Saturday, September 26, 2009

Iran's nuclear plant admission brings sanctions showdown nearer.

Obama, Brown and Sarkosy have revealed that they have discovered a secret facility in Iran for the enrichment of uranium which they claim adds suspicion to the charge that Ahmadinejad is pursuing a nuclear weapon.

Barack Obama said western intelligence agencies had known of the secret plant, – near the holy city of Qom, a seat of Shia learning – for more than two years. He called on Iran to allow UN inspectors to visit it, and to co-operate fully with scrutiny of its nuclear programme.

Standing alongside him, Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said the alternative would be tougher sanctions against the Islamic republic.

Moscow issued a separate statement describing the plant as a "violation" of UN security council decisions, and offering to support an investigation.

Iran, certainly from the behaviour of Ahmadinejad, appear nonplussed by this discovery, and Ahmadinejad has stated that the facility will be open for inspection by the United Nations.

He claimed the plant was legal and open for scrutiny. "We don't have any problems with inspections of the facility. We have no fears," Ahmadinejad said. He said the three western leaders would "regret this announcement", claiming it had been made to disrupt the Geneva talks.

"They wanted to set up a sort of media game, take the stage to sort of set up the upper hand. This is not nice," he said.

And Ahmadinejad continues to insist that his country's Fatwa against nuclear weapons still holds force. "We believe that nuclear weapons are against humanity," he said. "This bomb belongs to the last century."

Obama is on stronger ground here than Bush ever was.

By agreeing to reduce the US's nuclear arsenal, and by getting Brown to promise to reduce the number of British nuclear submarines, Obama has complied with the NNPT in a way which Bush did not. Bush was exploring new bunker busting nuclear weapons whilst condemning Iran for simply enriching uranium, which is it's right under the NNPT. So, Bush was engaged in blatant hypocrisy. Obama is not.

Obama is now insisting that Iran must submit it's facilities to inspections, something which Ahmadinejad is saying that he is more than willing to do.

Obama said yesterday: "This site deepens a growing concern that Iran is refusing to live up to those international responsibilities, including specifically revealing all nuclear-related activities."

Sarkozy said the world would not be drawn into prolonged talks while the centrifuge "motors are running". He said: "If by December there is not an in-depth change by the Iranian leaders, sanctions will have to be taken."

Brown said Iran was guilty of "serial deception" and it was time for the international community to draw a line in the sand. "On 1 October, Iran must engage with the international community and join the international community as a partner," Brown said. "If it does not do so, it will be further isolated."

But Ahmadinejad is still insisting that he was playing within the rules:

He justified Iran's apparent concealment of the plant by saying there were no international requirements to declare any nuclear facility until 180 days before fissile material was introduced into it.

There was a flat denial of the claims - by US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown - that the plant was a secret facility.

"If it was, why would we have informed the IAEA about it a year ahead of time?" Mr Ahmadinejad was reported as saying.

The only way this could ever prove problematic would be if Iran refuses to allow UN inspectors to do their jobs. Or if the west insisted on pursuing Sarkosy's point, that the centrifuges must stop turning. After all, Obama made clear the other day that he has no problem with Iran pursuing nuclear energy in line with it rights under the NNPT. They should not have to turn off their centrifuges in order to prove that, we should be able to ascertain that simply by inspections.

And, if Obama is telling the truth, and western intelligence has known about this facility for more than two years, there is more than a hint of seeking to recreate the Adlai Stevenson moment to all this dramatic revelation. It strikes me as slightly overdone. The very fact that we waited until the UN had assembled together almost all the world's leaders to reveal that we know of this facility screams of theatricality.

It's all so unnecessary because, unlike his predecessor, Obama is using the United Nations in the way it was intended to be used. Ahmadinejad has the right to enrich uranium, and we have the right to inspect what he is doing to make sure that he is not pursuing a bomb. And, again differing from his predecessor, Obama is also complying with the letter and the spirit of the NNPT.

So there is no need for this amount of drama. We want to inspect Iran's nuclear facilities and Ahmadinejad says that he is prepared to allow us to do so. He either will or he won't. We'll have our answer soon enough.


Listen to this steaming pile of pooh from Lieberman, Bayh, and Kyl - supporters of the Iraq war one and all:.
For years, Iran has cheated and lied to the world about its nuclear activities and its nuclear ambitions. Just last week, a secret IAEA report was leaked, describing Iran’s covert nuclear weapons work. Now it has been caught red-handed once again.
That is simply blatantly false. Even The NYT who broke the story didn't make that claim:
On Tuesday evening in New York, top officials of the world nuclear watchdog agency approached two of President Obama’s senior advisers to deliver the news: Iran had just sent a cryptic letter describing a small “pilot” nuclear facility that the country had never before declared.
In other words, they were declaring it in that letter. The claim that someone sending the IAEA a letter - informing them of a facility which they are building - is the same as that person "being caught red handed" is simply dishonest. They weren't "caught", they told the IAEA within the time frame in which they were obligated to tell them.

But Lieberman, Bayh, and Kyl don't stop there:
After today, the evidence all points to one inescapable conclusion: Iran is determined to acquire nuclear weapons.
What evidence do these three lunatics think points to some "inescapable conclusion"? There isn't any evidence as the facility not only hasn't been inspected yet, it's not yet even fully operational.

It's nice to see that they've learned from the mistakes they made prior to the Iraq war and that they are letting the evidence lead them rather than jumping to conclusions.


After the last Iranian election these same people cheered on the protesters, pretending that they had the best interests of ordinary Iranian people at heart. Glenn Greenwald points out how very quickly their concern for ordinary Iranians has vanished:
In the absence of what they call "immediate" compliance, the Senators call for "crippling new sanctions against Iran." In The Washington Post today, AIPAC's most trusted House member -- Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D) -- similarly recommends sanctions that would "cause the Iranian banking system to collapse" and impose other severe economic hardships. [Emphasis mine] So much for all of that oh-so-moving, profound, green-wearing concern for the welfare of The Iranian People. Time to bomb them or, at best, starve them until their government complies with our dictates.
If Lieberman, Bayh, and Kyl wanted to unite the Iranian people behind Ahmadinejad's regime, they couldn't have come up with a better way to do it than this. After 9-11, everyone in the US rallied behind Bush because he was the president and they couldn't afford not to at a time when the nation was being attacked. Do Lieberman, Bayh, and Kyl not think that the Iranians would do exactly the same if they percieve that their country is under siege?

Click title for full article.

No comments: