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[Opinion] Iran Defends Peaceful Nuclear 'Right'
Ahmadinejad Explains Problems with Security Council
Ronda Hauben (netizen2)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2010-05-14 08:03 (KST)   
The 2010 Review Conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) opened in New York at the United Nations on Monday May 3. At the opening session President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran spoke to the delegates gathered for the Review Conference. He said that "none of the non-nuclear states has ever been able to exercise their inalienable and legal rights for the peaceful use of nuclear energy without facing pressures and threats." (1)

He was referring to the difficulty to utilize the right protected by Article IV of the Treaty, which states:

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"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."(2)

At a press conference with President Ahmadinejad held the next day at the Millennium Hotel across from the United Nations, he provided a more comprehensive understanding of the means by which this right is denied.

Ahmadinejad reported that several members of the UN Security Council told Iran that they were pressured to vote in favor of sanctions against it. He said that two or three members of the Security Council impose their will on other members. So when these other members vote in favor of sanctions, it isn't that their votes have been freely obtained. The result he explained would be that, "in the near future this Security Council will lose its legitimacy."

He remarked that there is no meeting that Iran has on the issue but the representatives "tell us unofficially" that "they are under pressure from the US." Such pressure won't lead Iran to accept the dictate of a few powerful countries, he explained, "Not only the Iranian nation, but no nation will accept" such terms.

One journalist questioned Ahmadinejad about the security threat to Iran posed by the nuclear umbrella NATO provides to member states. "Wouldn't it be safer for Iran to have nuclear weapons than to refrain from nuclear weapon development?" the journalist asked.

The President of Iran responded that "No," Iran had no need to develop nuclear weapons. Iran feels it needs logic, he said, and logic shows that weapons never eradicated weapons. "We do not need the atomic bomb," Ahmadinejad insisted. Describing how nuclear weapons do not provide a nation with protection, he gave the example of the breakup of the Soviet Union even though it had many nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad was asked if he thought there was some weakness or problem with the NPT represented by the discriminatory actions and double standards marking the experience Iran and other states have had trying to exercise their rights under the article IV provision of the NPT protecting the inalienable right to the peaceful development of nuclear technology.

The President of Iran referred to the 11 points in his speech the day before, where he urged there be a stronger requirement that the nuclear weapon states disarm.

It seemed, however, that Ahmadinejad was not accustomed to questions that recognized the non-nuclear weapon states' inalienable right to the peaceful development of nuclear technology included in the NPT. Many of the questions journalists ask him accept the US indictment of Iran as violating the NPT by developing nuclear enrichment technology. The treaty provides that a non-nuclear weapon state can develop nuclear technology as long as it is for peaceful use. The language of Article IV states that the treaty cannot be used to take this right away from a member state. Reports in the US press echo the US government claims that the ability to do nuclear enrichment for peaceful purposes provides that state with the technological know-how to create a nuclear weapon. Even if the US claim were true, which it isn't, under the language of the NPT treaty, it would not be an appropriate basis to deprive a state of the technological know-how to do nuclear enrichment for peaceful purposes. Enrichment of uranium and the weaponization of enriched uranium are two different technologies. So the US claim is sophistry, only meant to hide an understanding of the technology from the public.

Iran maintains it needs to develop a nuclear enrichment capacity for the production of nuclear fuel to produce nuclear energy and medical isotopes. This claim is dismissed by the US.

The US government's misrepresentation of the nature of the technology is reflected in a New York Times Editorial published on Sunday, May 9. (3) The Editorial proposes "a requirement that states that do not already make their own nuclear fuel stay out of the fuel business -- it is too easy to divert to make a nuclear weapon." Such an argument flies in the face of the agreement that is at the foundation for the NPT. This agreement was that the non-nuclear weapon states joining the treaty would not produce nuclear weapons in exchange for the commitment that the nuclear weapon states recognized by the treaty help the non-nuclear states to develop research and utilize nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

To advance the requirement that the non-nuclear states must give up their right to develop nuclear enrichment self sufficiency for the peaceful uses of the technology is to negate the very foundation for the treaty. Such a requirement is refuted by the language of Article IV which emphasizes that nothing in the 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...."

