President: Thank you, Mr. Al-Baradei. I now call upon the Iranian delegate to take his seat at the Council table and address this body.
Iranian Delegate: Thank you, Mr. President.
Mr. President, Members of the Security Council, Ladies and Gentlemen –
On this auspicious occasion my country stands needlessly accused of violating a set of imaginary obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The point has been made that Iran has pursued a clandestine nuclear program, obtained technology and materials on the black market, kept its nuclear activities hidden from the “International Community” and the IAEA. Lest there be no mistake about it, the term “International Community” really means the US and any government whose favor the US has managed to coerce, purchase or coax.
My government does not deny its lack of transparency in the pursuit of nuclear technology. Nor does my government believe that it has had since 1981 an obligation to pursue an open and overt program. The covert or clandestine pursuit of nuclear technology on the part of my government has been the direct consequence of the failure of the UN and International Community to live up to their obligations under the UN Charter and the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In 1981 the Israeli fighter planes bombed the French-built Osirak/Tammuz nuclear facility near Baghdad, which Israel suspected of developing nuclear weapons. Truth be told — Israel, which is not a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, is suspicious of everyone and everything – it prefers all to be armed with slings and stones while it reserves the right to bomb any place with its most sophisticated weapons.
During the Iran-Iraq War, which this organization did little to prevent or stop, the French-supplied Iraqi air force bombed repeatedly Iran’s nascent nuclear power site at Bushehr. A target with no military value, the International Community stood by and let Iraq commit one war atrocity after another. When asked what was the US interest in the Iran-Iraq War, Mr. Kissinger told the reporter from the CBS television program “60 Minutes” that the US interest would be served best if the two sides killed off each other.
Ladies and Gentlemen – at the time of the Osirak attack, the International Community applauded the smug Zionist conduct as a legitimate form of self–defense. My government concluded, however, when it ever came the time to embark on the development of nuclear technology, Iran should create multiple centers, underground, hidden from international scrutiny and in as a decentralized configuration as possible, located in population centers if necessary. Israel acted with impunity and the International Community acquiesced in that illegal action. This coupled with inaction on the part of the United Nations indicated to my government that necessity alone would dictate subterfuge and covert nuclear pursuit.
My government believes that the International Atomic Energy Agency is an intelligence gathering body and that its findings are often leaked to governments and press. The countless “anonymous” sources and numerous un-named Western diplomats provide the international press corps with internal memoranda and draft reports long before such matters should see the light of day. The practice that began with Mr. Bolton, who is seated at the Council’s table today, continues to this day – members of the US delegation to the IAEA leak documents to members of the international press, including reporters who write for The Boston Globe. It would be the height of folly for Iran to fling open its nuclear activity centers to IAEA personnel just to appease the self-righteous expectations of a bunch of people who prompt transparency as a device to spy on other countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen — The need for Iran to develop a robust nuclear technology was not born under the robes of the clerics who govern my country. Long before this specie ascended to the government of my country, the Shah of Iran, the Light of the Aryans, Friend of the West, the Mayor of the Island of Stability in a Sea of Turmoil, had planned already the basis of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure with the help of the International Community itself. No doubt, it made no sense then as it does not now for Iran to burn annually millions of barrels of oil in order to produce electricity when much greater economic gain could be obtained from the use of a barrel of oil in value-added processes. The kiss-ass French companies and German and American enterprises lined up to sell Iran reactors of every description. The various agreements with South Africa, Brazil and India were to provide for long-term supply of yellow cake and technological know-how.
It is wholly immaterial to any intelligent debate on the subject that Iran produces a lot of oil and gas and so it needs no nuclear power. The United States produces more oil and gas than Iran and yet the US president has stated repeatedly that nuclear power is an important part of the American quest for energy independence.
Ladies and Gentlemen — When the zealots took over the US Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 little did they know that one of the unattended consequences of their seemingly petulant behavior would be to alter the course of Iran’s nuclear development. In a predictably indignant fashion the US government decided to impose a series of sanctions against the Iranian government, which in time grew still larger in scope and deeper in reach.
So Iran went shopping at the Underground Mall. Once in the black market, nothing could have stopped the appeal of acquiring clandestine nuclear technology as well. Imagine how things would have been different today only if the US sanctions had not existed and the US and European firms were allowed to participate in Iran’s acquisition of nuclear technology. Instead, the US sanctions pushed a “make do” nation, Iran, to become a first class pain-in-the-ass “can do” nation on its own.
The covert or secretive pursuit of nuclear technology and materials by Iran therefore was the direct consequence of the American economic sanctions against Iran.
It is also a direct consequence of American economic sanctions that Iran has decided to produce its own fuel cycle. An International Community that is so prone to imposing economic sanctions cannot be trusted with my country’s fuel supply.
Ladies and Gentlemen – International law and relations – and under the regime of the UN Charter – self-defense takes many forms. In law often a per se violation of law is excused for reason of impossibility of performance, change of circumstances, higher legal compulsion, absence of harm, self-defense, reason or rationality itself and – most importantly in this case – necessity.
It was understandable and legally justifiable on grounds of necessity that my country should have pursued nuclear technology in the dark. That was necessary to ensure the safety and security of its otherwise legitimate and completely lawful quest under the NPT itself.
Ladies and Gentlemen – The question that preoccupies most of you is if my country has designs to develop nuclear weapons. Whether Iran does or does not is not anyone’s business, philosophically. Call it “strategic ambiguity,” as does Israel when it is asked to verify if it has nuclear weapons.
My country lost hundreds of thousands of its people to Saddam Hussein’s war-machine, which was aided and abetted by the Americans, French and other governments. That carnage shall not repeat. It will be a dereliction of duty on the part of any Iranian government – clerical or not – not to promote every means at its disposal to secure Iranian life, political independence and territorial integrity.
If Iran has failed outright to be open and on the level with the IAEA is only because the UN and International Community have failed to do their part to promote peace and security of the Member States in regional conflicts and equally to protect the weaker Member States in the face of the arrogance of power that is often peddled as “the will of the International Community.”
In an international state of near-lawlessness, Mr. President, self-defense by any means – even the clandestine development of nuclear weapons – is no sin.
I am instructed by my government to inform the Council hereby and presently that a few hours ago Iran submitted its notice of withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Whether Iranian withdrawal from the NPT or its nuclear activities in general violate international law is not for this Council to decide. It is a legal question best left for adjudication before the International Court of Justice.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Guive Mirfendereski is VP and GC at Virtual Telemetry Corporation since 2004 and is the artisan doing business as Guy vanDeresk (trapworks.com). Born in Tehran in 1952, he is a graduate of Georgetown University's College of Arts and Sciences (BA), Tufts University's Fletcher School (PhD, MALD, MA) and Boston College Law School (JD). He is the author of A Diplomatic History of the Caspian Sea (2001) >>> Features in iranian.com