More Bonkers Bolton Legacy?

Last week, two-thirds of the thirty-five member Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency voted to select Yukiya Amano — a Japanese diplomat, who had actually been IAEA Board Chairman between September, 2005 and September, 2006 — to succeed Mohamed ElBaradei as IAEA Director-General. 

Do the sins of Bonkers Bolton haunt us, still? 

Recall that, way back in October 2004, Iran had entered into negotiations with France, Germany and the United Kingdom with the explicit expectation of obtaining normal relations with the Europeans, secure against Bush-Cheney-Bolton economic, political and military interference. 

Iran had signed and had immediately begun to adhere to — in advance of its ratification by the Iranian Parliament — an Additional Protocol to its IAEA Safeguards Agreement 

Iran also extended its voluntary suspension of all uranium-enrichment related activities — taken almost a year before "as a confidence building measure" — suspended uranium-conversion activities, and invited the IAEA to monitor the suspensions.

Now, bear in mind that the IAEA was never a party to the negotiations, themselves. Never should have been; never could have been. 

But, Iran had suggested the Europeans ask the IAEA to develop "technical, legal and monitoring modalities" for Iran’s enrichment program above and beyond those required under their Additional Protocol with the IAEA, to be monitored by the IAEA, to provide "objective guarantees" to the Europeans that all Iran’s nuclear programs would remain exclusively for peaceful purposes. 

The Europeans declined the suggestion. 

So, the Iranians assembled their own expert advisor group and on March 23, 2005, offered the Brits-French-Germans a collection of "objective guarantees" which included a "limitation of the extent of the enrichment program to solely meet the contingency fuel requirements of Iran’s power reactors."  

Bonkers Bolton and Condi Rice intervened to prevent the Brits-French-Germans even acknowledging the Iranian offer, much less accepting it. 

So, in a Note Verbale of August 1, 2005, Iran informed the IAEA that, because of the failure of the Brit-French-German talks, Iran had decided to resume its IAEA Safeguarded uranium-conversion activities – voluntarily suspended almost two years before – at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Esfahan.  

When this resumption of Safeguarded activity was duly reported by Director-General ElBaradei to the IAEA Board of Governors, some Board members reportedly announced their intention to refer these perfectly legal IAEA Safeguarded activities to the UN Security Council for "possible disciplinary action."  

Now, according to the IAEA Statute, in the performance of their duties, "the Director-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any source external to the Agency."  

Furthermore, each IAEA Board member "undertakes to respect the international character of the responsibilities of the Director-General and the staff and shall not seek to influence them in the discharge of their duties." 

When IAEA inspectors do determine that safeguarded materials have been used "in furtherance of any military purpose," they "shall" report such "non-compliance" to the Director-General who "shall" thereupon transmit the report to the Board of Governors.

As of this writing, IAEA inspectors have made no such report about Iran. In fact, in their most recent report "all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for."

Nevertheless, shortly after Yukiya Amano became Chairman of the IAEA Board of Governors, in September 2005, the Board adopted resolution GOV/2005/77 wherein, in violation of its own statute, it "urged" Iran: 

    (i) To implement transparency measures, as requested by the Director General in his report, which extend beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and include access to individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military owned workshops and research and development locations;

    (ii) To re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related activity, as in GOV/2005/64, and reprocessing activity;

    (iii) To reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water;

    (iv) Promptly to ratify and implement in full the Additional Protocol;

    (v) Pending completion of the ratification of the Additional Protocol to continue to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol, which Iran signed on 18 December 2003; 

And if that wasn’t bad enough, that resolution officially even "called" upon Iran to return to those economic-political-military negotiations with the Brits-French-Germans, deliberately sabotaged by Rice-Bolton.   

Then on 4 February, 2006, Amano’s Board went further, "deem[ing] it necessary" that Iran comply with every one of the above "urged" actions.   


Well, in the meantime, the CIA had provided the Amano Board some additional – but still limited — access to "alleged information" contained on the so-called "smoking laptop."   

Now, as best ElBaradei and the Iranians can discover, none of that "alleged information" was in any way connected – directly or indirectly – to Iran’s IAEA Safeguard programs.   

Nevertheless, the IAEA Board repeated its previous "requests" that Iran "cooperate" in "following up on [smoking laptop] reports relating to equipment, materials and activities which have applications in the conventional military area and in the civilian sphere as well as in the nuclear military area," and "requested" Iran "extend full and prompt cooperation… which the Director-General deems indispensable and overdue…to help the Agency clarify possible activities which could have a military nuclear dimension."   

Now, in making such "requests" Amano’s Board had not only violated the IAEA Statute, but in "calling" upon the Iranian Parliament to ratify the Additional Protocol, Amano’s Board had violated the UN Charter, itself. 

Amano’s Board went on to "request" Director-General ElBaradei "report to the Security Council of the United Nations that these steps are required of Iran by the Board and to report to the Security Council all IAEA reports and resolutions, as adopted, relating to this issue."   


The request by Amano’s Board that the Director-General "report" to the Security Council the "steps" that Amano’s Board had [illegally] required of Iran soon resulted in UNSC Resolution 1696 [July 2006]. 

According to the UN Charter, whenever an issue is ‘referred’ to the UN Security Council for possible action under Article 39 of Chapter VII; 

    "The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security." 

How could Bonkers Bolton and Chairman Amano expect the Security Council to "determine" that Iran’s properly IAEA-safeguarded activities constituted a "threat to the peace or breach of the peace" to say nothing of an "act of aggression"? 

Or expect the Council to take measures under Article 41 [possible imposition of sanctions], much less Article 42 [possible use of armed forces]? 

Now, what the Security Council should have done – if anything – after considering the IAEA "requests" and "demands," would have been to cite Article 40, which says; 

    "In order to prevent an aggravation of the situation, the Security Council may, before making the recommendations or deciding upon the measures provided for in Article 39, call upon the parties concerned to comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary or desirable. Such provisional measures shall be without prejudice to the rights, claims, or position of the parties concerned." 

But, thanks to Bonkers Bolton, the Security Council simply ignored Article 39 making no determination at all with respect to whether Iran’s IAEA Safeguarded activities constituted a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression.  

Instead, in UNSC Resolution 1696 [July 2006] the Council claimed to be  

"Acting under Article 40 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in order to make mandatory the suspension required by the IAEA, 

    "1.   Calls upon Iran without further delay to take the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors in its resolution GOV/2006/14, which are essential to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of its nuclear programme and to resolve outstanding questions, 

    "2.   Demands, in this context, that Iran shall suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA, 

and to make matters worse the Council   

    "6.   Expresses its determination to reinforce the authority of the IAEA process, strongly supports the role of the IAEA Board of Governors, commends and encourages the Director General of the IAEA and its Secretariat for their ongoing professional and impartial efforts to resolve all remaining outstanding issues in Iran within the framework of the Agency, underlines the necessity of the IAEA continuing its work to clarify all outstanding issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme, and calls upon Iran to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol and to implement without delay all transparency measures as the IAEA may request in support of its ongoing investigations, 

So, if the IAEA General Conference confirms the IAEA Board’s choice of Yukiya Amano to be the next IAEA Director-General, expect the sins of Bonkers Bolton to haunt Iran, members of the Non-Aligned Movement, and small peace-loving creatures for years to come. 

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.