Obama The Great

In his first visit to Europe as President, in an electrifying address to a Czech assemblage, seen and heard and applauded throughout the world, Barack Obama stated "clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons."

Great Zot! A world without nuclear weapons? Obama the Naive?

But Obama went on;

"I’m not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly – perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, ‘Yes, we can.’"

Last week, for the very first time, an American president chaired a meeting of the United Nations Security Council. Obama the Maybe-Not-Naïve challenged other Council members – including the heads of state of Russia, China, Great Britain and France – to "overcome cynicism" about the possibility of a world without nuclear weapons.

And, a few days later, the Security Council adopted Obama’s Resolution 1887, which begins by;

"Resolving to seek a safer world for all and to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, in accordance with the goals of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), in a way that promotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all,

"Underlining that the NPT remains the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,

"Reaffirming its firm commitment to the NPT and its conviction that the international nuclear non-proliferation regime should be maintained and strengthened to ensure its effective implementation, and recalling in this regard the outcomes of past NPT Review Conferences, including the 1995 and 2000 final documents,

"Calls upon all States that are not Parties to the NPT to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States so as to achieve its universality at an early date, and pending their accession to the Treaty, to adhere to its terms;

"Recalls the statements by each of the five nuclear-weapon States, noted by resolution 984 (1995), in which they give security assurances against the use of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon State Parties to the NPT, and affirms that such security assurances strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime."


Among other things, the Americans-Brits-French-Russians-Chinese reassured NPT-compliant non-nuclear-weapons states they wouldn’t nuke them. Hence, you might suppose every nation-state – especially nuke-armed India, Pakistan and Israel – would urgently want to become a NPT-compliant non-nuclear-weapons state. Or remain one.

So, now you know why Bonkers Bolton’s successors and acolytes in the Obama-Biden administration had attempted to get Iran singled out by name in UNSCR 1887 as an example of a State not in compliance with its NPT "obligations," and hence, ineligible to enjoy the benefits of the peaceful use of atomic energy guaranteed them by the NPT. And, presumably, no longer immune from being nuked by fellow NPT-signatories.

But, recall that the principal obligation of a non-nuclear-weapons state NPT-signatory is to not "manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons." And a non-nuclear-weapons state is also required to conclude a Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), covering certain NPT-proscribed "nuclear materials" and all activities involving their chemical or physical transformation, "with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons."

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei had just reported for the umpteenth consecutive time that he "continues to verity the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran."

Furthermore, he reported that he could find no "evidence" that Iran has ever manufactured or otherwise acquired a nuclear weapon. Nor does he believe the Iranians are attempting to do so.

But, then all hell broke loose. It seems that Iran had sent a letter to ElBaradei, a few weeks ago, notifying him that they were constructing a new facility, which in 18-24 months time might be operational, ready to physically transform (enrich) some of Iran’s Safeguarded uranium-hexafluoride.

The Likudniks and their toadies, here and abroad, went ballistic (if you’ll pardon the expression).


Well, one theory is that the Likudniks had known the Iranians were building something near Qum, reckoned it might be related to Iran’s nuclear program, but knew that Iran hadn’t yet informed the IAEA about it. The Likudniks assure us that the "confidential" Subsidiary Arrangements to Iran’s Safeguards Agreement require Iran to notify the IAEA the minute the Iranians decide to construct such a facility.

So, the Likudniks had intended to confront the Iranians at the Brits-French-German-Russia-China-U.S. "talks" scheduled for this week in Geneva. With a mighty cry of "gotcha," they would charge that the Iranians had, by keeping the construction "secret," violated the NPT.

Violated the NPT? No longer an NPT-signatory in good standing?

Yahoo! Nuke-Nuke-Nuke, NukeNuke Iran.

But wait a minute. Big problem.

Earlier this year the IAEA Secretariat Legal Adviser had issued an opinion on a similar "failure" of Iran to comply strictly with the letter of its Subsidiary Arrangements.

Article 19 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement provides that if the IAEA Director-General reports to the Board of Governors that he is – because of some actions the Iranians have incorrectly taken or have not taken – unable to verify the non-diversion of Safeguarded materials, then the Board has the statutory option of reporting the situation to the Security Council and to the UN General Assembly for possible action.

Hence, if the Director-General reports to the Board that he has been able to "verify" the non-diversion of Iranian safeguarded materials, then – statutorily – the Board has nothing to report requiring possible action.

It follows, statutorily, that the Board acted improperly when it made the reports that resulted in UNSC Resolutions 1737,1747,1803 and 1835.

Meanwhile, at the IAEA General Conference in Vienna, a resolution [.pdf] passed – sponsored by Iran and many members of the Non-Aligned Movement – which "Expresses concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities, and calls upon Israel to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards."

And a resolution they sponsored prohibiting attacks on all "nuclear facilities" very nearly passed.

So, Obama the Not-So-Naive, here’s your chance to become Obama the Great.

You want to strengthen the NPT-IAEA nuke proliferation-prevention regime? You want every country – including Israel – to make all their nuclear-related facilities subject to the NPT-IAEA regime? You want there to be dancing in the streets throughout the developing world?

Just declare that so long as you are President and Commander-in-Chief you will not allow our armed forces to attack any IAEA Safeguarded facility, anywhere in the world.

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.