Yet More Condi Rice Diplomacy

In announcing her latest “steps” in the Bush-Cheney campaign to effect regime change in Iran, Condi Rice claimed they were necessary because Iran had again rejected the offer originally made “on our behalf” back in May, 2006, by Javier Solana – the European Union Minister of Foreign Affairs – “to support a civil nuclear program in Iran under international supervision if it agreed to give up pursuit of the fuel cycle.”

Some offer! It is undeniably true that Iran – as a member of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – has an “inalienable right” to pursue the nuclear fuel cycle.

So, when Iran rejected Rice’s ultimatum to give up its “inalienable rights,” her stooge Bonkers Bolton managed to ram through UN Security Council Resolution 1696, which began – if you can believe it – by

“Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and recalling the right of States Party, in conformity with Articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.”

Nevertheless, UNSCR 1696 went on to “demand” that Iran “suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development” by August 31, 2006.

Or else!

Iran’s reaction?

Here are excerpts from the rebuttal of Iran’s UN representative – Javad Zarif – in the aftermath of the Council’s passage of Resolution 1696:

“This is not the first time that Iran’s endeavors to stand on its own feet and make technological advances have faced the stiff resistance and concerted pressure of some powers permanently represented in the Security Council.”

In particular, as a result of intense pressure by President Clinton, Russia cancelled its contract to provide Iran a turn-key gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment plant and China cancelled its contract to provide Iran a turn-key uranium-conversion plant.

“Iran’s peaceful nuclear program poses no threat to international peace and security, and therefore dealing with this issue in the Security Council is unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility.

“Far from reflecting – as advertised – the concerns of the international community, the approach of the sponsors flouts the stated position of the overwhelming majority of the international community, clearly reflected in the most recent statements by Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement and of the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference), and partly reflected in the June, 2006, IAEA Board Chairman’s Conclusion.

“The Non-Aligned Movement, comprising an overwhelming majority of this [UN] Organization, in the recent statement of its Ministers in Putrajaya ‘stressed that there should be no undue pressure or interference in the Agency’s activities, especially its verification process, which would jeopardize the efficiency and credibility of the Agency’, and ‘nothing should be interpreted in a way as inhibiting or restricting this right of States to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes’ and ‘reaffirmed that States’ choices and decisions in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear technology and its fuel cycle policies must be respected.”

Well, that was last year. The Russians and Chinese have since refused to go any further down Condi’s “diplomatic” path to effecting regime change in Iran.

Worse, it appears that Condi’s previous diplomatic triumph has come unglued.

Two years ago, Condi whizzed down to New Delhi to prevent India from finalizing technical and commercial contracts for a $4.5 billion natural gas pipeline – the so-called “Peace Pipeline” – that would transit Pakistan but provide Iranian natural gas mostly to India.

Well that would never do. So, Condi proposed, as a mutually exclusive alternative, a U.S.-Indian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

But, there were substantial obstacles that had to be overcome for the agreement to be approved.

When India tested a “nuclear explosive device” in 1974, our Congress passed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act, requiring any future recipient of US nuclear exports to submit to “full scope” IAEA Safeguards. Nuclear exports to any recipient state which subsequently detonated a “nuclear explosive device” were to be terminated.

Furthermore, the US took the lead in establishing the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 40-plus member voluntary organization which includes the U.S., UK, Russia, China and France.

Currently, if any new NSG transfers are required by NSG Guidelines to be made subject to IAEA Safeguards, NSG guidelines now require all existing nuclear equipment at all facilities in the country be made subject.

That would mean that India would have to subject its nuclear weapons and related facilities to IAEA safeguards.

So the first step had been to get our Congress to approve the US-India deal – in principle — which would involve changes in both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act and the Atomic Energy Act.

Congress made actually making those legislative changes contingent upon India negotiating IAEA safeguards agreement on all “civilian” nuclear programs and then getting the NSG to exempt India from the requirement of making all nuclear programs subject to IAEA safeguards.

So the process is for India to [1] declare its “civilian” materials, facilities, and activities, [2] negotiate IAEA safeguards agreements for them, [3] get an NSG exemption for its nuclear weapons material, facilities and activities, and then [4] get approval by the Indian Congress of the deal.

Then and only then would our Congress make the necessary changes in U.S. law.

Last week Indian Prime Minister Singh reportedly told President Bush that it didn’t look like the present coalition government would approve the US-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, largely because of its “strategic” implications.

Meanwhile, it appears technical and commercial contracts for the Iran-Pakistan-India “peace-pipeline” are being “finalized.”

So, Condi has “diplomatically” corrupted the IAEA Board of Governors, emasculated the Nuclear Suppliers Group and defenestrated the NPT, and to what end?

Well, nevermind, Condi. Just plunge ahead. Because

“the Iranian Government continues to spurn our offer of open negotiations, instead threatening peace and security by pursuing nuclear technologies that can lead to a nuclear weapon, building dangerous ballistic missiles, supporting Shia militants in Iraq and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories and denying the existence of a fellow member of the United Nations – threatening to wipe Israel off the map.”

So “determine” that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards have engaged in certain activities, and that certain Iranian banks had been involved in transactions, that materially contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Then have Secretary of the Treasury Paulson “block” the US assets of the lot of them.


Apparently so President Bush can – pursuant to Presidential Directive 12938, as amended – threaten to seize all the U.S. assets of any foreign company that provides (or attempts to provide) those nuke proliferators financial, material, technological support.

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.