By F. Michael Maloof
In beating the war drums and threatening to launch a pre-emptive military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, “Israel” wants to portray Iran as acting illegally and is involved in using its program to build nuclear weapons.
“Israel” has gotten not only the United Nations to pass four separate sets of sanctions against Iran but coaxed the United States to push separate more stringent unilateral sanctions for doing what Iran is entitled as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT.
These unilateral and multilateral sanctions against Iran have been imposed without any shred of evidence that Iran’s nuclear program is a cover for developing nuclear weapons.
The U.S. and Israel point to a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, of “evidence” of such a program. However, that “evidence” was generated by assessments from the U.S. intelligence community which has a direct tie into the IAEA.
Such “evidence” which is designed to cast Iran in the worst possible light internationally brings to mind similar “evidence” of weapons of mass destruction offered by the United States in February 2003 before the United Nations to form the basis to attack Iraq in March 2003. Once the U.S. occupied Iraq however, no such evidence was discovered.
As a signatory to the NPT, however, Iran has an “inalienable right” to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It isn’t a question of the West “allowing” Iran to develop nuclear energy as a signatory to the NPT — it is Iran’s “inalienable right” to do so.
Yet, the West has bought into “Israel’s” hysteria that Iran is using its nuclear program to mask the production of nuclear weapons when in fact Iran has a right to uranium enrichment. Just because Iran is involved in an enrichment program doesn’t automatically mean that it is going for a weapons development program. Indeed, the NPT is explicit in allowing for such enrichment.
By all accounts, Iran has enriched up to 20 percent which is quite suitable for medical purposes. Around 40 percent, it can be used to make “dirty bombs.” Theoretically, Iran could go to 90 percent – weapons grade – under the NPT. However, Iran hasn’t given any indication that it intends to enrich to that level.
In terms of the NPT, it is based on three pillars: Non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Under the pillar of non-proliferation in particular, the NPT only says that non-nuclear weapons states will never acquire nuclear weapons and agree to share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology.
The NPT precludes nuclear states from transferring “nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”. Non-nuclear weapons states who are signatories to the NPT cannot receive, manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons or “seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.”
The NPT’s wording doesn’t preclude a non-nuclear country from building components that could go into making a bomb. The non-nuclear state just can’t put those components together to make a complete bomb and yet remain in compliance with the NPT.
Here is a summary of the NPT’s articles, to which Iran appears to be in full compliance:
Article I: Each nuclear-weapons state (NWS) undertakes not to transfer, to any recipient, nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices, and not to assist any non-nuclear weapon state to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices.
Article II: Each non-NWS party undertakes not to receive, from any source, nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices; not to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices; and not to receive any assistance in their manufacture.
Article III: Each non-NWS party undertakes to conclude an agreement with the IAEA for the application of its safeguards to all nuclear material in all of the state’s peaceful nuclear activities and to prevent diversion of such material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
Article IV: Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.
Article VI: The states undertake to pursue “negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”, and towards a “Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”.
Article X. Establishes the right to withdraw from the Treaty giving 3 months’ notice. It also establishes the duration of the Treaty (25 years before 1995 Extension Initiative).
“Israel” on the other hand is assessed by U.S. officials to have some 400 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and, unlike Iran, is not a signatory to the NPT. It maintains what is called a policy of “deliberate ambiguity” and somehow gets away with that nonsense.
“Israel” has given some flimsy excuse for not signing, claiming the NPT isn’t enforceable. If it were a signatory, it then would have to open up its facilities to international verification, just like Iran has. This reality challenges the very premise by which the “Israelis” can complain about Iran which has no nuclear weapons and not only is a signatory to the NPT but has allowed representatives from the IAEA to visit its nuclear facilities. However, “Israel” has not permitted the nuclear watchdog agency to inspect its nuclear reactors and related facilities. Despite efforts to compel “Israel” to be a signatory to the IAEA, the West has ignored such calls from countries in the Middle East. Western countries which have been quick to act to impose sanctions on Iran have refused to impose any sanctions on the Jewish state to adhere to international treaty obligations.
These realities beg the question as to why the West is so eager to be duped by “Israeli” hysteria when the Jewish entity doesn’t do anything that shows transparency of its nuclear program and weapons.
Like “Israel,” neither India, Pakistan nor North Korea has nuclear weapons and are not signatories to the NPT. Yet, there isn’t the hysteria to attack those countries as “Israel” and the U.S. have sought to do regarding Iran’s nuclear development program.
It reveals once again the tremendous sway and influence “Israel” has over U.S. policy-making.
Ironically, the Obama administration has called for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, even though it knows that the Jewish entity has nuclear weapons. Such a stand by the American administration reveals a hypocrisy that has not gone unnoticed by countries in the Middle East. It also helps explain why the credibility and influence of the United States in the Middle East has evaporated. If the U.S. and indeed the other Western countries don’t like what Iran is doing, then it needs to reexamine and perhaps update the terms of the NPT itself and not go after Iran which is only exercising its rights under a treaty that the Western countries themselves devised.
Events are at a point where reason and logic need to dictate how to proceed. The West need not bow to “Israel’s” hysteria that is calculated to lead to a highly ill-advised and unnecessary war with Iran that will have catastrophic consequences for the Middle East and indeed the entire world.
F. Michael Maloof is a former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org