Security Council resolutions dealing with Iran or (g) any of ElBaradei’s recent reports to the IAEA Board.

The IAEA – whose General Conference currently comprises 144 member-states – has as its primary mission the facilitation throughout the world of the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.

The IAEA Board of Governors has the authority to carry out the functions IAEA in accordance with the IAEA Statue, subject to its responsibilities to the General Conference.

The IAEA may conclude one or more legally binding Safeguards Agreement with a nation-state, wherein IAEA "inspectors" are authorized access "at all times to all places and data and to any person … as necessary to account for source and special fissionable materials" subject to the Safeguards Agreement, for the exclusive purpose of determining "whether there is compliance with the undertaking against use in furtherance of any military purpose."

On May 15, 1974, Iran entered into such an agreement with the IAEA – to remain in force as long as Iran remained a party to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – wherein all Iranian “source or special fissionable materials” and activities involving them were to be made subject to IAEA Safeguards “with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful purposes.”

ElBaradei’s most recent report has once again verified to the Board, to the IAEA General Conference, to all NPT-signatories and to the Security Council "the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials" by Iran.

That’s wonderful! Even though the United States egregiously fails to honor its legally binding commitments made pursuant to the NPT and IAEA Statue, as best ElBaradei can determine, Iran continues to honor its commitments.

So why are Cheney Cabal media sycophants so upset?

Well, on February 4, 2006, under extreme pressure by the United States, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted an outrageous resolution in which it concluded that for “confidence” to be built “in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program” it was “deemed necessary” for Iran to, inter alia;

"implement transparency measures, as requested by the Director General, including in GOV/2005/67, which extend beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and include such access to individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military-owned workshops and research and development as the Agency may request in support of its ongoing investigations."

Did you get that? The IAEA Board deems it necessary for ElBaradei to satisfy himself of the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, past and present. And the UN Security Council subsequently agreed, applying sanctions on Iran until such time as ElBaradei so satisfies himself.

So, if Iran doesn’t (a) suspend indefinitely its uranium-enrichment activities, (b) ratify the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement, or (c) cancel the construction of a heavy-water moderated reactor at Arak, as far as the IAEA Board and Security Council resolutions are concerned, it doesn’t matter so long as ElBaradei so satisfies himself!

Far from being a "Rogue Regulator," behaving as if he was free to ignore the IAEA Board and the Security Council, ElBaradei has just done what he was told to do, concluding an agreement with the Iranians which he believes – if implemented – will satisfy him whether or not Iran intends to build nuclear weapons.

"For the first time, we have agreed, with the Iranians, to a sort of roadmap, a schedule, if you will, for clarifying the outstanding issues. We should know by November, or December at the latest, whether the Iranians will keep their promises. If they don’t, Tehran will have missed a great opportunity – possibly the last one."

But members of the Cheney Cabal – in and out of government – have charged that Iran’s roadmap agreement with ElBaradei is "a transparent attempt to distract from its true intentions and from its continued development of the capabilities to produce a nuclear weapon."

"Obviously we are all pushing for the same strategic goal: That Iran should not get nuclear weapons.

"We consistently searched for evidence that Iran intends to build nuclear weapons. We found suspicious signs, but no smoking gun. We could now make some progress in setting aside these suspicions by thoroughly inspecting the Iranian facilities and learning details about their history.

"We expect information about the scope and nature of its uranium enrichment program and its statements about certain suspicious studies we have.

"The most decisive element in our assessment will be whether Iran cooperates with us completely and actively."

Now, it needs to be emphasized that Iran is under no obligation to comply with ElBaradei’s requests "which extend beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and include such access to individuals, [and] documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military-owned workshops and research and development."

But, Iran has agreed to try to satisfy ElBaradei, issue by issue.

According to ElBaradei’s latest report, some of the issues have already been decided to his satisfaction, for example Iran’s explanation for its experiments with plutonium.


"I am not [yet] willing to state definitively whether Iran is following up its promises with actions. I just don’t want to lose the opportunity to find out for myself. The UN sanctions against Tehran will remain in place in the interim.

"It’s important to exert pressure. But in addition to sanctions we must also have incentives to encourage Iran to take a new direction. Yes, that’s my opinion. If someone comes to me and says, I want to work with you now, then I have to examine his offer to make sure it has substance. We must see all the documents, be able to talk to anyone and have unfettered access to all facilities.

"We are talking about two or three months. Then we’ll know more."

Stay tuned.

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.