[home][about][contact] [getting involved] [Educational][Academic] [Media Watch][Views]
Iran's right to enrichment questioned again
It used to be that it was claimed that Iran had no right to enrich uranium, and anything that the NPT may have to say about it was just a "loophole" in the treaty that had to be closed. This was a hard sell since so many countries other than Iran vehemently defended the right to enrichment. So the US changed its tune, and claimed that actually recognized Iran's right to enrich uranium however was simply demanding that Iran "suspend" this right indefinitely until when the US and friends say that it can implement the right. No one was fooled by that in practice, of course, but nevertheless that was the official face-saving position.
So you gotta love it when some horse's ass goes back, and tries to make a legal argument that enrichment is not recognized as a right under the Non Proliferation Treaty. It is not only just an easily refutable argument from a legal standpoint, but it also betrays one of the real agendas of the Iran-hawks: to make an example out of Iran for other developing nations in the on-going effort to get them all to give up their rights under the NPT.
So let me explain: first, the author of this article, a Michael Makosky identified as a former "Pentagon official", says about Iran's right to enrichment: "The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) grants no such right." Why does he think so? Because he argues, 1- the right is not explicitly listed in the NPT, and 2- because Iran has supposedly not met its obligations under Article III (which requires countries to implement safeguards and allow inspections.)
Well as for the first count -- that the right is not explicitly written into the treaty -- is total nonsense. The Treaty speaks of nuclear technology in broad terms rather than specific ones, and there's no reason to assume that a particular type of nuclear technology which is absolutely necessary for a country to independently produce nuclear power is not included. The NPT is not just about non-proliferation, as the author claims. It is also very much about expanding nuclear technology worldwide, which is why there's even a provision in the NPT that obligated the recognized nuclear-armed states to provide nuclear technology and even information from their test explosiions to the other signatories.
Anyway, considering how many other nations have enrichment technology, then it is far too late in the day to proclaim that enrichment isn't part of the deal. Certainly, the other nations of the world don't think that enrichment was excluded, and theyv'e gone to extreme ends to make their voice on the matter clear, as I've written before. The Developing Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement have repeatedly gone on record defending Iran's right to enrichment. Even US allies such as Brazil and Turkey have explicitly recognized that right.
Then we come to the second argument, that Iran is not in compliance with other Articles of the NPt and therefore the "right to enrichment" does not apply to it. This is nonsense for many reasons, but for starters is simply shows a profound ignorance of the NPT. See, as Daniel Joyner has written, the right is simply not "conditional" on the other articles. But entirely apart from that, Iran hasn't violated Art III anyway -- it has "maintained" a safeguards agreement with the IAEA as Article III requires, and has allowed all the inspections that its safeguards agreement actually requires, whilst on several occasions going beyond them to allow inspections of places -- such as Parchin, twice in 2005 -- where the NPT does not pply and which falls outside of the IAEA's legal inspection authority (which is limited to only measureing nuclear material and sites where nuclear material is stored -- not ballistic missile facilities etc.) In fact, it is the demands placed on Iran which are themselves illegal and in violation of the NPT.
And that is why other informed international affairs experts have agreed that Iran's nuclear program is not in breach of international law.