THE CONVERSATION: Iran and the NPT - September 25, 2005
APOLE: "It will be in Iran's interest to save this limited [petroleum] resource for exports and use nuclear energy instead..."
HUMINT: Interesting point but it's out of context. Iran's breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, its longstanding relationship to countries with nuclear weapons programs and its absurd insistence on pursuing activities that strongly resemble a nuclear weapons program is the most internationally destabilizing behavior in the world today. The world needs more electric power but not more N-bombs and the free world must do everything in its power to prevent dictatorships like the one in Tehran from getting them. The fact is Iran needs to stop its current plans and activities to enrich uranium now and get back to the negotiating table before the patients of the free world runs out. Add to all of this, Tehran’s support for international terrorism, domestic human rights abuses and ICBM development and we are looking at a threat matrix that must be confronted, the earlier the better. Nobody wants it to happen but the clock is ticking and only Tehran can stop it before it is too late.
APOLE: Could you tell me how Iran breached the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
HUMINT: "Iran has most certainly broken the NPT, what is in question is how best to deal with its behavior democratically"
HUMINT: "More importantly, Iran does not even abide by its own agreements with the IAEA…"
HUMINT: "Iran has demonstrated a pattern of abuse of the IAEA and other democratic institutions of international governance. It is very sad to see some nations put the blame on the U.S. for standing up to Iran as a result of its commitment to international democracy. Make no mistake; Iran is challenging the very foundations of these institutions because it doesn’t subscribe to democracy. Iran is an undemocratic state that abhors the basic freedoms (freedom of speech, assembly and religion) required for any society to attain peace and stability. The world doesn’t want to go to war with Iran, however the world will, if Iran does not provide a rational alternative. At the very least this alternative behavior should come in the form of nuclear compliance, and as I mentioned before, the sooner the better.
APOLE: "Are you saying that Iran received or gave to someone or manufactured the nuclear weapons? First time I hear that."
HUMINT: A.Q. Khan sold Iran centrifuge components and technology his nuclear network used to develop a Pakistani bomb. This was done covertly. While Pakistan is not a signature of the NPT, Iran is, requiring it to disclose the technology transfer to the IAEA and they did not. When Iranian officials were confronted, they lied about it. The breach was revealed to the world when traces of highly enriched uranium (HEU) were found on these components by the IAEA during agency inspections in Iran. Pakistan later provided samples of components to prove the HEU was imported but the fact remains that Iran openly lied about the technology transfer. Not a confidence building move and a clear violation of NPT--Article II.
HUMINT: It should not be common practice for anyone to trust individuals/organizations/governments that are uncomfortable with the truth and the responsibility to tell it. To rebuild the trust Tehran continues to abandon daily it must become fully transparent with its nuclear program. There are numerous suspect nuclear sites inside Iran that IAEA agents are still not authorized to inspect. Although Tehran’s noncompliance with the agreements they signed is not technically a violation of the NPT, these are more steps in the wrong direction. Tehran has been and is now in the wrong on this issue and the list of opportunities to correct their behavior is long. Given Iran’s rebuff of rationality it would be reasonable to believe that Iran intends to exhaust the will of the free world to remain at peace. It leads one to believe that the EU providing opportunity after opportunity for Iran to comply may have left the Iranian government with the impression that the West does not have the will to confront them militarily. If I am correct on this, Iran will come to understand the hard way, as Hitler did, that building democratic consensus and maintaining civil restraint requires more will than instigating an all out war. If it comes to war, it will be a sad day for those who choose to side with fascists, believing the U.S. was alone and arrogant in its ardent defense of International law. History will read in favor of those who support laws that protect society, not those who bend or break it.
HUMINT: Although Tehran’s noncompliance with the agreements they signed is not technically a violation of the NPT,
APOLE: The key point is whether they have right according to the NPT to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes or not. If one takes attitude that they are simply not trustworthy and should not be allowed to have nuclear plants even if treaty allows it, then it means that treaty is not relevant and referring to it is not logical. Now, if there was some transfer of dual use technology which enabled Pakistani to have bomb then it is Pakistan which bigger threat. Also it is sort of strange if Iran were to help Pakistan have it, not having bomb itself. Usually the help goes from the more advanced to the less.
HUMINT: Pakistan provided Iran with equipment Pakistan used to make a bomb. Under article II of the NPT, Iran is not authorized to receive technology or equipment rendering it capable of producing a nuclear bomb. Tehran's intent to make a bomb is in question here, not its intent to make electricity. Tehran's intent is in question because Tehran has not been fully forthcoming about its nuclear program.
HUMINT: Tehran's nuclear program will remain suspect as a cover to develop an N-bomb until the government there fully opens its doors to international atomic inspectors. As is always the case, credibility is difficult to build and easy to lose. You've made this point by mentioning trustworthiness however I would disagree with anyone who asserts that the scope of the problem should be limited to nuclear trustworthiness. Iran's domestic and foreign policies are socially abhorrent! In my opinion it would be politically naïve to limit the scope of the debate to the nuclear issue alone. The nature of the dictatorship in Iran demands that the international community observe all that it does with a critical eye. The EU and U.S. have bent over backward to accommodate the young government of Iran but every opportunity extended to Tehran is answered with lies and threats of violence. If the self professed ideological wizards in Iran don’t start observing international protocol, Khomeini’s counter-progressive vision for an “Islamic empire without borders” will be aborted by force before it can quietly die the natural death that awaits it. I believe his vision is doomed as are his government’s nuclear negotiations primarily because official Iranian logic does not provide for compromise. The ability to compromise is a pre-requirement to earn back Iran’s credibility, solve this current impasse and pave the way toward regional stability.