Challenging Bush’s Reality

Americans increasingly realize – despite a dearth of reporting by the mainstream media – that there is a widening gulf between reality and President Bush’s characterization of it. And what’s scary is that Bush may actually believe his mischaracterizations and act upon them, perhaps even nuking Iran, a signatory to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation Weapons, and practically certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency not to possess nukes or the makings, thereof.

So scary is that prospect that last week, Agence France-Presse, until now a consistent neo-crazy media sycophant, uncharacteristically began its report of a news conference held by President Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karsai thusly;

"U.S. President George W. Bush charged Monday that Iran has openly declared that it seeks nuclear weapons – an inaccurate accusation at a time of sharp tensions between Washington and Tehran."

Bush made an inaccurate accusation?

Great Zot!

What was it?

AFP quotes Bush thusly;

"It’s up to Iran to prove to the world that they’re a stabilizing force as opposed to a destabilizing force. After all, this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon."

But AFP reporters well knew that the Mullahs running Iran have proclaimed over and over that they have no desire to acquire nukes and that even desiring them, much less using them on their fellow men, would be seriously contrary to Islamic law.

So, in an effort to find out whether Bush was a dimwit or simply flat-out lying to them, the AFP reporters accosted White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, who claimed Bush had been referring to "Iran’s defiance of international calls to freeze sensitive nuclear work."

Now, if Bush truly believes that Iran’s refusal to suspend, indefinitely, programs – which the NPT recognizes to be Iran’s "inalienable," God-given, right to conduct – constitutes a proclamation of "its desire to build a nuclear weapon," then he certainly qualifies as a dimwit.

Johndroe’s explication of Bush’s charge continues;

“After keeping their nuclear program secret for a decade, the Iranian government has refused the offers of the international community to provide [them] nuclear energy and continues to flout the inspectors of the IAEA.”

Three more "inaccurate accusations," proving that Bush’s spokesman – if not Bush, himself – is either truly ignorant or a bald-faced liar.

Iran’s Safeguards Agreement – which gave the IAEA the “right and the obligation” to ensure that safeguards are applied on “all source or special fissionable material” in all peaceful nuclear activities “for the exclusive purpose of verifying that such material is not diverted to nuclear weapons” – entered into force in 1974.

In the early 1990s, Russia had agreed, inter alia, to complete the nuclear power plants at Bushehr, whose construction had begun under the Shah, and build a gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz.

Also in the early 1990s, China had agreed, inter alia, to provide Iran two 300 MW nuclear power plants and a uranium-conversion plant at Isfahan.

But, in 1995, as a result of intense Clinton-Gore pressure on Russia and China – and on European suppliers of auxiliary equipment – Russia canceled the gas-centrifuge facility contract and China canceled the power plant contract. In 1997, China also canceled the uranium-conversion plant contract.

The Russians have continued to honor their contract to complete at least one of the 1,000 MW power plants at Bushehr.

Then, in 2002, at the 46th IAEA General Conference, Reza Aghazadeh, president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran announced that Iran planned to construct within two decades nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 6,000 MW:

"I take this opportunity to invite all the technologically advanced member states to participate in my country’s ambitious plan for the construction of nuclear power plants and the associated technologies such as fuel cycle, safety and waste management techniques."

It is important to note that under the existing safeguards agreement, the Iranians were then – and are, now – under no obligation to inform the IAEA about any activity unless and until it involves – or will involve within 90 days – the chemical or physical transformation of safeguarded materials.

In August 2002, the Iranians subjected the uranium-enrichment pilot plant they had under construction at Natanz to IAEA safeguards. They had already subjected the uranium-conversion facility at Isfahan.

Then, in December, 2003, Iran signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and announced it would “cooperate with the Agency in accordance with the [Additional] Protocol in advance of its ratification.”

In November, 2004, under the so-called Paris Accords, Iran entered into negotiations with the Brits-French-Germans in the hope they could obtain “objective guarantees” the Europeans would defy the United States, would reestablish normal diplomatic and trade relations, and would, inter alia, respect both Iran’s “inalienable” rights and European obligations under the NPT.

Iran reaffirmed that “it does not and will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons.”

And, in order to “build further confidence” Iran “decided – on a voluntary basis – to continue and extend its suspension to include all enrichment and reprocessing activities.”

Since all these activities were already subject to IAEA Safeguards, the IAEA Board of Governors was notified of this voluntary suspension and the IAEA Secretariat asked to “verify and monitor” it.

On March 23, 2005, the Iranians made a confidential proposal to the Brits-French-Germans to voluntarily “confine” Iran’s nuclear programs.

In particular, the Iranians offered to forego indefinitely the chemical processing of spent fuel to recover unspent uranium and plutonium, and to limit their uranium-enrichment activities to meeting contingency refueling requirements for Iranian nuclear power plants, planned and under construction.

The Iranians also offered to submit to “continuous on-site presence of IAEA inspectors at the conversion and enrichment facilities to provide unprecedented added guarantees.”

As a result of extreme pressure by Bush on the Brits-French-Germans, they never even acknowledged the Iranian offer.

So, in July, 2005, the Iranians resumed – subject to IAEA Safeguards – some of the activities they had voluntarily suspended.

Now, Iran’s offer of March 23, 2005, made to obtain "objective guarantees" that the Brits-French-Germans would prevent Bush’s nuking them, is essentially compliant with UN Security Council Resolution 1747.

So, the reality is that Iran voluntarily offered to do in 2005 what Bush strong-armed the Security Council into requiring them to do in 2007.

Or else.

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.