Effecting Regime Change in Iran

Here we go again. Because "the continuing and immediate threat" of "grave acts of terrorism or threats of terrorism" constitutes "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States," the Bush-Cheney administration intends to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a "person" [as defined by Executive Order 13224] who assists, sponsors, provides financial, material or technological support or other services to "terrorists."

Listing the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group would set in motion a series of automatic sanctions that would make it easier for the United States to block financial accounts and other assets the Guards control.

Why now?

Perhaps because the National Council of Resistance [itself already designated a terrorist organization] recently listed Revolutionary Guards assets, charging that they are, inter alia, "supervising" – though the Center for New Defense Preparedness and Technology, the Headquarters for New Warfare, and the Nuclear Research Division of Imam Hussein University – an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Now, there is an intense struggle going on within the Bush-Cheney administration how best to ostensibly deprive Iran of its "inalienable" right – recognized in the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in the enabling statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency – to the peaceful use without discrimination of nuclear energy.

The Cheney Cabal wants ostensibly to deprive Iran of its inalienable rights by an act of war: bombing the geewhiz out of every activity or facility that could conceivably be associated with Iran’s nuclear program, peaceful or otherwise.

Condi and her munchkins want ostensibly to deprive Iran of its inalienable rights by what only amounts to an act of war – imposing and enforcing crushing economic sanctions on every "person" or activity that could conceivably be associated with any of Iran’s energy programs, including the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.

Of course, that’s not what either cabal – or a seemingly large majority of our Congresspersons – really wants. What they all really want – for myriad self-serving reasons – is "regime change" in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

So, why pick on the Revolutionary Guards?

Well, from December, 2003, until recently, Iran had been voluntarily adhering to an [as yet] unratified Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement.

The original agreement – required of Iran by the NPT, and in force since 1974 – was for the "exclusive" purpose of enabling the IAEA to "verify" that no NPT proscribed materials were diverted from a peaceful to a military purpose.

That agreement does not require Iran to even "declare" a facility or activity until 90-days before NPT-proscribed materials are expected to be introduced.

However, under the Additional Protocol, had it been in force, the Iranians would had to have "declared" their intentions to the IAEA as soon as the decision was made to make a procurement, undertake an activity or construct a facility.

Hence, for more than three years, Iran voluntarily provided ElBaradei all the information still in Iran’s files, including information on all past procurement activities, going back two decades. Documentation that Iran had been under no obligation to provide the IAEA at the time, much less obligated to preserve for later inspection by the IAEA.

Nevertheless, as best ElBaradei can determine after more than three years of go-anywhere see-anything inspections, Iran is not now, nor has it ever been, in violation of the NPT.

Now, ElBaradei still has some questions in his own mind about some documents in the Iranian files – and perhaps about some documents that weren’t.

For example, the Iranians allowed the IAEA to place under seal a brochure found in their files which included, 5-6 pages illustrating the casting of hemispherical shells of uranium. The Iranians claim that someone just gave the brochure to them and never did anything with it except put in their files. And there is no evidence to the contrary.

Then there were the blueprints the IAEA didn’t find.

According to James Risen, in February 2000, the CIA sent a Russian defector to IAEA headquarters in Vienna, with instructions to give the Iranian delegate authentic "top secret" blueprints for the TBA 480 High-Voltage block, a part of the fire set of an authentic Russian-designed nuclear weapon.

Now, the IAEA found not only blueprints for fire-sets in Iraq in 1991, but evidence the Iraqis had built and tested prototypes. The Iraqis claimed they got the know-how from the open literature.

But the IAEA didn’t find the 2000 CIA "plant" in Iran’s files.

Then there was the "smoking laptop."

According to Dafna Linzer, the CIA had obtained in 2004 a "stolen" laptop computer which allegedly belonged to an Iranian engineer. It contained mostly engineering notes about the development and testing of ballistic missiles, virtually all of it in English.

In mid-2005, the CIA briefed the IAEA on the laptop’s contents, which included this;

“In the spring of 2001, a small design firm opened shop on the outskirts of Tehran to begin work for what appears to have been its only client – the Iranian Republican Guard. Over the next two years, the staff at Kimeya Madon completed a set of technical drawings for a small uranium-conversion facility, according to four officials who reviewed the documents.

ElBaradei was not impressed. But, under heavy pressure, he did have his deputy confront the Iranians with this CIA "intelligence" in January, 2006.

Iran’s representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, dismissed the laptop documents as “fabricated information,” especially the "intelligence" that the Republican Guards had secretly been attempting to design a uranium-conversion facility. You see, Iran had been producing uranium-tetrafluoride – “green salt” – at the uranium conversion facility at Esfahan for years, subject to IAEA Safeguards, of course.

“We are not hiding it. We make tons of it."

Earlier this year, IAEA officials complained about the quality of "intelligence" they had been provided over the years, by the CIA, NCR, etc. about Iran’s nuclear programs.

Quoth a "senior diplomat" at the IAEA, "Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that’s come to us has proved to be wrong."

Of course, that criticism by the IAEA won’t prevent the Cheney Cabal effecting regime-change in Iran. It certainly didn’t stop their effecting regime-change in Iraq.

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.