How I learned to love the NPT

With the main stream media maligning Iran and its nuclear program, a discussion of facts is desperately needed. Listening to any talking head on any major American news outlet, and you'll undoubtedly hear someone bemoaning, “Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.”[1][2] Noticeably absent from all these statements is “alleged.” and alleged is exactly what it is, but from the way the MSM presents it, we are left to conclude that Iran is but a few days from creating a Persian Gulf Godzilla.

Let’s start off with Iran’s obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty (NPT). Iran is to abide by “a safeguards agreement with the [international atomic energy agency (IAEA)], with a view to preventing diversion of 'source or special fissionable material' to the production of nuclear weapons. It is the IAEA's responsibility to make certain that materials are used in furtherance of any military purpose.”[3] Iran did fail to report the reemergence of its nuclear program to the IAEA, and only after it was brought to attention by an Iranian opposition group, did Iran acknowledge the program. Iran’s defense of this revolves around two points:

1. Iran maintains that all of its work and materials obtained has been for the sole purpose of producing nuclear energy, and outside of procedural reporting, has been in compliance with the “substantive obligation under the NPT.” [4] And more importantly…

2. A real concern over a united states pre-emptive action, whether through, “sanctions against those facilities, military, covert or otherwise.”[5]

Iran has never denied its violation of the safeguard agreements, and indeed made extraordinary effort to “build confidence” in its nuclear program's intentions. They even went as far as signing a voluntary additional protocol, to extend “transparency measures” and to temporarily suspend enrichment. Since that signing in February 2003, “the IAEA’s inspectors have been conducting over 2000 person-day of intrusive investigation into the nature and extent of Iran’s nuclear program.”[3].

For these measures that Iran voluntarily implemented while negotiations were in progress Iran was rewarded with a big fat “screw you.” minor concessions by the eu3 were offered, but the major sticking points for Iran: security guarantees, frozen assets released and sanctions lifted were all dismissed. [6] Essentially it boiled down to the eu3 telling Iran, “we don't mind you having a nuclear program, we just want you to buy the fuel from someone else, and in return we won't even stop the United States from threatening regime change on a daily basis. Now doesn't that sound good?” well, for some reason Iran didn't really care for that, and withdrew partially from the additional protocol, and began limited enrichment under the watch of the IAEA.

It should be noted once more that aside from Iran’s initial breach in procedural reporting, it has been in compliance with the NPT. Under the NPT, which the United States recognizes and is a signatory, Iran has an “inalienable right” to nuclear power. We have to wonder what then, the bush administration means by, “it is obvious that if Iran cannot be brought to live up to its international obligations… Iran would have to be referred to the UN Security Council.”[7] What obligations are they talking about?

All suspensions of enrichment were from the outset a non-binding, voluntary process. Under the legal terms of the NPT, Iran is well within its rights.

According to article IV (1) of the NPT:

“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…”

furthermore, in article IV (2):

“all the parties to the treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.” [4]

Yet western powers, in particular the United States, have remained suspicious of Iran’s intentions even though Iran has remained within its clear legal rights under the NPT. in fact the United States has already made good of its threat, and strong armed the IAEA into referring Iran to the un security council. This despite the fact that the “IAEA have found no conclusive evidence to support allegations of a clandestine nuclear weapons program in Iran.” [4] by referring Iran, the IAEA has show itself willing to be manipulated, and is ultra vires under article xii(7)(c) of its own statute.[4] in response Iran, as it said it would if referred to the un, ceased to comply with the voluntary NPT additional protocol.

In February of 2006, under constant threat of attack, increased sanctions, and regime change from the United States and Israel, with no substantial concessions from the eu3, and the IAEA showing itself willing to be manipulated, Iran started up again a limited enrichment program. Today on august 26th, a new phase in a heavy water reactor was begun.

In both instances Iran has been accused of violating its obligations (implicit in this rhetoric is a material breach of the NPT, when in fact it is the additional protocols that are being referred to) by western powers. A second, and what seems to be a more comprehensive incentives package was sent to Iran in July. The fine details of which are not known. On august 22nd, Iran responded in length to these incentives, the details of which are also unknown.

Iran’s charge of un threats as illegal are not diversion tactics as portrayed in the west, but hold true under the slightest of scrutiny. The UN Security Council should not have even entertained the Iranian nuclear program agenda without proof from the IAEA, which in absence, was impossible to provide. What can be reasonably speculated is Iran will not be willing to suspend its enrichment program again; this of course being the key demand by the UN Security Council.

Iran, during its previous suspension lost years of research and received nothing to show for it. Iran has every reason to distrust the west. They know full well that should they accept importing nuclear fuel as a compromise, at anytime, for any reason, they can be cutoff, and left holding absolutely nothing. it may not take long for Iran to remove itself entirely from the NPT, as it has proved itself ineffective and unproductive; and I predict the united states will use that as a rallying cry as “proof” of the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Because, if they have nothing to hide, why would they withdraw? Right?

Visit Javod Khalaj's blog

1 Bill O'Reilly, “Baghdad Joe,”, Aug. 10, 2006
2 Phrased as “Iran's nuclear weapons pursuit.” Webmaster, “U.S. Blames Syria, Iran for Israel Soldiers Kidnapping,”, Jul. 12, 2006
3 Farhang Jahanpour, “The Politics Behind the Iranian 'Nuclear Threat',”, Jul. 04,2006
4 Daniel Joyner, “The Iran Nuclear Standoff: Legal Issues,”, Mar. 01, 2006
5 Interview of Ray Takeyh by Bernard Gwertzman, “Q&A: Iran's Nuclear Program,” New York Times, Sept. 06, 2005
6 Noam Chomsky, “A negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis is within reach,” Jun. 19, 2006
7 Gordon Prather, “March madness,”, Feb. 18, 2006

Meet Iranian Singles

Iranian Singles

Recipient Of The Serena Shim Award

Serena Shim Award
Meet your Persian Love Today!
Meet your Persian Love Today!