ElBaradei’s Swan Song

Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei – who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to prevent Bush-Cheney-Bolton from launching a war of aggression against Iraq on the basis of false accusations about Iraq’s nuclear programs, then verified by ElBaradei to be in compliance with its Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency – has really had it tough the past several years.

ElBaradei has had to contend with a Board of Governors that has acted in blatant disregard of the governing articles of the IAEA Statute, violating Iran’s inalienable rights affirmed not only in Iran’s Safeguards Agreement and in the IAEA Statute, but also affirmed by the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

ElBaradei has just provided his final report which – once again – "continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran." In other words, Irancontinues to be in complete compliance with its NPT-related Safeguards Agreement, and hence, continues to fulfill its NPT obligations as a non-nuclear-weapon signatory.

Okay, but what’s all this contained in his report about "relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737, 1747, 1803, and 1835"?

Well, those are the Security Council resolutions which Bonkers Bolton strong-armed the Security Council – despite some resistance from Russia and perhaps China – into passing, in blatant disregard of the governing articles of the UN Charter.

You see, way back in February, 2006, as a result of strenuous arm-twisting by Bush-Cheney-Bolton, the IAEA Board passed a resolution [.pdf], which after

"Recalling that Article IV of the NPT stipulates that nothing in the Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable rights of all Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination,"

nevertheless, proceeded to discriminate, "deeming it necessary" for Iran to:

  • re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the Agency;
  • reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water;
  • ratify promptly and implement in full the Additional Protocol;
  • pending ratification, continue to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol which Iran signed on 18 December 2003;
  • implement transparency measures, as requested by the Director General, including in GOV/2005/67, which extend beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and include such access to individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military-owned workshops and research and development as the Agency may request in support of its ongoing investigations;

Bush-Cheney-Bolton hoped that this outrageous "decision" by the IAEA Board, in violation of the IAEA Statute and the UN Charter, would result in Iran withdrawing from the NPT, itself, as had North Korea.

It didn’t work.

So, then Bush-Cheney-Bolton got the UN Security Council – claiming to be "acting under Article 41 of Chapter VII " of the UN Charter – to "decide" that Iran "shall, without further delay, suspend"

  • (a) all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA; and
  • (b) work on all heavy water-related projects, including the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water, also to be verified by the IAEA;


"Decides that all States shall take the necessary measures to prevent the supply, sale or transfer directly or indirectly from their territories, or by their nationals or using their flag vessels or aircraft to, or for the use in or benefit of, Iran, and whether or not originating in their territories, of all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems."

Now, these actions by the Security Council not only amounted to an egregious violation of Iran’s rights affirmed by the NPT, and the IAEA Statute, and Iran’s IAEA Safeguards Agreement, but also an egregious violation by the Security Council of the procedures set forth in Chapter VII of its charter, entitled "Action with respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression"

"Article 39: 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.

"Article 40: 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. The Security Council shall duly take account of failure to comply with such provisional measures.

"Article 41: The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

The Security Council had noreason to even consider, apropos Article 39, whether Iran’s failure to capitulate to the outrageous demands of the IAEA Board – made in obvious violation of the IAEA Statute, the NPT and Iran’s Safeguards Agreement – could possibly constitute a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression.

At worst, the Security Council, upon receiving the outrageous IAEA Board "report," should have called, apropos Article 40, upon "the parties concerned" to comply with "certain provisional measures," without "prejudicing the rights, claims, or position of the parties concerned."

There is no sense in which the measures imposed by the Security Council in Resolution 1737 can be viewed as not "prejudicing the rights, claims or position" of Iran.

Now, either Russia or China could have vetoed any or all of these Security Council resolutions. So, the whole world waits, wondering whether the Russians and Chinese will continue to sit on their hands – as they did when Bush-Cheney-Bolton launched their war of aggression against Iraq – if Barack Obama is persuaded by the Likudniks to attack and destroy the nuclear facilities in Iran which ElBaradei has just "verified" to be in compliance with its NPT-related Safeguards Agreement.

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.