25-Sep-2005

Blackmail Pays

At least in this case it did.

Stating the facts briefly, we were against reporting Iran to the Security Council but we still voted in favour of a resolution which calls "on the IAEA board to consider reporting Iran - at an unspecified date - to the UN Security Council." (Italics mine).

The whole Iran issue is an issue because of one thing - Iran wants to generate its own nuclear fuel which is done by uranium enrichment. As it happens, the same enrichment technology can be used for further enriching uranium for the purpose of making nuclear weapons. Why does Iran want to do the enrichment itself instead of buying its nuclear fuel as others like India do? It says it cannot trust outside suppliers. They may be subject to American influence. Ring a bell? Yes, the exact same position India finds itself in - begging the US to lift sanctions so that it can beg the US, France, the UK - anyone - for fuel. True, we are under US sanctions because we developed nuclear weapons, but it is not difficult to imagine other reasons for the US imposing the same on a country like Iran. The US has enough sticks to beat everyone with.

The other aspect of the scam is that Iran is a signatory to the NPT but hid its enrichment program for 18 years. This is against the NPT. But this I suppose is a mere technicality. Many others went ahead and produced nuclear weapons - and no one can say they advertised the entire process. Like ourselves. India was wise - we did not sign the NPT and happily produced nuclear weapons. But we have to still beg for our civilian nuclear energy needs. Let's say that again: we did weapons, but cannot do civilian nuclear energy. Iran wants to do civilian nuclear energy but we oppose it fearing it may want to do weapons. Nice. Pakistan and Israel were also wise enough to do weapons first/simultaneously. North Korea, in its inimitable style, has become wise now all of a sudden. It has withdrawn from the NPT and says it now has nuclear weapons. Mind you, the NPT allows nuclear enrichment by members, the condition being that it has to be done under inspection by the IAEA.

Another interesting point is that it can now be taken as confirmed: Bye-bye little bird. Bird as in the Iran-Pak-India gas pipeline.

There will be many opinion pieces in our newspapers appreciating the trade-off between principles and pragmatism. But we will still be left wondering why not even the African countries supported our bid for a Security Council seat. We simply don't deserve it!

Update: The Hindu is the only one commenting on this today. Here are some excerpts:

... This Bush-led resolution is unjust as well as provocative ... Iran and the IAEA have resolved most of the issues in dispute; in fact, the IAEA Director General reported to the Board as recently as September 2 that "good progress has been made in Iran's correction of the breaches and in the Agency's ability to confirm certain aspects of Iran's current declarations." ... It is possible that it is designed to short-circuit the prospect of a negotiated solution, and to push the world towards another major confrontation.
...
It's a bit rich that India — which has refused to join the NPT, has turned its back on accepting full-scope IAEA safeguards, has conducted six nuclear explosions (in 1974 and 1998), and is a declared nuclear weapons state — is able to join in a `proliferation' indictment of Iran. This means embracing the worst kind of double standards.
...
At stake is not the danger of proliferation — nobody has produced any evidence that Iran is pursuing, or has ever pursued, a nuclear weapons programme — but the right of a sovereign country to develop peaceful nuclear power as a source of energy and engage in the nuclear fuel cycle. The NPT allows all parties to the international nuclear bargain to develop uranium enrichment facilities of the kind being built at Natanz, provided they are safeguarded. The U.S. and its allies want to rewrite the rules so that they will be able to control both the nuclear fuel cycle and the commerce around nuclear fuel and reactors. That is why the non-aligned group of countries has tended to stand with Iran on this issue.

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