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Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Reason for War: Is Iran Violating the NPT?

In foreign policy, war and peace on May 4, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Has Iran violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? That depends on who you ask.

Yesterday, at the opening session of the May 3-28 conference in New York meant to review the NPT, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested Iran has violated its international obligations.

“Iran has defied the UN Security Council … and placed the future of the non-proliferation regime in jeopardy,” Clinton said. “Potential violators must know that they will pay a high price if they break the rules.”

However, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again denied his country has nuclear ambitions. Instead, he berated the U.S. for its possession and use of nuclear weapons.

“The possession of nuclear bombs is not a source of pride; it is disgusting and rather shameful.” Ahmadinejad said in a speech on the conference’s opening day.

Iran is often accused of violating section 3 of the NPT which reads in part:

“Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agency’s safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

The key phrase is “accept safeguards” as determined by the IAEA. Article XII of the IAEA Statute outlines these safeguards which include “To examine the design of specialized equipment and facilities” and “To call for and receive progress reports.”

The fact is, Iran has allowed AIEA inspectors in the country since the early 90s and continues to do so. However, it has sometimes not reported otherwise legal activity until after it has been discovered. Iran’s has failed to meet its “obligations” not by violating the NPT, but by failing to report. The IAEA has consistently reported Iran’s activity as peaceful. 

Rhetoric against Iran by the international community is gaining momentum. The accusations are not dissimilar to those that were used against Iraq and made to justify a U.S. invasion. While nations such as Pakistan, India, North Korea and Israel posses nuclear weapons and refuse to sign the NPT, the international community is concerned with Iran: a basically compliant signatory who has yet to be proven in pursuit of nuclear energy for non-peaceful purposes. 

Additional Sources:

IAEA Says No New Concerns Regarding Iran Inspections, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty

NPT 101: Is Iran violating the nuclear treaty? The Christian Science Monitor

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and 1835 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran, IAEA

Iran did NOT violate the NPT, Iran Affairs: Iranian foreign policy and international affairs

Fact Sheet: Violations of U.N. Sanctions and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, The Israel Project

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Iran to host nuclear conference, US says ‘no thanks’

In foreign policy, sovereignty, war and peace on April 8, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be hosting a nuclear weapon disarmament conference in Tehran April 17–18 titled “Nuclear Energy For All, Nuclear Weapons For No One.”

Needless to say the United States will not be attending.

However, according to Iran’s Mehr News Agency, more than 60 countries will be at the conference. Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said China will be present. However, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official said Beijing has not yet decided.

It’s unlikely the scheduling of the conference so soon after the U.S.-Russia nuclear weapons agreement is a coincidence. Ahmadinejad is as politically savvy as he is controversial.

But the real story is not that “black sheep” Iran is hosting a conference on nuclear disarmament, or at least it shouldn’t be. The real story is that the United States is so bent on isolating Iran that it’s shunning a chance to discuss and possibly learn more about Iran’s nuclear program.

Perhaps Iran and Ahmadinejad are not to be trusted. But ignoring and demonizing a historically peaceful country and potential ally is simply bad foreign policy. Why not attend the conference? Is the United States as sure of Iran’s destructive determination and lust for “weapons of mass destruction” as it was with Iraq?

Murder by sanctions

In foreign policy, sovereignty, war and peace on March 28, 2010 at 9:31 pm

“Look, we need to be honest about this, Iranians are going to die if we impose additional sanctions.” — American Enterprise Institute scholar Fred Kagan.

Tomorrow, foreign ministers of G8 countries will convene in Gatineau, Quebec to discuss “the major issues affecting international peace and security.” High on their agenda is the issue of Iran and the possibility of imposing harsher sanctions against the nation.

According to Canada’s Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, Iran’s nuclear program is of “critical concern.” The Associated Press reported the minister saying he believes it’s necessary to pursue UN-imposed sanctions.

“Unfortunately I believe we are left with little choice but to pursue additional sanctions against Iran ideally through the United Nations Security Council,” Cannon said.

But Cannon, like our own Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, appears to have little concern for the impact such sanctions would have on the Iranian people. Too often, sanctions are viewed as a “peaceful” alternative to war. In reality, sanctions are a means of economic warfare.

Perhaps Cannon is ignorant of the effects of sanctions. Ms. Clinton has no such excuse.

In the 90s, her husband imposed harsh economic sanction against the nation of Iraq — reportedly killing more than a million Iraqis.

Pro-sanction scholar at the American Enterprise Institute Fred Kagan, is aware of the repercussions of such policy. 

“Look, we need to be honest about this,” Kagan said at an April 2009 AEI conference on Iran. “Iranians are going to die if we impose additional sanctions.”

According to AEI, the United States currently blocks “all investment and trade activity with Iran, with exceptions for the import of food, Persian rugs, informational materials, and gifts valued under $100.”