If such a requirement is allowed to prevail, the nuclear weapon possessing states included in the treaty can continually strengthen their monopoly on the research, production and use of nuclear technology and make the non-nuclear weapon states increasingly dependent on them. (4)

There are US government documents that corroborate Ahmadinejad's accounts that Security Council members, "even permanent members", are being subjected to pressure to vote in favor of sanctions against Iran. Such compulsion, particularly targeting China, is well documented in two government documents, which are publicly available. These documents are the transcripts of hearings conducted by the US Congress.(5)The pressure takes the form of coercive measures. For example, in testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission held during the 109th Congress, in 2006, Commissioner Patrick A. Mulloy refers to the imposition of sanctions against Chinese companies as one form of compulsion used against China. Mulloy notes, "On July 13, 2006, United States imposed sanctions on four Chinese companies for assisting with missile proliferation in Iran." (2006 Hearing, p. 22)

Describing China's vote referring Iran from the IAEA to the Security Council, Middle Eastern scholar Dr. John Calabrese told the Commission that this vote was a "reluctant" one. (2006 Hearing, p. 47) The testimony given by Calabrese advised the Commission that the United States must also be prepared to employ additional "coercive measures" against China. (2006 Hearing, p. 48) The scholar advised the Commission that additional US government coercive action be "to reduce, withhold, suspend or deny specific US technology transfers to China."(2006 Hearing, p. 49)

At a similar hearing in 2008, Stephen G. Rademaker testified about his experience working in the Bush administration in 2005 when these and other coercive measures were used against China. He described what he called China's reaction to the first time when "the Section 311 trigger was pulled" to get the attention of the Chinese bank officials and government. (2008 Hearing, p. 110)

In the written testimony submitted to the commission, Rademaker explains, "Two new tools were introduced during my time at the State Department that immediately got the attention of the Chinese." (2008 Hearing, p. 112) These were the signing of Executive Order 13382 on June 29, 2005 by the US President, and the action against Banco Delta Asia under Section 311 of the Patriot Act on September 15, 2005.

Rademaker claims that "the Chinese government did not know what to make of these actions but it found them alarming." (2008 Hearing, p.112 ) He is referring to the fact that these US regulations made it possible for the US government to freeze the assets of a targeted bank, and that the asset freeze extended to all financial transfers, whether or not the transactions were related to US government claims of proliferation violations. "This broad authority," Rademaker testified, was troubling to the Chinese government as they had seen its "devastating consequences" on the Banco Delta Asia, a small bank in Macau, in an action taken by the US government. Under the authority of Section 311 of the Patriot Act, the US government does not need to provide evidence when it makes an accusation of wrongdoing against a financial institution. (6)

Documents like these two transcripts of US government hearings demonstrate the importance of Ahmadinejad's press conference on May 4. He pointed to how the Security Council's decisions to impose sanctions on Iran were not the result of voluntary decisions made by the members of the Council. Instead members of the Council such as China, who the US government believes would oppose such sanctions, became the target of sanctions and hostile acts to influence its vote.

The significance of such US action is that under Article 24(1) of the UN charter, member states on the Security Council are given the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. If instead of an independent vote according to the judgment of the member states, they are pressured or compelled to follow the dictate of one or a few of the members of the Council, their obligations under the charter are subverted as is the role of the Security Council. Instead of fulfilling its charter role to maintain international peace and security, the Security Council is turned into part of the toolbox to enforce the aggressive national policy of one or a few powerful nations. (7)

Through such mechanisms, the inalienable right of Iran to do research, develop and use nuclear technology which is protected in Article IV of the NPT, is tranformed into an act to be punished. Iran has been the target of such Security Council imposed sanctions.

Instead of exposing this subversion of the Security Council's obligation under the UN charter, much of the western media have supported the public opinion campaign against Iran misleading the public about the nature of the NPT, and the right of nations to the development and use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The development of nuclear enrichment technology for peaceful purposes has been falsely equated with the intention and capability to create nuclear weapons.

Such a media campaign is but a repetition of the false claims that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The media campaign against Iraq, along with a series of Security Council sanctions, helped to set the stage for the illegal US led invasion of Iraq. Fortunately there have been examples of print journalists and of netizen journalists online who have challenged the false narrative about Iran's nuclear program spread by much of the mainstream western media.(9)

In welcoming journalists to his press conference on May 4, Ahmadinejad said, "The world is in need of a new order." He expressed his hope that the press conference would be a "gathering" which would "help to materialize this grand goal."

Ahmadinejad pointed journalists to the problem of the illegitimate pressure exerted by a few nations like the US on other Security Council members to determine how they voted on the resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran. He exposed a serious problem that threatens to undermine the goals set by the NPT. This presents a challenge, especially to journalists, to do the needed investigation and critiques to expose the forms of pressure that strike not only at the integrity of the NPT, but also of the UN itself.

