Yesterday, while taping a discussion of the latest round of P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran on Russia Today’s CrossTalk that was broadcast today (see here or, on You Tube, here), Flynt said, “I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not particularly optimistic about a deal being reached this week. I don’t think that there’s been a lot of progress on the issues that kept agreement from being reached the last time the parties convened in Geneva:
–There’s the issue of Iran’s nuclear rights, and how they get acknowledged or not acknowledged in an interim agreement.
–There is disagreement about how to handle, during an interim deal, this heavy water reactor facility at Arak which the Iranians are building.
–There are still disagreements about the disposition of Iran’s stockpile of near-20 percent enriched uranium.
I don’t really see much sign that either the United States or the French are backing down from some of the positions they took on those issues ten days ago—and if there’s not some give on that, I don’t know how the Iranians will be in a position to accept the P5+1 proposal.”
On the positions that the United States and France took on these issues in the November 7-9 Geneva talks, Flynt recounts,
“Going into the last round at Geneva, I think the Iranians anticipated getting a draft from the P5+1 where they had clearly worked out understandings about how some of these contentious issues—about Arak, about the 20 percent stockpile, about some acknowledgement of Iran’s nuclear rights; the Iranians had expectations from their previous discussions about the kind of proposal they were going to see. And, basically, the United States and France reneged on those understandings. And so the draft proposal that went in front of Iran was different from what Foreign Minister Zarif and his team were expecting to see, and they weren’t in a position to accept that.
Unless the P5+1—in particular, the United States and France—are willing to stick to understandings that the Iranians thought they had reached, at least verbally, on some of these issues, I don’t think that the Iranians are going to feel, either in terms of substance or in terms of the atmosphere of trust, they’re not going to feel comfortable with going ahead with an agreement.”
Currently, the most fundamental sticking point in Geneva is—as we have long anticipated—the Obama administration’s refusal to recognize Iran’s clear legal right to enrich uranium under safeguards and to acknowledge that the Islamic Republic will have to be treated like any other NPT party. As we’ve written before, see here, Iran and all other states have a sovereign right to pursue indigenous fuel cycle capabilities—a right recognized in Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as an “inalienable right,” which non-nuclear-weapon states pledge to exercise in line with Article II (where non-weapons states commit not to build or obtain nuclear weapons) and Article III (where states commit to conducting their nuclear activities under safeguards to be negotiated with the International Atomic Energy Agency).
As Flynt explains, the Obama administration—like the George W. Bush administration before it—resists recognizing this legal reality:
“There are basically four countries in the world that try to deny that the NPT recognizes the right of a non-nuclear weapon state like Iran to enrich uranium under safeguards. Those four countries are the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Israel, which isn’t even a signatory to the NPT. Those are the only four countries that take this position. The rest of the world—the BRICS, the Non-Aligned Movement, key U.S. allies like Germany and Japan—have held consistently that the Treaty recognizes a right to enrich. And what is so perverse is that…when the U.S. and the Soviet Union first opened the NPT for signature in 1968, senior U.S. officials testified to Congress that the NPT recognized a right to safeguarded enrichment. That was the position of the United States until the end of the Cold War—and then we decided to try to unilaterally rewrite the Treaty because we didn’t want non-Western countries getting fuel cycle capabilities.”
We’ll see if the Obama administration can do any better this weekend.
On Thursday, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, said that his country plans to compete for one of the non-permanent seats on the Security Council for 2019-20. According to Prosor, Israel is trying hard to win this. “It should have happened a long time ago,” he claimed.
To win a seat in the Security Council, Israel must win a two-thirds majority in the UN General Assembly, which has 193 members. The five regional groups nominate the candidates, but they are elected by the General Assembly.
Prosor said that Israel would compete against Germany and Belgium for the two seats reserved for Western European and other countries. Israel should be in the group with Asian and Pacific Ocean countries, along with the other countries in the Middle East, but Muslim-majority countries prevented its inclusion. In 2000, Israel agreed to join the West European and other countries group temporarily. The group includes the United States and in 2004 Israel’s membership was made permanent.
UN diplomats said that it will not be easy for Israel to win the seat as most of the UN member states are part of the Non-Aligned Movement and are either lukewarm or openly hostile towards it.
By Dr. Paul Larudee | January 8, 2013
Amazing stuff, India ink. A few drops spread vigorously with a roller for several minutes on an iron plate are enough for eight sets of fingerprints and two sets of hand prints on four ancient double-sided and folded Indian police fingerprint forms. By contrast, the mug shot was taken with a digital camera. After that, I was issued an official deportation order, for which I signed to acknowledge receipt. My passport remained in police custody until I got to the security check at the airport, when it was returned to me.
My crime? I had spoken to an audience of 22,000 youth at a Student Islamic Organization conference in Kerala State without having a visa that authorized public speaking or conference participation. India is perhaps the only “democracy” where free speech for foreigners depends upon the visa they are carrying. In fact, it is probably the only such country that has no visit visa category at all, and which has one of the most convoluted, bureaucratic and invasive visa application procedures this side of North Korea.
Not that the visa restrictions are always enforced. However, the myriad regulations and procedures (“for public protection”) permit the security apparatus to control individuals and events at their discretion without having to cite the true reasons for their enforcement. Every effective police state knows the drill.
In my case, I used a tourist visa, because the conference visa is a truly onerous procedure unless it is a state-sponsored event. In fact, that is the only type of conference participation permitted, because even private groups must seek state sponsorship in order to bring speakers from outside. In today’s India, however, state sponsorship is hardly a routine bureaucratic procedure.
It shouldn’t have been this way. India was supposed to have been the model for tolerant multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, multi-confessional societies. And when India was a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, carefully balancing its relationships among great and small powers and supporting those who might otherwise be a mere pawn in world affairs, this promise seemed plausible.
