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Iran’s right to enrichment questioned again

By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | July 08, 2012

It was once claimed that Iran had no right to enrich uranium, and anything that the NPT may have to say about sopporting that right was just a “loophole” in the treaty that had to be closed. This was a hard sell since so many countries other than Iran vehemently defended the right to enrichment. So the US changed its tune, and claimed that it actually recognized Iran’s right to enrich uranium however it was simply demanding that Iran “suspend” this right indefinitely until when the US and friends say that it can implement the right safely. No one was fooled by that change in tune, of course, but nevertheless that was the official face-saving position.

So you gotta love it when some horse’s ass goes back and tries to make a legal argument that enrichment is not recognized as a right under the Non Proliferation Treaty. It is not only just an easily refutable argument from a legal standpoint, but it also betrays one of the real agendas of the Iran-hawks: to make an example out of Iran for other developing nations in the on-going effort to get them all to give up their rights under the NPT.

So let me explain: first, the author of this article, a Michael Makosky, identified as a former “Pentagon official”, says about Iran’s right to enrichment: “The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) grants no such right.” Why does he think so? Because he argues, 1- the right is not explicitly listed in the NPT, and 2- because Iran has supposedly not met its obligations under Article III (which requires countries to implement safeguards and allow inspections.)

Well as for the first count — that the right is not explicitly written into the treaty — is total nonsense. The Treaty speaks of nuclear technology in broad terms rather than specific ones, and there’s no reason to assume that a particular type of nuclear technology which is absolutely necessary for a country to independently produce nuclear power is not included. The NPT is not just about non-proliferation, as the author claims. It is also very much about expanding nuclear technology worldwide, which is why there’s even a provision in the NPT that obligated the recognized nuclear-armed states to provide nuclear technology and even information from their test explosiions to the other signatories.

Anyway, considering how many other nations have enrichment technology, then it is far too late in the day to proclaim that enrichment isn’t part of the deal. Certainly, the other nations of the world don’t think that enrichment was excluded, and theyv’e gone to extreme ends to make their voice on the matter clear, as I’ve written before. The Developing Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement have repeatedly gone on record defending Iran’s right to enrichment. Even US allies such as Brazil and Turkey have explicitly recognized that right.

Then we come to the second argument, that Iran is not in compliance with other Articles of the NPt and therefore the “right to enrichment” does not apply to it. This is nonsense for many reasons, but for starters it simply shows a profound ignorance of the NPT. See, as Daniel Joyner has written, the right is simply not “conditional” on the implementation of the other articles. But entirely apart from that, Iran hasn’t violated Article III anyway — it has “maintained” a safeguards agreement with the IAEA as Article III requires, and has allowed all the inspections that its safeguards agreement actually requires, whilst on several occasions going beyond them to allow inspections of places — such as Parchin, twice in 2005 — where the NPT does not apply and which falls outside of the IAEA’s legal inspection authority (which is limited to only measureing nuclear material and sites where nuclear material is stored — not to go on fishing expeditions in missile testing facilities etc.) In fact, it is the demands placed on Iran which are themselves illegal and in violation of the NPT. Note that if the IAEA has any valid basis of suspicion that Iran has failed to declare a nuclear site, all it has to do is present the evidence to the IAEA Board and get a “special inspection” permit that Iran would be obliged to allow. This has not happened because the US has not been able to provide much useful intelligence to the IAEA on Iran’s nuclear program.

And that is why other informed international affairs experts have agreed that Iran’s nuclear program is not in breach of international law.

July 9, 2012 - Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. Iran is taking a stand so now the govt. must change over to going after Syria. Iran is no Libya so they must continue attacking small countries so they can bring in their own puppet regimes. Great article. Thanks.

    Comment by MountainHome | July 9, 2012


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