This pointed commentary, dated Sept. 25 and addressed to a New York Times reporter by a contributor to the Swiss web site, reveals the emptiness of the non-existent Iranian "violations" of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which the U.S. and Israel are bent upon making into a casus belli....

By 'Iconoclast'
September 25, 2005

I appreciate your careful reporting on the on-going saga of Iran's alleged NPT violations (Mark Landler, Nuclear Agency Votes to Report Iran to U.N. Security Council for Treaty Violations, NYT, September 25, 2005). Yet, in light of my own understanding of the facts surrounding the NPT's genesis at and around the UN's Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament, I am surprised at the now recurring but persistently ill-focused and ill-informed NPT debate (cf: Swiss Representative's statement at Non-Nuclear Weapon States Conference of August 1968: I can't help wondering what the fuss is really all about. And to those genuinely concerned with the very real security and political issues involved, I wish them the time, intellectual honesty and clear-sightedness to raise the debate beyond the currently dominating flat-earth visions!

I note the IAEA Board's Resolution of September 24, 2005 ( to be essentially based on the publicly released list of failures contained in the Board's Report GOV/2003/75 (

"47. Based on all information currently available to the Agency, it is clear that Iran has failed in a number of instances over an extended period of time to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material and its processing and use, as well as the declaration of facilities where such material has been processed and stored."

However, as a fin connaisseur of the NPT genesis, you may remember and it may be helpful to recall now the then-U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk's famous and disarmingly assuring NPT definition, as published in "Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons", Senate Executive Report No 91-1, Washington 3/6/69, p.3:

"The treaty deals only with what is prohibited, not with what is permitted."

An equally instructive authentic interpretation can be found in the Memorandum furnished by the then-U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (now: Energy Department) to the Committee "Relationship of Non-Proliferation Treaty to Atomic Energy Act Provision regarding Military Cooperation with Allies", as reproduced in: Military Implications of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Hearings before the Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Washington, 2/27/69, p.141:

"The NPT prohibits . . . transferring complete nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices to any recipient ..."

On this background, it seems important to note that the key NPT articles II and III entail IAEA safeguards obligations only if the nuclear material, technology, or equipment is intended and declared to be for peaceful purposes. Clearly, none of these obligations apply at all for non-peaceful, i.e. military purposes! And under the Heading "NON-APPLICATION OF SAFEGUARDS TO NUCLEAR MATERIAL TO BE USED IN NON-PEACEFUL ACTIVITIES," Iran's IAEA Safeguards Agreement (Infcirc 214: thus quite naturally -- and explicitly at that -- provides for the termination of IAEA safeguards if correspondingly safeguarded material or equipment is to be used for non-explosive military purposes:

"Article 14 -- If the Government of Iran intends to exercise its discretion to use nuclear material which is required to be safeguarded under this Agreement in a nuclear activity which does not require the application of safeguards under this Agreement, the following procedures shall apply:

"(a) The Government of Iran shall inform the Agency of the activity, making it clear:

"(i) That the use of the nuclear material in a non-proscribed military activity will not be in conflict with an undertaking the Government of Iran may have given and in respect of which Agency safeguards apply, that the material will be used only in a peaceful nuclear activity; and

"(ii) That during the period of non-application of safeguards the nuclear material will not be used for the production of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;

"(b) The Government of Iran and the Agency shall make an arrangement so that, only while the nuclear material is in such an activity, the safeguards provided for in this Agreement will not be applied. The arrangement shall identify, to the extent possible, the period or circumstances during which safeguards will not be applied. In any event, the safeguards provided for in this Agreement shall apply again as soon as the nuclear material is reintroduced into a peaceful nuclear activity. The Agency shall be kept informed of the total quantity and composition of such unsafeguarded material in Iran and of any export of such material; and

"(c) Each arrangement shall be made in agreement with the Agency. Such agreement shall be given as promptly as possible and shall relate only to such matters as, inter alia, temporal and procedural provisions and reporting arrangements, but shall not involve any approval or classified knowledge of the military activity or relate to the use of the nuclear material therein."

Thus, I have difficulty pin-pointing which of Iran's commitments under the NPT have indeed not been complied with -- by whom and on a level comparable to less-reported or purposely overlooked and under- or non-reported socalled violations of "obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty" by either other NPT member states or even the Agency itself. For I have no publicly available information ruling out a -- totally legitimate and legal -- non-reported military-purpose nuclear fuel program (e.g. for a nuclear submarine) for which reason Iran, in fact and in law, might have proceeded strictly in line with its NPT obligations and in accordance with the above-quoted art.14 of its NPT Safeguards Agreement, i.e. in total agreement with all related NPT commitments as originally intended, written down, signed and sealed.

Or do you have such information, which might justify all the excitement, finger-pointing, and lack of calm and serenity which has been observed in Vienna and elsewhere? In the event, I'd appreciate your handing me a candle to illuminate the matter! Thanks in advance.


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P.S.: you may be interested in some old -- and forgotten, and by now apparently politically incorrect -- arguments which dominated the NPT debate at the time of its genesis. (