Mad Cow

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters at a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting held Thursday in Sophia, Bulgaria, that it was “pretty clear” that Iran would not meet the requirements set by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and would likely reject a deadline set by the UN Security Council “to bring its nuclear program in line with international demands.”

According to Condi “the Security Council is the primary and most important institution for the maintenance of peace and stability and security and it cannot have its will and its word simply ignored by a member state. In order to be credible, the Security Council, of course, has to act.”

But, the UNSC has imposed no such deadline on Iran. Nor has the UNSC called upon Iran to “bring its nuclear program in line with international demands.”

You’re probably wondering why NATO foreign ministers were meeting in Sophia.

Well, on 29 March, 2004, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia formally became members of NATO.

It’s hard to believe, but the United States now has several military bases in Bulgaria.

You’re probably wondering why we do.

Even the Bulgarians are wondering.

You’re also probably wondering why Condi was telling reporters at the NATO foreign ministers meeting that Iran would likely reject the requirements placed on it by the IAEA Board of Governors to

  • “re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the Agency;
  • “reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water;
  • “ratify promptly and implement in full the Additional Protocol;
  • “pending ratification, continue to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol which Iran signed on 18 December 2003;
  • “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;”

Well, Condi had strong-armed several NATO members, who were also members of the IAEA Board, into getting the IAEA Board to “report” to the UNSC the imposition on Iran of these “requirements” – some of which were, in fact, violations by the Board of the IAEA Statute.

To Condi, the failure of Iran to “implement transparency measures” going far beyond those required under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement – even beyond those that might be required someday under an Additional Protocol – constituted a threat to international peace and security.

Of course, the UNSC did not agree and effectively remanded the dispute.

Since then Condi has been traveling the globe, attempting to convince the Russians, the Chinese, the Indians, the Turks, the Pakistanis, the Greeks – anyone who would listen – that the UNSC had, too, imposed a “deadline” and that as soon as that deadline had passed, it was the IAEA Board’s duty to refer the Iranian “failure” to meet that deadline to the UNSC for possible action – sanctions or military action – under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Of course, there is virtually no possibility that the Russians and/or Chinese will allow the Iranian issue to again be reported to the UNSC, and no possibility at all that they would agree to a UNSC determination that Iran’s failure to acquiesce to the IAEA Board’s outrageous demands constituted a threat to international peace and security.

Nevertheless, the US House of Representatives – acting on behalf of their perceived constituency – promptly overwhelmingly passed the Iran Freedom Support Act “To hold the current regime in Iran accountable for its threatening behavior.”

What “threatening behavior”?

And threatening to whom?

“The efforts of the Government of Iran to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them and its support of acts of international terrorism endanger the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and those countries with which the United States shares common strategic and foreign policy objectives.”


That constituency!

So, what are we to do?

“The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States to deny Iran the ability to support acts of international terrorism and to fund the development and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them by limiting the development of Iran’s ability to explore for, extract, refine, or transport by pipeline petroleum resources of Iran.”

Oh. Well, no wonder Condi can’t get the Chinese and Indians to agree to that.

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.