Another Coalition of the Willing?
At last week's Conference on Disarmament, Stephen Rademaker, acting
assistant secretary, international security and nonproliferation,
submitted a draft Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) that would be
acceptable to the Bush-Cheney administration.
In September 1993, President Bill Clinton had called for a
"multilateral" convention banning the production of
"fissile materials" for use in nuclear weapons, and in March
1995 the Conference on Disarmament established a committee to begin
drafting such a treaty.
Then, the 2000 Review Conference of the Treaty on Nonproliferation of
Nuclear Weapons (NPT) approved an "action agenda" for
"systematic and progressive efforts" to implement disarmament
requirements of Article VI of the NPT.
Although supported by Clinton, two action steps on that agenda - early
entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and
negotiation of a multilateral and internationally and "effectively
verifiable" FMCT - have not been supported by his successor.
In fact, Secretary of State Condi Rice declined to even address the 2005
NPT Review Conference and prevented the final report of the 2000 NPT
Review Conference from even being mentioned - especially the "13
steps" to nuke disarmament - much less endorsed.
Nevertheless, it was something of a surprise that Rademaker used his
introduction of the U.S.-supported FMCT draft to make the following
remarks to the Conference on Disarmament:
"On September 24th of last year, the Board of Governors of the
International Atomic Energy Agency adopted a resolution formally
determining that Iran was in noncompliance with its safeguards
obligations due to its 'many failures and breaches.'
"As a result of this finding by the IAEA Board, as well as a
separate finding by the Board in that same resolution that Iran's nuclear
program raises questions that are within the competence of the UN
Security Council as the organ bearing main responsibility for
international peace and security, Iran was formally reported to the
Security Council in February of this year.
"On March 29th, the Security Council, acting by consensus, adopted a
presidential statement calling on Iran to suspend its uranium
enrichment-related activities, cooperate fully with the IAEA's ongoing
investigations, and enter into good faith negotiations on measures to
restore international confidence in Iran's nuclear intentions.
"The United States expects the Security Council to fulfill its
responsibility under the UN Charter to address the threat to
international peace and security posed by Iran's illegal nuclear weapons
program, and it will be a defeat for effective multilateralism should the
Council fail to live up to this responsibility."
Now, Rademaker's remarks are outrageously misleading. Moreover, what has
the Iran-IAEA issue got to do with the FMCT?
In particular, since Bush launched his war of aggression against Iraq -
allegedly to destroy a nuclear program IAEA inspectors had been unable to
detect - Iran has been a principal advocate of the NPT, CTBT, and the
Well - according to Bush - the problem is that the NPT "has a
loophole which has been exploited by nations such as North Korea and
Iran. These regimes are allowed to produce nuclear material that can be
used to build bombs under the cover of civilian nuclear programs."
In fact, all NPT-signatories not already having nukes - such as Iran -
are required to enter into a Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA for the
"exclusive purpose" of verifying to other NPT-signatories that
no "source or special nuclear materials" are used in
furtherance of any military purpose.
As best the IAEA could determine, up and until the time North Korea
withdrew from the NPT, no NPT-proscribed materials had been so used.
And, as best the IAEA can determine, no Iranian NPT-proscribed material
has ever been so used.
Contrary to Rademaker, according to IAEA Director-General Mohamed
ElBaradei, Iran is in complete compliance with its safeguards agreement.
Furthermore, the FMCT - even as drafted by Bush - is intended to prevent
countries that are outside the NPT (such as India, Pakistan, Israel and
North Korea) from producing any more fissile material for use in nuclear
No wonder Iran's delegate to the Disarmament Conference - Hamid Eslamizad
- noted that Rademaker's call for "effective multilateralism"
by signatories to the FMCT to deal with "the threat to international
peace and security posed by Iran's illegal nuclear weapons program,"
which the Security Council has so far declined to so characterize, is
strikingly similar to Bush's appeal back in 2003 for effective
multilateralism "by a coalition of the willing" to deal with
what Bush claimed was the threat to international peace and security
posed by Iraq's (nonexistent) nuclear weapons program.
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