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    your brain on talk radio..., 2006-12-21 11:53:16 | Main | death of a lover of nachos and football..., 2006-12-27 15:02:37

    have a very merry yalda, please pass the sanctions:

    The UNSC resolution imposing sanctions, as yet unpublished, against Iran is itself a violation of Iran's signature to the NPT by effectively stripping away Iran's rights to persue nuclear energy. Responsibility for Iran's resort to the black market and non-transparency to exercise those rights must be laid at the feet of the US, which persued bilateral obstructions on Iran's potential trading partners in violation of those rights, forcing Iran to persue the program through covert channels to protect otherwise perfectly legal contracts. As Aslı U. Bali explains in his excellent background paper from the winter issue of Middle East Report:

    Following the onset of the Iran-Iraq war, the new president of the Islamic Republic, Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani [pres. 1989-97], restarted the nuclear energy program that had begun, with US acquiescence, under the Shah, but had lain dormant since his ouster in 1979. Rafsanjani sought to buy uranium fuel for power generation and, later, to acquire some components of the technology needed to enrich uranium ore—of which Iran possesses deposits—to fuel grade.

    Initial efforts to enter into talks with the German company that was under contract during the Shah’s reign to construct two nuclear reactors in Bushehr were rebuffed. Iranian attempts to acquire enriched uranium from the Eurodif uranium enrichment plant—in which the Shah had invested over $1 billion in exchange for a promise of 10 percent of the output—also failed. By the mid-1990s, Tehran had concluded that access to Western European markets for its nuclear program was extremely restricted.

    Unable to find a Western European supplier, Iran approached Argentine, Brazilian, Chinese, Pakistani and Russian companies either for completion of work on the Bushehr reactors or to acquire additional research reactors. Eventually, Iran was able to conclude a deal to purchase a small research reactor from China, but only that, largely as a result of US interventions.[2] In the mid-1990s, China abandoned an agreement to assist Iran with the construction of a uranium conversion facility at Isfahan, though Iran retained the Chinese blueprints and informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its intention to build a uranium hexafluoride conversion plant at Isfahan during a November 1996 IAEA inspection of the site.[3]

    Rafsanjani’s efforts finally bore fruit in the form of an $800 million contract with the Russian nuclear energy ministry to complete work on a light-water reactor at Bushehr. The Russian deal originally envisioned the completion of the reactor by 2000, but the completion date and the cost of the contract have both been adjusted numerous times. The course of Russian-Iranian nuclear energy cooperation has also been marked by repeated US efforts to persuade Russia to desist and to impede Iranian access to other materials necessary for the Bushehr facility.

    US policy on Bushehr has been driven by a number of factors, including concern that the Iranian-Russian agreement might serve as cover for transfer of more sensitive nuclear technology to Iran or provision of training for Iranian nuclear specialists that might later find military applications. But there has never been any suggestion that completion of a nuclear reactor at Bushehr would contravene Iranian or Russian non-proliferation obligations. Rather, US concerns about the nature and intentions of the regime in Tehran drove Washington to attempt systematic blockage of Iranian access to open-market sources of civilian nuclear cooperation or technology transfers that are permissible under the NPT. Through diplomatic pressure, the threat of direct secondary sanctions and the threat of lost access to US markets for companies willing to do business with Iran, the Clinton administration successfully cut off most avenues for Iranian access to trade in civilian nuclear technologies during the 1990s.

    This policy of restricted access was in tension with the spirit of the NPT, which expressly allows non-nuclear states to pursue civilian nuclear energy programs in exchange for forgoing the pursuit of nuclear weapons. Further, nuclear material and technology transfers conducted through open-market transactions are automatically subject to IAEA inspections for any country that, like Iran, has concluded a safeguards agreement with the Agency. Finally, light-water reactors are widely acknowledged to have little potential to contribute to a nuclear weapons program.[4] Indeed, the obstruction of Iranian efforts at Bushehr was ultimately counterproductive from a non-proliferation perspective. In particular, US policy regarding Bushehr has fueled Iranian claims that the US has driven Iran to seek nuclear material and technologies from black-market sources and develop a nuclear program clandestinely.

    Bali cites Anthony Cordesman's 2000 paper for CSIS, which is worth further examination but self-conciously assumes the worst case against all evidence, which is zilch.

    Our gang of boobs know perfectly well Iran wants domestic nuclear energy production to boost oil exports. They conveniently forget their own policies back when their buddies in SAVAK were torturing the shit out of Iranian democracy advocates they've only recently found the decency to cry crocodile tears for. Iran having nuclear power means cheaper oil for us, which is exactly why Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Kissinger were all encouraging Iran to produce nuclear energy back in the dark ages of the 1970s, in their words: "introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran's economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals."

    Western "experts" have simply blacked out any memory of these policies, painting themselves into a corner regarding the logical explanation of Iranian activities. Particularly impressive are those, like Dr. Kissinger, who wrote the rational for the policy in the first place, and now pretend to have no recollection of their own considered opinion.

    UN Security Council resolutions against Iran have not just violated Iran's rights, but demonstrated once again that destitute body's abiding anti-Americanism. As if papering over the illegal nature of our continued occupation of Iraq - thus facillitating our own self-destruction - weren't demonstration enough, it has now taken upon itself, at our own lunatic urging, to jack up prices at the pump. The delusional campaign against Iran's nuclear energy program - assisted not least by our conservative and liberal cousins in punditry - is downright treasonous.

    The only logical explanation of the Bush administration's behavior in this regard is its publically declared preference for regime change in Iran - in dangerous violation of the fundamental laws and norms of the international system. The UNSC resolution provides further cover for this policy of unmitigated, irrational America hatred.

    It's fucking yalda season though, and I've got some delicious holiday grub laid out in front of me, so taking the time to lay out the case for how absolutely insane a resort to force against Iran would be would itself be foolishness, and we're among the few America-loving, sane participants to this discussion.


:: posted by buermann @ 2006-12-25 11:07:52 CST | link





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