Joyner: IAEA Exceeds Its Mandate – Biased Because Of Israel
Daniel Joyner is Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law. In an Op-ed at Jurist Forum he writes on the recent IAEA report on Iran: Iran’s Nuclear Program and the Legal Mandate of the IAEA:
This report is legally problematic in a number of ways.Firstly and most fundamentally, the IAEA simply has no legal mandate to produce such a report on activities being carried on within an IAEA member state concerning items and technologies that may be related to the development of a nuclear explosive device, but that are not directly related to fissionable materials or associated facilities.
Since the IAEA is acting outside of its legal authority in this section of the report, it does not have a legal standard to apply to its conclusions regarding possible nuclear weapons related activities not involving fissile material. [...] In short, as the ancient legal maxim states, there can be no illegality where there is no law. The IAEA is simply “concerned.”
Why they are concerned is itself a matter of curiosity. There is no knowledge or technical ability related to nuclear weapons detailed in this report, and allegedly possessed by Iran, which other technologically advanced non-nuclear-weapon states like Japan or Germany do not possess. These are specialized bodies of knowledge and technical capabilities, to be sure, but they are well within the knowledge base and technical abilities of these advanced industrial states.
Since there is no evidence presented in this new report by the IAEA Director General that Iran has physically constructed a nuclear explosive device or any of its components, one can conclude that the Director General’s concern expressed in this report cannot be justified as being based upon a breach of a rule of international law prohibiting the activities outlined in the IAEA report. Such a rule exists neither in Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA, or in the NPT. Rather, the reason for the IAEA’s and the UN Security Council’s attention to Iran can only be based on other factors, primarily including the determination of the US and other states that Iran is a threat to Israel, the region and international peace and security generally.
[The IAEA's] track record in devoting so much critical attention to Iran over the past nine years, and not to other non-nuclear-weapon states who have for decades engaged in precisely the same production of knowledge and capabilities, through the same processes, has convinced both Iran and the other members of the Non-Aligned Movement (comprising the vast majority of states in the world) that the IAEA has thereby undermined its independence and objectivity as a technical monitoring and verification body. Instead, they believe, it has become a politicized instrument of the foreign policy goals of the US and other Western states. The agency’s overreaching in its new report is simply the most recent evidence of this fact.
With regard to “to other non-nuclear-weapon states who have for decades engaged in precisely the same production of knowledge and capabilities, through the same processes” Joyner mentions, let us just point to two of them (there are many more).
From the Wall Street Journal, October 28 2011: In Japan, Provocative Case for Staying Nuclear
Many of Japan’s political and intellectual leaders remain committed to nuclear power even as Japanese public opinion has turned sharply against it. One argument in favor rarely gets a public airing: Japan needs to maintain its technical ability to make nuclear bombs.
“I don’t think Japan needs to possess nuclear weapons, but it’s important to maintain our commercial reactors because it would allow us to produce a nuclear warhead in a short amount of time,” Shigeru Ishiba, a former defense minister, said in an interview in a recent edition of Sapio, a right-leaning twice-monthly magazine.”It’s a tacit nuclear deterrent,” added Mr. Ishiba, an influential parliament member who made similar remarks on a prime time television news show in August while serving as policy chief of Japan’s main opposition party.
This on Brazil from a HuffPo piece datelined September 25 2009: Jose Alencar, Brazil VP, Says Country Should Build Nuclear Arms
Jose Alencar, who also served as defense minister from 2004 to 2006, said in an interview with journalists from several Brazilian news media that his country does not have a program to develop nuclear weapons, but should: “We have to advance on that.”
Like Iran Brazil has not signed the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty plus it has several nuclear activities that awake at least suspicion with regards to possible nuclear weapon manufacturing including an HEU production facility for highly enriched Uranium at Resende that is only partially under IAEA watch. Brazil seems, in total, much more determined and active working towards nuclear weapon capability than Iran.
Joyner is quite right in pointing out that the IAEA is far off its legal basis and highly partisan with regards to Iran. He also caught the reason why this is so quite well.