Diplomatic Rout

To the consternation of Bush, Cheney, and Rice, at the end of 2004, Iran concluded a $70 billion agreement with China, wherein state-owned Sinopec contracted to buy 250 million tons of LNG, help Iran develop its giant Yadavaran field and construct related oil, gas and petrochemical facilities, including a 220-mile pipeline to link up with the partially completed Sino-Russo state-owned Asian pipeline network, which will deliver more than 200,000 bpd next year – and more than a million bpd when completed – of Iranian-Kazakstani-Russian oil to China.

To the consternation of Bush, Cheney, and Rice, at the end of 2005, Iran was finalizing an agreement with India and Pakistan to construct – perhaps with the assistance of Russia’s Gazprom – a multi-billion dollar natural gas pipeline to deliver Iranian natural gas to Pakistan and India.

To the consternation of Bush, Cheney, and Rice, the Russians and Chinese continued to support throughout 2005 Iran’s “inalienable right” – guaranteed by the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – to enjoy “without discrimination,” nuclear energy, for peaceful purposes.

In November, 2003, International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohamed Elbaradei had reported that “to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities … were related to a nuclear weapons program.”

In November, 2004, ElBaradei reported that “all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”

In spite of those certifications by ElBaradei, Bush, Cheney, and Rice continued to insist throughout 2005 that Iran was – and had been for years – developing nuclear weapons. Bush, Cheney, and Rice continued throughout 2005 to invoke sanctions on US, European, Chinese and Russian entities who did business with Iran, particularly in the energy sector.

Bush, Cheney, and Rice continued to insist throughout 2005 that it was incumbent upon the IAEA Board of Governors to refer Iran’s “failure” to comply with its “international obligations” to the UN Security Council for “possible action.”

What “international obligations” were these neo-crazies talking about?

Last year, Iran voluntarily entered into negotiations with the British, French, and Germans [E3], who purported to be negotiating on behalf of the European Union. Iran voluntarily suspended for the duration of the negotiations all uranium-enrichment activities.

The so-called Paris Agreement to negotiate explicitly stated that the EU/E3 recognized “that this suspension is a voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation.”

Iranian officials made it clear (a) at the IAEA Board of Governors meetings in March and June, (b) at the Seventh Review Conference of the Treaty in April, and (c) in their Note Verbale to the IAEA of August 1st that any attempt by the EU/E3 to turn their voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment activities into a cessation or long term suspension would be “incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Paris Agreement and therefore unacceptable to Iran.”

Bush, Cheney, and Rice strong-armed the EU/E3 into not only demanding that the voluntary suspension of uranium-enrichment activities be made permanent, but that Iran renounce almost totally its “inalienable right” – guaranteed by the NPT, the Iranian Safeguards Agreement and the Paris Agreement – to virtually all elements of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Iran promptly resumed some IAEA safeguarded enrichment related activities voluntarily suspended.

How did Bush, Cheney, and Rice respond?

Well, according to the Iranians:

"Regrettably, the EU3, pressed by the United States, adopted a path of confrontation in the September 2005 IAEA Board of Governors meeting.

"In clear violation of their October 2003 and November 2004 commitments, the EU3 moved a politically motivated and factually and legally flawed resolution in the IAEA Board of Governors, and together with the United States … imposed it on the Board.

"As the IAEA Board of Governors had underlined in its past and current resolution, suspension “is a voluntary, non-legal binding confidence building measure.” When the Board itself explicitly recognizes that suspension is “not a legally-binding obligation,” no wording by the Board can turn this voluntary measure into an essential element for anything.

"In fact the Board of Governors has no factual or legal ground, nor any statutory power, to make or enforce such a demand, or impose ramifications as a consequence of it."

The majority of the Board apparently agrees with the Iranians and it now appears unlikely that the Board will ever refer this alleged failure to comply with its “international obligations” to the Security Council.

Bush, Cheney, and Rice “diplomatic” strong-armed tactics also failed to prevent development of the Sino-Russian oil-gas pipeline network in Asia.

Now, Russia’s Gazprom is threatening to shut down its natural gas pipeline – which transits Ukraine on its way to Europe – on New Year’s Day unless the anti-Russian Bush, Cheney, and Rice supported government in Ukraine shapes up.

Happy New Year, EU/E3.

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.