Setting Iran up for a preemptive strike, possibly with nukes
By Linda S. Heard
Journal" -- -- It's a scam. Who would ever have thought after the Iraq tragedy that the US and its client states would have had the chutzpah to repeat their dismal performance?
When the rumblings from the White House and the Israeli Knesset first began over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons ambitions, I thought their accusations would be laughed out of court. I was wrong.
I was wrong because I hadn't realised the depths to which some powerful nations would sink, even to the point of binning international law along with empirical justice, in furthering their own interests.
I was wrong because I failed to realise just how much other countries fear the wrath of the superpower or wish to continue receiving the monetary scraps that fall off its table.
And I was wrong because I had underestimated the lengths to which elements of Western corporate media would go to spin the story in favour of the belligerents.
And neither did I fathom just how deep the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, would bury facts to appease the political agendas of its more powerful masters when it has been accused of doing the same over Iraq with such terrible consequences.
Let's get specific.
Under Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which Iran is a signatory, Iran not only has the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, nuclear powers have an obligation to assist it in furthering this aim. Here's the applicable text:
"Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination . . ."
Iran has always maintained that its nuclear plants are for the purposes of generating electricity. The US, however, has unilaterally decided that Iran doesn't need nuclear energy because it has large oil reserves. In reality, Iran has long been a target for regime change writ large on the neocon agenda.
But despite Iran having signed an IAEA Safeguards Agreement whereby it agrees to accept invasive inspections and monitoring for the purpose of verifying that nuclear materials are "not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices," it has recently been voted in breach of the treaty by a majority of 22 IAEA member countries.
A year ago, the director-general of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, made this statement as to Iran's compliance with its obligations under the Safeguards Agreement: "All the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and, therefore, such material is not diverted to prohibited activities."
Then after a concerted effort by the US to oust him from his job, this was ElBaradei's wishy-washy statement 11 months on: The IAEA is "not yet in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran".
The above is exactly the kind of inconclusive language, both he and former UN chief inspector Hans Blix, were making before the UN Security Council in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, which as we know was entirely WMD-free.
If the Iranian file goes before the UN Security Council, there is a likelihood that Russia and China will use their vetoes to prevent sanctions. But this would be playing right into the Bush administration's hands.
The White House isn't really interested in slapping Iran with a long-drawn out sanction process, which would, in any case, boomerang as oil prices would soar.
Bush doesn't want guarantees that Iran isn't seeking nuclear WMD either. America's real goal is regime change in Iran, just as it was in Iraq, and in the absence of a genuine casus belli, it is desperate for a pretext, even, if it has to resort to that same worn-out canard he used to invade Iraq.
Should the Security Council throw out the Iranian case, the administration's interests would be served when it would have the perfect opening to gather together yet another "coalition of the bribed and the coerced" to launch a preemptive war.
Israel, which hasn't ratified the NPT and whose nuclear activities were off the table during the recent IAEA meeting, is already rattling its sabres.
But sticking to its long drawn-up agenda vis-à-vis Iran is no easy task for the Bush administration. Some 140,000 US troops are bogged down in Iraq, there are clamours for the National Guard to remain at home to cope with natural disasters, and recruitment levels are way down. So what can it have up its sleeve?
Writer Paul Craig Roberts, who served in the Reagan administration as assistant secretary of the treasury, puts forward a worrying thesis.
He suggests the US might resort to using nuclear weapons against Iran and cites a Pentagon document, titled "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations," which "calls for the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear adversaries in order 'to ensure success of US and multi-national operations.'"
Just imagine! We have here a country that unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty and is openly developing smaller tactical nukes against the provisions of the NPT teaming up with another which refuses to sign-up to the NPT at all or even admit it has a nuclear weapons programme.
And they are both pointing fingers at Iran that has played by the rules.
Funny stuff, indeed, but, sadly, nobody's laughing.
Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at
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