Iran: Where do we go from here?
By Mike Whitney
-- -- The Bush administration has run into a rock
wall at the Security Council. Neither Russia nor China will agree to
any resolution that condemns Iran for “noncompliance” with its
treaty obligations. In fact, there is general agreement that Iran
has not violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) so the
point is moot. This eliminates any chance that punitive action will
be taken against Iran or that sanctions will be applied.
So why did the Bush administration take the case this far if they
knew that there was no possibility for consensus on the main issue?
The administration knew from the beginning that the world body would
not support sanctions or military action. The intention was simply
to increase suspicion about Iran’s nuclear programs and mobilize
public support for a war.
In fact, the United States is not at all concerned with Iran’s
nuclear programs. It is merely a hoax that is being used to conceal
Washington’s war plans.
Presently, the administration is trying to coerce the Security
Council to issue a strongly-worded “presidential statement” laying
out what Iran needs to do to ease concerns that it is using its
civilian programs to hide a nuclear weapons program.
Since there is “no evidence” of such programs (according to the UN
watchdog agency IAEA) the Security Council should not become
involved in a process that can only strengthen the administrations
plans to attack Iran.
The “presidential statement” does not have the power of a Security
Council “resolution”. It cannot be used to apply sanctions or to
take military action. It is purely a formal reprimand that makes
constructive suggestions for changing behavior. It is designed to
allay fears that Iran may be secretly building nukes. Unfortunately,
the statement is utterly meaningless since Iran has already allowed
the most extensive inspection regime to rummage through every aspect
of its nuclear program for 2 years without producing any proof of
The Bush administration would never waste its time on diplomatic
maneuvering unless it had a goal in mind. The strategy for using the
presidential statement as a pretext for war is evident in the way
the wording is being negotiated. Rather than simply saying that the
Security Council hopes that Iran will guarantee that its program is
“exclusively peaceful purposes”; the US wants to add that,
“continued enrichment-related activity would add to the importance
and urgency of further action by the Council”.
This phrasing provides the US with a pretext for intervention if
Iran continues to enrich uranium.
The statement also contains a demand that Iran accept an “additional
protocol” that gives IAEA inspectors “exceptional access to plants”.
It asks for “additional ‘transparency measures,’ including access to
individuals, documents, and research laboratories”.
In essence, the statement insists that Iran forgo its “inalienable
right” to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and accept an
intrusive inspection-regime that can ferret through every armory,
barracks, conventional-weapons site, communications facility,
ammunition-dump, palace, and research laboratory in the country.
This is the same rule that was applied to Saddam before the war in
But, why should Iran agree to this public humiliation if it has done
nothing wrong? Should they sacrifice their sovereign rights just to
Iran will never accept these conditions nor would the United States
if the situation was reversed. Iran must continue to defend its
right to enrich uranium and, thus, vindicate the principle that
underscores international treaties. The Bush administration has no
authority to repeal treaties nor does it have the right to create
the conditions whereby the terms of those treaties are rescinded.
The “presidential statement” will be used in the media to demonize
Iran for its alleged “defiance” and to convince the public that
there is universal agreement on Iran’s imaginary nuclear weapons
programs. Although the statement does not authorize the US to take
unilateral action, it will be used to do just that. John Bolton has
already admitted that if the Security Council does not meet the
administrations expectations, the US may act on its own and look for
partners in applying sanctions or taking military action.
So, where do we go from here?
There’s a good chance that the logistical groundwork for war with
Iran has already been laid. This would explain the earnestness of
American diplomats at the State Dept. and the UN.
The Security Council needs to realize the gravity of the situation
and take positive steps to diffuse the crisis. The Council should
forgo the issuing of the “presidential statement” and buttress
Iran’s rights under the NPT to enrich uranium under the strict
supervision of the IAEA. They should also condemn any unilateral
action by member states as a violation to the UN Charter which
confers sole authority to the UN Security Council for sanctions or
Most of all, the United Nations must defend its own credibility as a
viable institution for world peace by ensuring that it is not used
to mask the war-mongering objectives of other nations.
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