AEI admits that Iran, although host to the world’s third-largest proven petroleum reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves in the world, is vulnerable to sanctions because of its lack of refineries. Iran’s “real plan,” according to the institute, “is to become energy independent.”

Tomorrow, enlightened world leaders try to make sure that doesn’t happen.

National sovereignty and the “right” to go nuclear

In foreign policy, sovereignty, war and peace on March 8, 2010 at 3:33 am

Why is it that the United States so fears a nuclear Iran? Does a nuclear Iran pose a greater threat than that of a nuclear Russia or China?

Referring to the non-proliferation treaty, Egypt’s second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, once said, “basically they did whatever they wanted to do before the introduction of NPT and then devised it to prevent others from doing what they had themselves been doing before.”

Nasser’s comment is insightful; especially his accusation that the nuclear weapon states designed the NPT to control other states from obtaining that which they already had.

Often, opponents of a nuclear Iran claim the nation to be “unstable” and “radical.” How can the international community trust a rogue nation with such powerful weapons? The answer is the same way in which it trusts the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, North Korea, Pakistan, India and Israel.

To be sure, an nuclear Iran is worrisome. Any increase in the destructive potential of nuclear weapons is worrisome. But Iran poses no more of a threat than of its nuclear neighbors. It definitely does not pose a threat equal to that of the dominant world powers of China, Russia and the U.S.

At the heart of the debate over who should be allowed to have nuclear weapons is the issue of national sovereignty. Powerful nations such as the U.S. and Russia should not have authority over smaller nations simply because of their status. 

Iran, like the U.S., is a sovereign nation. It has a “right” to make internal decisions as it sees fit — including the regretful decision to develop nuclear weapons.

Who do sanctions really hurt?

In foreign policy, war and peace on October 28, 2009 at 12:08 am

We often hear the term sanctions being thrown around by media. Economic sanctions, military sanctions, U.N. sanctions — they’re all perceived as a more humanitarian tool for achieving political ends; with war being the last result.

But who do sanctions really hurt? The rich and powerful government officials residing in their palaces? Or do the actually harm the everyday people in these countries struggling to survive?

Are sanctions a more humanitarian tool than war? I don’t know. But I do know that sanctions, like war, are force.

Imagine what would happen to America if the rest of the world imposed sanctions on us. The result would be great hardship for the American people. And we are a wealthy nation.

Consider this recent statement by AEI resident scholar Fred Kagan and supporter of sanctions on Iran:

“Look, we need to be honest about this, Iranians are going to die if we impose additional sanctions.”

Rebecca Griffin, a writer for Peace Action West’s Groundswell Blog, makes the argument that sanctions don’t work and actually empower the current regime. In her opinion, sanctions create a “sanctions economy” where smuggling is the money maker.

Not only can private individuals take advantage of a sanctions atmosphere, but so too can governments. Griffin argues that sanctions actually serve those in power by increasing their control of an economy and knocking out foreign competition. She also says that sanctions in Iran will inhibit the pro-democracy movement:

“Some people are inclined to take the more punitive route based on their disgust at the Iranian government’s treatment of protesters. While the outrage is warranted, sanctions are a misguided and dangerous response. If we want to support the pro-democracy movement in Iran, we must follow its lead.”

For more of Griffin’s news and views on sanctions, click here.

Ready or not, here we come Iran!

In war, war and peace on September 28, 2009 at 5:28 am

Top three reasons why the U.S. should go to war with Iran:

1) Their leader is a crazy, brutal dictator.

2) They are pursuing weapons of mass destruction in the form of nuclear weapons.

3) They are evading U.N. inspections.

Iran, like Iraq, is an unstable dictatorship. International treaty clearly states that only stable countries such as China and Russia are allowed to have nuclear weapons. Not only is Iran unstable, it is centered in the much volatile Middle East. Only one nation, Israel, is allowed/given nuclear technology because they are our friend.

This Thursday, five permanent U.N. security council members plus Germany will meet with Iranian officials in Geneva to discuss nuclear disarmament. The United States, Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany will attempt to pressure Iran into letting international inspectors have full access to Irans newly disclosed underground uranium enrichment plant.

All of these nations, with the exception of Germany, have nuclear weapons. But then again, they should be allowed to have nuclear weapons as they are amongst the worlds civilized. And although the United States is the only nation to have used nuclear weapons in warfare, it has every right to tell Iran what to do.

I hope Iran refuses to allow the international inspectors full access. Then, as with Iraq, we can go in and clean house. Perhaps we could even establish a democracy for the Iranian people in the process. Although we may have to reinstitute the draft and print/borrow more money via the Federal Reserve to accommodate a third war, our efforts will be worth it. After all, we are the leader of the free world.

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Prove it”  Iran.

If not, were coming in to get you.

(Note: This post is meant to be satirical.)