G-8 Officials to Discuss Iran Nuke Tension
By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS
Associated Press Writer
Sept. 9, 2004
GENEVA (AP) -- With pressure building to curb Iran's nuclear program, disarmament officials from major nations began meetings Thursday that the United States says will focus on Tehran in the campaign to stop the spread of atomic weapons.
The Group of Eight session came as threats mount to haul Iran before the U.N. Security Council unless it renounces uranium enrichment, which the United States and other countries say will lead to nuclear weapons.
The discussions will give the officials a chance to sort out differences over the approach to next week's meeting of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, which could trigger action by the Security Council.
U.S. Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton was hosting the Geneva session with his counterparts from Russia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
The United States wants the IAEA to declare Iran in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a move that could lead to action by the 15-nation Security Council, which could impose sanctions. European countries have urged less precipitate action.
Secretary of State Colin Powell has demanded that Iran renounce uranium enrichment, which the United States regards as a step toward the development of nuclear weapons.
Highly enriched uranium can be used to make nuclear weapons. Iran insists it only is interested in nuclear power, which can be created with lower levels of enrichment.
The Geneva gathering is a follow-up to an agreement reached at the G-8 summit meeting in Sea Island, Ga., in June. U.S. officials said the meetings were being held about once a month in different locations.
The summit countries agreed to address proliferation problems and expand export controls worldwide, working "together to address the threat posed by" North Korea and Iran.
Developments on the Korean peninsula also make that region a prime topic for discussion at the Geneva meeting. The United States has been trying to negotiate an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
But North Korea has said that recent South Korean disclosures could lead to a "nuclear arms race" in Northeast Asia.
South Korea said last week that it conducted a secret uranium-enrichment experiment in 2000, and said Thursday that it extracted a tiny amount of plutonium in a nuclear experiment in 1982.
The U.S. ally acknowledged "differences" with the IAEA over its activities. The U.N. agency is charged with verifying compliance with the nonproliferation treaty, which permits only peaceful uses of the atom.
The problem is that the IRI's priorities do not suite the needs of the nation or the security of the world
September 9, 2004
The question of the Islamic Republic of Iran's apparent eighteen-year covert activity to acquire the full cycle of nuclear capability, albeit for "peaceful applications", is the most talked about urgent foreign policy dilemma on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the past few months, leading up to the upcoming September 13th International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board meeting, a slew of increasingly dogmatic statements have been issued by the functionaries of the Tehran regime.
To heighten the importance of a resolution to the "crisis" Israel has let it be known that she will not stand idle while a fundamentalist regime with the publicly stated goal of "annihilating" the Jewish state becomes a nuclear power, more so since it also has a ballistic missile delivery system to actuate its doomsday threat.
As it has become the custom of the IAEA, few weeks prior to every board meetings the details of its upcoming "confidential" reports are usually dribbled out by multiple unnamed sources with differing agendas. Based on those tidbits, one can surmise that last year's deal between the big three EU foreign ministers who traveled to Tehran and the Islamic regime has come to naught.
The crux of the Sa'dabad memorandum was for Tehran to immediately freeze and eventually forgo indigenous production activity of refining fissile material in lieu of Western equipment and technical assistance in the application of the civilian nuclear technology.
With the discovery of Islamic regime's ongoing domestic manufacturing of an advanced centrifuge than was admitted to, thanks to an opposition group's sleuthing and not the IAEA nor any Western intelligence agency's findings, the last nail was put into the coffin of the memorandum.
That is where things stand now; Tehran is bickering on the wording of the signed memorandum and is reinterpreting the definition of "is" and the troika is reminding Tehran of what it could gain by abiding it.
If the regime's past actions offer any clues to its future behavior, it is almost a certainty that in face of a united and resolute opposition, to buy time, it will back down. Just as it did after vehemently denying that it "will ever sign the additional protocol" to NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) it did so with a whimper. Therefore, the question is not whether the fundamentalist Islamic regime can be compelled to signs this, that or the other memorandum, treaty or amendment, the germane query is to what end.
If the aim were to change or modify regime's behavior through the signing of such legal instruments, clearly it has been an exercise in futility. And if delaying the imposition of a fundamental change to the equation is the goal, it might soon be a penny short and a day late.
The fundamentalist regime's lobbyists and some others try to formulate the equation in a way that any plausible answer except their desired one seems moot. They claim that the majority of Iranians of all political persuasions crave a nuclear armed Iran, if for no other reason than for nationalistic pride, therefore, any regime in Iran would pursue this national mandate.
This assertion is made in light of the fact that conducting any unauthorized public opinion survey is a punishable crime in the Islamic Republic, a former regime loyalist and a hostage taker is currently languishing in jail for precisely such "crime", ergo, any substantiating survey is tainted by the virtue of being a regime approved and messaged data.
It is further opined that any and all attempts to curb the "research for peaceful purposes" activities of the Islamic regime would force it to pull out of the NPT and do as the North Koreans did. This too is disingenuous for myriad of reasons, least of which being that the Islamic Republic needs every dime of its export earnings to pay for its rent-a-supporters who have long lost the ideological zeal to defend it without pay.
Some also erroneously claim that to alleviate the current black and brownouts nuclear powered electric generation would be the cheapest method. Aside from the serious flaw in the cost analysis of nuclear vs. traditional methods, what they fail to take into account, as the survivors of the Bam earthquake of nine months ago can testify to it from th eir ramshackle tents, Iran is an earthquake prone country.
The idea of building such potentially catastrophic facilities should it leak after one of the many earthquakes, is just playing Russian Roulette with lives of not only the current generation of inhabitants of Iran and neighboring countries, but also forfeiting the future use of the effected areas and all their natural resources for years to come. Iran is blessed with abundance of oil, gas, wind, sun and fantastic brains to use them equitably for power generation.
The problem is that the current fundamentalist regime's priorities do not suite the needs of the nation or the security of the world. It is high time to forget the foolhardy dream of this regime being reformable in any of its many skins, be it hard line, pragmatic, pragmatic conservative, pragmatic fanatic or the dreamiest of them all, reformist. All the rest have been tried and failed miserably; it is time, high time, to try the best.
For the price of a few cruise missiles many indigenous democratic movements in Iran can be helped in their noble endeavor. This regime is loathed by the Iranians and by their capable hands it will be discarded. Outside help would expedite this eventuality much sooner than the often missing-the-boat inept Western intelligence agencies can ever fathom.