Iran Has an 'Inalienable Right' to Nuclear Energy

Is Iran's plan for an oil exchange trading in Euros the real issue? Or is it Israel?

By Enver Masud

01/17/06 "
TWF" -- -- Iran has an "inalienable right" to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes such as the production of electric energy, and the enrichment of uranium for its nuclear reactors. Could it be that Iran's plan for an oil exchange trading in Euros is the real issue? Or is it Israel?

Article IV of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force on March 5, 1970, states:

1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.

2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.

Thus, not only does Iran have an "inalienable right" to use nuclear energy for electricity, the NPT obligates the nuclear powers to "further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." Iran has gone beyond its obligations under the NPT to assure others of it's peaceful intentions.

According to Dr. Gordon Prather, a nuclear physicist who was the top scientist for the army in the Reagan years, in December, 2003, Iran had signed an Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement and had volunteered to cooperate with the IAEA - pending ratification by the Iranian Parliament - as if the Additional Protocol were actually "in force."

Iran also offered, says Dr. Prather, "to voluntarily forego a complete fuel cycle . . . if the Europeans would get the United States to reverse the campaign of denial, obstruction, intervention, and misinformation."

Iran had already offered on March 23, 2005 a package of "objective guarantees" (developed by an international panel of experts) that met most of the demands later made by the conservative, Washington based Heritage foundation says Dr. Prather.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has found no "smoking gun" in Iran that would indicate a nuclear weapons program, says Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the IAEA.

Thirty years ago, Iran developing a nuclear capacity "caused no problems for the Americans because, at that time, the Shah was seen as a strong ally, and had indeed been put on the throne with American help", says Tony Benn, Britain's secretary of state for energy from 1975-79.

With world oil production approaching a peak it makes sense for Iran to look toward alternative means for generating electricity, and to reserve its oil supply for other purposes including increasing revenues from the export of the additional oil not used for electricity production.

A major reason for the U.S. invasion of Iraq was "to install a pro-U.S. government in Iraq, establish multiple U.S. military bases before the onset of global Peak Oil, and to reconvert Iraq back to petrodollars while hoping to thwart further OPEC momentum towards the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency."

Iran is about to commit a far greater "offense" than Saddam Hussein's conversion to the euro for Iraq's oil exports in the fall of 2000. Beginning in March 2006, the Tehran government has plans to begin competing with New York's NYMEX and London's IPE with respect to international oil trades - using a euro-based international oil-trading mechanism," writes William R. Clark the author Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar.

According to Toni Straka, a Vienna, Austria-based financial analyst who runs a blog, The Prudent Investor, Iran's "proposal to set up a petroleum bourse was first voiced in Iran's development plan for 2000-2005. . . . Cheaper nuclear energy and increases in oil exports from the current level of roughly 2.5 million barrels a day will result in a profitable equation for Iran.

"Only one major actor stands to lose from a change in the current status quo: the US" says Toni Straka, "which with less than 5% of the global population, consumes roughly one third of global oil production."

"There could hardly be a clearer example of double standards than this, and it fits in with the arming of Saddam to attack Iran after the Shah had been toppled, and the complete silence over Israel's huge nuclear armoury," says Tony Benn.

Yes, given the technology and knowledge Iran could develop a nuclear weapon. But "under the current regime, there is nothing illicit for a non-nuclear state to conduct uranium-enriching activities . . . or even to possess military-grade nuclear material," says ElBaradei. Thirty-five to forty countries possess this capability.

Israel - not a signatory to the NPT - has had this capability for years, is believed to have several hundred nuclear bombs, the missiles to deliver them to Iran, and it is no secret that it has been threatening strikes on Iran's Bushehr nuclear electric power plant - just as it launched an unprovoked and illegal attack on Iraq's, Osirak nuclear electric power plant in 1981.

U.S. news media's timidity was a significant factor in the launching of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. This invasion has claimed the lives of over 2000 U.S. soldiers and over 180,000 Iraqis. It has left uncounted others wounded and maimed, it has destroyed much of Iraq's - indeed the world's - cultural heritage, and is likely to cost U.S. taxpayers "between $1 trillion and $2 trillion, up to 10 times more than previously thought," according to a report written by Joseph Stiglitz - recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics.

John Ward Anderson of the Washington Post wrote on January 13: "The foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France called Thursday for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council for violating its nuclear treaty obligations." Neither he nor the editors or ombudsman at the Post have responded to our request to identify which "nuclear treaty obligations" is Iran violating.

Writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jack Boureston and Charles D. Ferguson say, "In pursuing a civilian nuclear program, Iran has international law on its side. . . . The best way to know the full extent of Iran's nuclear doings is to offer it help."

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