Monday, November 18, 2013

  • Monday, November 18, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Salon has an article by Patrick L. Smith, called "Chomsky is Right," excoriating the New York Times for its use of scare quotes concerning Iran's "right" to enrich uranium:

Complex story, but we can take care of it simply. Iran wants a nuclear program, and this includes the capacity to enrich uranium. This is Iran’s right under international law. Washington and the major European powers do not want Iran to have such a program because they worry Iran will eventually build a nuclear weapon. The talks in Geneva went sour because the U.S. and the Europeans demanded that Iran surrender its right.

O.K. Here is the lead in the Times report from the City of Diplomacy:

The Iranian government’s insistence on formal recognition of its “right” to enrich uranium emerged as a major obstacle, diplomats said Sunday.

Two big problems. Nothing emerged as an obstacle in Geneva other than Secretary of State Kerry’s duplicity, given that his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, now charges him with misleading Iran as to demands to be made on the enrichment question. Iran has been quite clear all along: Enrichment under law will never get on the table. Zarif would have skipped the trip had he known Kerry’s plans; Kerry knew this.

Then the quotation marks. With them, the Times proposes to deprive Iran of its statutory rights so that Washington can lie to us as well as to the Iranians.
Smith, not quite satisfied that his proof by assertion is adequate to the task of convincing Salon's readers that Iran has the right to enrich uranium, decides to prove it BY USING ALL CAPS:

ONE: IRAN HAS AN UNAMBIGUOUS RIGHT UNDER LAW TO A NUCLEAR PROGRAM, INCLUDING ENRICHMENT, EVEN IF THIS MAKES IT (AS IT WILL) NEARLY CAPABLE OF WEAPONIZING. READ YOUR DAILY NEWS DOSAGE WITH THIS IN MIND.

TWO. THERE IS ZERO EVIDENCE THAT IRAN DESIRES A NUCLEAR WEAPON, AND DECADES OF POLICY TO INDICATE IT PREFERS A NUCLEAR-FREE MIDDLE EAST. THERE IS ONLY ONE REASON IRAN WOULD CHANGE ITS MIND: ISRAEL’S NEVER-MENTIONED ARSENAL OF NUKES. THE MOTIVE WOULD BE DETERRENCE, AND MOST OF US WORSHIPPED AT THE ALTAR OF DETERRENCE WELL ENOUGH DURING THE COLD WAR. IRAN HAS SIGNED THE NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY; ISRAEL DECLINES TO DO SO.
Well, he's really emphatic about it, so it must be true!

So what does international law say about the right to enrich uranium?

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty says
Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.
Very simply, this means that if a country can get properly enriched fuel for their peaceful nuclear program without enriching it themselves, they don't have the "right" to enrich it. It doesn't mean that they are necessarily barred from doing so, but it is clearly not a "right."

Given that the entire purpose of the NPT is to limit the possibility of nuclear weapons development, and in Iran's case there is a serious concern that enrichment would lead to nuclear weapons, it is even clearer that there is no such "right" to enrich uranium. South Africa, Spain and Mexico each have peaceful nuclear programs without domestic enrichment programs.

That's the plain English interpretation of the NPT. It isn't too difficult to figure out.

As far as Smith's second emphasized statement, it doesn't quite explain why Iran is developing missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. But even without that, in Smith's short screed, he admits that Iran might want to create nuclear weapons to "deter" Israel, as if Israel has been threatening Iran with nuclear weapons. Which means that he admits that Iran may want to build a nuclear weapon!

Sorry, I meant to say PATRICK L. SMITH ADMITS THAT IRAN MAY WANT TO BUILD A NUCLEAR WEAPON!




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