Collective Punishment

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich 

11/03/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- It is the aim of the United States to inflict collective punishment on the Iranian people.  The Bush White House, successfully invoked Chapter VII, Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations stipulating a threat to peace (the pot calling the kettle black) subjecting Iran to sanctions.  The compliant United Nations Security Council drafted the Iran Resolution, paragraph 15 of which is as follows:  

   “15. Decides that all States shall prohibit specialised teaching or training of Iranian nationals, within their territories or by their nationals, of disciplines which would contribute to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, provided that nothing in this paragraph shall oblige a State to deny such teaching or training to its own nationals;” 

This clause would have an immediate impact, its effect, long term.  The United States has decided to seal our fate and has decided that that Iranians are not to advance in any field that would improve the lives nor the future of the Iranian people.  Not only is Iran being deprived of her energy rights, but she is being limited in making strides in important fields such as medicine and technology.

Should this draft be accepted, students would not be permitted to study or complete courses in such fields as MRI.  Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI) which was changed to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) because of the negative connotations associated with the word nuclear in the late 1970's[i] would be an immediate field impacted.  Under sanctions, other medicinal fields such as  the study of radiotherapy machines which can treat cancer will not be made available to Iranian students overseas either.

Valuable and lifesaving fields of study will  be equated to  bomb-making and not life-saving if pursued by Iranian students! The UNSC will decide what Iranians may or may not study.  The irony of the US pushing for these sanctions is its ‘intolerance’ for dictatorships, its ideals to democratize the Middle East, and its allocation of  $75 million to promote democracy in Iran, yet it dictates who must study what, and by extension, who may progress, live or die.

Furthermore, the IAEA chief, Mr. ElBaradei, on accepting his Nobel Prize, spoke to the benefits of nuclear technology; specifically in the developing nations.  He emphasized that  ‘atoms for peace’ was set out to benefit the third world; and this is what was outlined: 

At the IAEA, we work daily on every continent to put nuclear and radiation techniques in the service of humankind. In Vietnam, farmers plant rice with greater nutritional value that was developed with IAEA assistance. Throughout Latin America, nuclear technology is being used to map underground aquifers, so that water supplies can be managed sustainably. In Ghana, a new radiotherapy machine is offering cancer treatment to thousands of patients. In the South Pacific, Japanese scientists are using nuclear techniques to study climate change. In India, eight new nuclear plants are under construction, to provide clean electricity for a growing nation – a case in point of the rising expectation for a surge in the use of nuclear energy worldwide.


These projects, and a thousand others, exemplify the IAEA ideal: Atoms for Peace.[ii] 

Perhaps, it went unnoticed that India, not party to the NPT,  which is also nuclear armed, was also proudly mentioned in his speech.  While Mr. Bush and the world extend their friendship and cooperation (and jobs) to India, Iran, without having violated her obligations under the NPT, is being deprived not only of its energy program, but of ideals of the ‘atoms for peace’ program.  The students are being denied the knowledge so that the collective population of Iran suffers.  Is this what Mr. Bush had in mind when he spoke directly to the people of Iran “I hear you”.  Mr. Bush: Do you hear the outrage of the Iranian people?

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has lived and studied in Iran, the UK, France, Australia and the US. She obtained her Bachelors Degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and she is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Middle East Studies concentrating in Political Science. She has done extensive research on US foreign policy towards Iran and Iran’s nuclear program.


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