--
Notes
1.Ahmadinejad's Speech at the NPT Review Conference at the UN on May 3, 2010
http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/statements/pdf/iran_en.pdf

2. Text of Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/Others/infcirc140.pdf

Article I and II refer to the prohibition against Nuclear weapon states transferring or assisting a non nuclear weapon state obtaining nuclear weapon related technology or devices.

3."Fixing the Treaty", Editorial, New York Times, May 9, 2010, p. wk7
www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/opinion/09sun1.html

4. Cyrus Safdari, Counterspin, Fair, February 26, 2010
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4028

5.Two such transcripts of hearings are:
China's Proliferation to North Korea and Iran, and Its Role in Addressing the Nuclear and Missile Situations in Both Nations, Hearing before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 109 Congress, 2nd Session, September 14, 2006, Washington, November 2006.

http://www.uscc.gov/hearings/2006hearings/transcripts/sept_14/06_09_14_trans.pdf

China's Proliferation Practices, and the Development of its Cyber and Space Warfare Capabilities, "Hearing before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission", 110 Congress, 2nd Session, May 20, 2008, Washington, June 2008.

http://www.uscc.gov/hearings/2008hearings/transcripts/08_05_20_trans/08_05_20_trans.pdf

6. See Ronda Hauben, "Behind the Blacklisting of Banco Delta Asia: Is the Policy Aimed at Targeting China as well as North Korea," OhmyNews International, May 18, 2007.
http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=362192&rel_no=1

7. In Iran's statement to the Security Council after they passed resolution 1696, the Iranian representative, Mr. Zarif said;
Big Powers have spared no effort in turning the Security Council, or the threat of resorting to it, into a tool for attempting to prevent Iran from exercising its inalienable right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, recognized explicitly under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The intention to use the Council only as a tool for that or even more dangerous ends could not have been made clearer than in the statement by the permanent representative of the United States at the meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on 5 March this year:

"It is critical that we use the Council to help mobilize international public opinion. Rest assured, though, we are not relying on the Security Council as the only tool in our toolbox to address this problem."

The people and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to exercise their inalienable right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and to build on their own scientific advances in developing various peaceful aspects of that technology.
Security Council Meeting 5500, July 31, 2006, S/PV.5500, p. 8.


8. Siddharth Varadarajan documents how this was also true of the IAEA with respect to Iran and this influenced how Iran 's nuclear activity was referred to the Security Council. See the three award winning articles "The Persian Puzzle, Parts I, II, and III on the IAEA and Iran by Siddharth Varadarajan published in The Hindu that are online at:
http://www.mail-archive.com/saan_@yahoogroups.com/msg00129.html

9. In addition to the articles by Siddharth Varadarajan, see for example:

Dafna Linzer, "IAEA Leader's Phone Tapped", Washington Post, December 12 , 2004, p. 1.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57928-2004Dec11.html

Dafna Linzer, "U.N. Inspectors Dispute Iran Report by House Panel," Washington Post, September 14, 2006, p. 17.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/13/AR2006091302052.html

Gareth Porter, "IAEA Conceals Evidence Documents Were Forged," IPS, September 14, 2009.
http://www.votersforpeace.us/press/index.php?itemid=2931

Ronda Hauben, "US Dumps Dubious Data on IAEA to Discredit Iran", OhmyNews International, March 6, 2008.
http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=381992&rel_no=1

Ronda Hauben, "Hostile Act: Is the Security Council Action Against Iran a Replay of the Iraq Scenario?", Telepolis, December 30, 2006
http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/24/24319/1.html

Ronda Hauben, "Injecting a Synthetic Reality? Framing the narrative on Iran's Use of nuclear energy ",
in Telepolis 11/18/2007
http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/26/26630/1.html

Ronda Hauben, "Weapons of Mass Destruction Syndrome and the Press. [Analysis] How Does One Prove a Negative?"in OhmyNews International 6/24/2007
http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=368433&rel_no=1

Ronda Hauben, "Iran's Rights and Nuclear Non-Proliferation.[Analysis] U.N. Security Council processes fail to consider all the issues", in OhmyNews International 3/29/2007
http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=353054&rel_no=1

Huwa Jawad, "Top Media Lies about Iran", Dissident Voice, May 8, 2010.
http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/top-media-lies-about-iran

A version of this article appears on my netizenblog.
©2010 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ronda Hauben

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