Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Diplomatic Nuclear Doublespeak

Nothing bugs me more than the way in which the drums are being beaten for a war with Iran by both the media and politicians in America and Europe. It has become a kabuki production - openly admitting that attempts at negotiation are just window dressing. Here's the latest:

BERLIN (Reuters) - The EU's three biggest powers plan to offer Iran a light-water nuclear reactor as part of a package of incentives if Tehran agrees to freeze its uranium enrichment program, EU diplomats said on Tuesday.

They said they would be very surprised if Iran accepted -- but would take a rejection as confirmation that its nuclear program does not solely aim at generation for peaceful ends.
Oh yeah? It wouldn't prove anything of the kind. Iran has repeatedly stated that enriching its own fuel for power plants is a matter, not just of national pride, but of national security. How else could it reasonably be expected to act in an atmosphere where great powers who have threatened to use nukes on it are making such a sham of diplomatic discussion? I mean, this is just a ridiculous subterfuge - can you imagine the reaction in America if Bush announced that in future he would rely on China to provide all the nation's nuclear fuel?

One diplomat was particularly clear about the nature of the offer:
EU diplomats...made clear they saw little prospect that Iran would accept, and were aiming above all to demonstrate to skeptics such as Russia and China that the West was not trying to deprive Iran of civilian nuclear energy.

"No one believes that this reactor will be built, because Iran will say 'No'," an EU diplomat said, adding that a European reactor would be much more expensive for the Iranians than the $1 billion Russian plant currently under construction.
The amazing thing is that once this phony offer has been rejected, there will be a rush to yell exactly what it is being set up to "show" - that Iran isn't truthful about only wanting nuclear fuel for power. Right now, the Bush administration are being very grudging about the EU3's faux solution, suggesting it is "half a proposal" with no stick to the carrot - but you can bet they will be at the head of the queue to decry Iran's non-acceptance.

Iran is not being recalcitrant - it is simply asserting its rights under the NPT. It has been consistent in asserting those rights and for a time, until the two-faced nature of Western policy was exposed fully, went even further and voluntarily complied with a set of additional safeguards that were never legally binding. That's more than can be said for India, who likewise hid its nuclear program for decades and is now to gain huge access to US nuclear technology even though it really does have nuclear weapons. It is more than America does too - IAEA inspectors are not allowed access to a single American nuclear facility!

Dr. Gordon Prather, who was Reagan's go-to guy on matters of nuclear proliferation, is amazed too. He asks whether the media are dolts or liars - as they must be one or the other to keep so strictly to the official line. Despite all you have read, says Dr. Prather, the truth is that:
ElBaradei has made yet another report to the IAEA Board – and forwarded a copy to the UNSC – that he can find no undeclared proscribed materials in Iran and no indication that any such materials have ever been used in furtherance of any military purpose.
In another article he says that you can judge for yourself, as the confidential report that neocon hacks therefore thought they were safe in misquoting has now been made available online. And here it is.

For me at least, the obvious course is to back off from illegal calls for Iran to stop doing what it has every right to do - which would allow Iran to complete its power program within the legal framework of the NPT as well as enabling the reintroduction of Iran's voluntary extra protocols - and let the IAEA do its job! I don't expect that to happen.