This quite astonishing conclusion is drawn by someone who really ought to know better: Richard Dalton, a former ambassador to Iran. The article is co-authored by:
five other former ambassadors to Iran: Paul von Maltzahn (Germany), Steen Hohwü-Christensen (Sweden), Guillaume Metten (Belgium), François Nicoullaud (France) and Roberto Toscano (Italy)
I am working on the assumption that they might all very well have “gone native” and adopted their host country’s official policy.
As ambassadors to Iran during the past decade, we have all followed closely the development of this crisis. It is unacceptable that the talks have been deadlocked for such a long time.
The Arab world and the Middle East are entering a new epoch in which no country is immune from change. The Islamic Republic of Iran faces the disaffection of a significant part of its population, and this period of uncertainty offers opportunities to reconsider the west’s established position on the nuclear question.
The only reconsideration on the part of the West should be if they are reacting swiftly enough to the threat emanating from Iran. The West needs to remember that Iran’s nukes are not aimed solely, or even initially at Israel. The West is Iran’s final target, Israel is just a bonus.
In terms of international law, the position of Europe and the United States may be less assured than is generally believed. Basically, it is embodied in a set of security council resolutions authorising coercive measures in case of “threats to the peace”.
This makes no sense. Already back in 2009 the IAEA under the Iran-friendly el-Baradei declared that Iran had broken the law, albeit for “only” not declaring its nuclear development sites. Nothing that Iran has done since has caused the IAEA to change its mind.
But what constitutes the threat? Is it the enrichment of uranium in Iranian centrifuges? This is certainly a sensitive activity, in a highly sensitive region. The international community’s concerns are legitimate and Iran has a moral duty to answer them. In principle, however, nothing in international law or in the non-proliferation treaty forbids uranium enrichment. Several other countries, parties or not to the treaty, enrich uranium without being accused of “threatening the peace”. And in Iran, this activity is submitted to inspections by the IAEA inspections. These inspections, it’s true, are albeit constrained by an agreement on safeguards dating from the 70s. But the IAEA has never uncovered any attempted diversion of nuclear material to military use.
This is arrant nonsense. The fact that other countries enrich uranium without being accused of threatening the peace is irrelevant. Other countries have not threatened to wipe other countries off the map. Other countries do not sponsor proxy terror groups to fight their wars many thousands of miles away. And most importantly, other countries are not under sanctions for not disclosing their nuclear activities under the NPT, to which Iran is a signatory.
So is Iran attempting to build a nuclear weapon? For at least three years, the US intelligence community has discounted this hypothesis. The US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, testified last February to Congress: “We continue to assess [whether] Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons … We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”
This opinion is simply staggering for its complete denial of reality (a Guardian staple) since the IAEA published a detailed 9-page report just one month ago (h/t Challah hu Akbar). Go straight to the end of page 6 and continue on to page 7 of the report. There you will see, black on white, the “Possible Military Dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program. What possible use could the following have, other than military uses?
Neutron generator and associated diagnostics: experiments involving the explosive compression of uranium deuteride to produce a short burst of neutrons.
Uranium conversion and metallurgy: producing uranium metal from fluoride compounds and its manufacture into components relevant to a nuclear device.
High explosives manufacture and testing: developing, manufacturing and testing of explosive components suitable for the initiation of high explosives in a converging spherical geometry.
Exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonator studies, particularly involving applications necessitating high simultaneity: possible nuclear significance of the use of EBW detonators.
Multipoint explosive initiation and hemispherical detonation studies involving highly instrumented experiments:
High voltage firing equipment and instrumentation for explosives testing over long distances and possibly underground: conducting tests to confirm that high voltage firing equipment is suitable for
the reliable firing of EBW detonators over long distances.
Missile re-entry vehicle redesign activities for a new payload assessed as being nuclear in nature: conducting design work and modelling studies involving the removal of the conventional high explosive payload from the warhead of the Shahab-3 missile and replacing it with a spherical nuclear payload.
Read the whole report, embedded here:
In the case of this article, when I use the word “delusional” I mean it with all the clinical and political connotations that it could possibly possess.
As if to magnifty the stupidity of the Guardian article, in recent days we have heard more of Iran’s peaceful intentions, with the report that Iran plans to triple its production of uranium. And right at the end, in a throw-away line, is the revealing comment:
The Islamic republic is under four sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
So much for not breaking international law.
Mind boggling, isn’t it?