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Iran: Where do we go from here?

By Mike Whitney

03/14/06 "
ICH" -- -- 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 wrongdoing.

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 Iraq.

But, why should Iran agree to this public humiliation if it has done nothing wrong? Should they sacrifice their sovereign rights just to placate Washington?

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 military action.

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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