According to Washington Post Staff Writer Joby Warrick, “intelligence agencies” and “nuclear experts” are “all asking the same question: Is Iran attempting to thwart future military strikes against its nuclear facility by placing key parts of it in underground bunkers?
“U.S. officials at several military and intelligence-gathering agencies said they are aware of the construction and are watching it closely, though none would comment publicly or speculate on the purpose of the tunnels.
“A tunnel complex would reduce options for a preemptive military strike to knock out Iran’s nuclear program, according to U.S. officials who closely follow Irans nuclear activities.”
Those dirty rotten Persians; frantically attempting to thwart a repeatedly threatened, but totally unjustified, act of aggression against them.
Warrick goes on;
“It also could further heighten tensions between the Bush administration and the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has said he is committed to pursuing a peaceful use of nuclear power.”
That dirty rotten Islamic; committed to pursuing the peaceful use of nuclear power.
Dont tell Warrick, but Iran as required by the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons concluded a Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, in return for which, Iran has been guaranteed the “inalienable right” to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes “without discrimination.”
Furthermore, the NPT requires that the Safeguards agreement be implemented by the IAEA so as “to avoid hampering the economic or technological development” of a signatory or its “international cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear activities, including the international exchange of nuclear material and equipment for the processing, use or production of nuclear material for peaceful purposes.”
Here are the particularly pertinent provisions of that Iran-IAEA Safeguards Agreement [.pdf]
“The Government of Iran undertakes, pursuant to paragraph 1 of Article III of the Treaty, to accept safeguards, in accordance with the terms of this Agreement, on all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within its territory, under its jurisdiction or carried out under its control anywhere, for the exclusive purpose of verifying that such material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”
As of this writing the IAEA continues to “verify” that there is no indication that any amount of NPT-proscribed materials has ever been diverted from a peaceful to a military purpose.
“(a) In order to ensure the effective implementation of safeguards under this Agreement, the Government of Iran shall, in accordance with the provisions set out in Part II of this Agreement, provide the Agency with information concerning nuclear material subject to safeguards under this Agreement and the features of facilities relevant to safeguarding such material.
“(b) (i) The Agency shall require only the minimum amount of information and data consistent with carrying out its responsibilities under this Agreement.
“(ii) Information pertaining to facilities shall be the minimum necessary for safe-guarding nuclear material subject to safeguards under this Agreement.”
Since Condi Rice became Secretary of State, the IAEA Board of Governors have been demanding Iran provide them far, far more information than is required to be in some cases even could be supplied under the Iran-IAEA Safeguards Agreement.
“If the Board, upon report of the Director General, decides that an action by the Government of Iran is essential and urgent in order to ensure verification that nuclear material subject to safeguards under this Agreement is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, the Board may call upon the Government of Iran to take the required action without delay, irrespective of whether procedures have been invoked pursuant to Article 22 of this Agreement for the settlement of a dispute.”
The key phrase in this article is that the Board can only call upon Iran to take certain actions “upon report of the Director General”.
Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei has yet to report that he has been unable to verify that no Iranian safeguarded materials have been diverted from a peaceful purpose. Quite the contrary.
Hence, the IAEA Board has been corrupted. It has violated the Iran-IAEA Safeguards Agreement. It has violated the IAEA Statute. And when the Board had the Director-General “report” the “Iran dossier” to the UN Security Council last year, with a recommendation that sanctions be imposed on Iran, the IAEA Board may even have violated the UN Charter.
In any case, on March 29, 2007, Iran informed the IAEA that it had “suspended” its voluntary implementation of the so-called Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement which had been “accepted in 2003, but not yet ratified by Parliament.”
This “suspension” of voluntary compliance with an un-ratified modification of its Safeguards Agreement is probably what Warrick has in mind when he makes this absolutely false and highly inflammatory charge.
“In April, Iran unilaterally withdrew from an international treaty that would have required it to publicly disclose design plans for any new nuclear-related construction.”
Under the subsidiary implementing agreements to the Iranian Safeguards Agreement of 1974 which is the only agreement the NPT requires of Iran design information on new facilities that are ultimately to be safeguarded is required to be submitted “normally not later than 180 days before the facility is scheduled to receive nuclear material for the first time.”
According to Warrick, an IAEA spokeswoman told him last week that “We have been in contact with the Iranian authorities about this [construction] and we have received clarifications.”
So, if the IAEA has received “clarifications,” and Iran is still in compliance with its original Safeguards Agreement, who cares what questions Warricks “intelligence agencies” and “nuclear experts” might have. Apparently what the Iranians are doing is none of their business. If it was the IAEA could answer their questions.
And what about Warricks report that Irans construction is “reducing options” to “knock out” Irans Safeguarded nuclear programs? Is Warrick saying that US military and intelligence officials have told him they may “have to” nuke Irans Safeguarded nuclear programs in order to be certain they have knocked them out?
Well, what about the NPT? What about this result of the 2000 NPT Review Conference?
“The [Sixth] Conference notes the reaffirmation by the nuclear-weapon states of their commitment to the United Nations Security Council resolution 984 (1995) on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons.”
What assurances are those?
Well, basically Russia and China, as well as France and the United Kingdom, will “provide immediate assistance” to Iran if it “is a victim of an act, or an object of a threat of, aggression in which nuclear weapons are used.”
How do you like them apples?