Regrettably, India has now become a home-grown Raj, choosing sides and fomenting discord between competing interests as a means of governing and controlling, in the best traditions of its colonial past. Thus, for example, conservative Salafist clerics are welcome when they attend conferences on tourist visas, while human rights speakers like David Barsamian, John Esposito, Yvonne Ridley, Wilhelm Langthaler and myself are unwelcome, and are denied visas or expelled, and/or their hosts are prosecuted.
The Salafist treatment is part of a Machiavellian formula hatched by India with its newest partner, Israel. Salafists deserve free speech as much as anyone, but the reason India accords more of it to them is on the advice of Israel. Israel promotes Islamophobia as part of its strategy of demonizing Palestinians and Arabs, a majority of whom are Muslims, and the Salafist brand of Islam fits Israel’s agenda of portraying Islam as an extremist ideology. This stokes the flames of the more extreme nationalist Hindu groups in India and plays on the fears of many other non-Muslim groups, as well. Since Pakistan is an external Muslim enemy, such demonization helps to unify non-Muslim India and permit popular tolerance of greater government control as well as encroachment of security forces on civil rights and privacy.
In fact, India has its own version of the U.S. Patriot Act, curbing the rights of its people. It is called the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), and while the title is more honest than “Patriot”, it is also a bit scary. It implies that people can be snatched from the edge of a sidewalk on the pretext that they were intent on jaywalking. No need for the infraction to happen first.[i] UAPA is an illustration of the degree to which human rights have been marginalized in the land of M.K. Gandhi and Abdulghaffar Khan.
Not that India doesn’t have real security concerns. Communal strife is as old as India itself and has sometimes risen to the level of genocide, which drove the 1947 Pakistan secession. However, it is one thing to use law enforcement to prevent fighting and quite another to use it to drive a wedge between communities with a view towards playing them off against each other.
A case in point is the role that Israel is playing. The self-proclaimed Jewish state is selling itself to India as a worthwhile ally on the basis that it is a) an experienced and effective leader in the fight against Islamist extremism and terrorism, b) a supplier of high-tech weapons and intelligence, and c) a means of access to U.S. support and cooperation. In effect, Israel is saying that both states have common friends and enemies and that Israel is in a position to provide what India needs.
India appears to be buying, and is currently the largest customer for Israeli military arms systems and services. Never mind that the expensive Iron Dome systems are effective less than 50% of the time against rockets from Gaza that use 16th century technology. Like most governments, India has been seduced by the promise of omniscient surveillance systems and the prospect of winning battles rather than preventing them.
This is obviously a devil’s bargain. True to the nature of such contracts, however, are the surprises that await the unwary. It is instructive to remember that Israeli agents once planted bombs in Baghdad synagogues to encourage Iraq’s Jews to emigrate to Israel. (It worked, and encouraged Iraqi thugs toward violence, as well.)
Since then, Israel has stolen nuclear weapon technology and weapons grade fissionable material from the U.S., conducted the most massive spying operation in U.S. history against its “ally”, and staged numerous assassinations and “black ops” actions outside its borders, including friendly countries. Questions currently surround the killing of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria and the putative assassination attempt on Israeli diplomats in India. Israel blamed both of these on Iran on the basis of flimsy evidence, possibly fabricated in collaboration with its allies, the violent Mujahedin-e-Khalq Iranian exile group.
India would do well to be more circumspect toward friends like this. Vilifying Iran is high on Israel’s current agenda, and Israel reportedly provided “evidence” and pushed the Indian government to prosecute the case. The result was the arrest of journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmed Kazmi, who anchors a news program on West Asia providing alternative views of events in the region. His open advocacy of better relations with Iran and his Iranian contacts were enough make him an Israeli target and an Indian suspect. After seven months of incarceration, however, the Indian government had to release him for lack of evidence.
Kazmi and I shared the podium at the SIO conference in Kerala and I was able to chat with him privately just prior to the event. He is a courageous man, willing to accept the risk of speaking in public so soon after his release, but appears to hold no bitterness. Peaceful dissent of this kind needs to be encouraged in India, which is well advised to heed John F. Kennedy’s warning that, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
Sadly, Israel sees violent revolution in foreign countries to be in its national interest, under the “divide and conquer” principle. However, one would think that India’s principle would be the opposite if it wants to remain a successful unified nation with a highly diverse population seeking assurance that all their voices are heard in a national consensus. Furthermore, there is no need for India to acquire the same enemies as Israel. It may be in Israel’s perceived interests, but is it in India’s?
My few days in Kerala were an inspiring glimpse of what is possible. I saw thousands of young Indian Muslims whose religious and social mission is to benefit all mankind, to alleviate the social ills of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to promote interfaith cooperation and to create an umbrella that is inclusive of everyone.
Although this was a Muslim event, many who attended were not Muslim and were invited directly by their Muslim neighbors. I was invited to be the keynote speaker even though I am not Muslim and spoke more generally about human rights and about Palestinian issues, which are not specifically Muslim or Indian. Roughly 40% of the attendees were young women, in a society not always known for its success in promoting women’s rights.
These young people were politically aware, committed, well organized and motivated. Society is supposed to create models for young people, but in this case it was the young that created a model for their society.
Dr. Paul Larudee is a human rights advocate and one of the co-founders of the movement to break the siege of Gaza by sea. He was deported from India on 31st December, 2012.
[i] For a fictional treatment illustrating the absurdity of this proposition, see the film Minority Report (2002).
In a statement issued on Friday, NAM strongly condemned the opposition of the US, Russia, Britain and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the conference that was originally scheduled to be held in Finland’s capital, Helsinki, in December, upon an agreement reached during the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
The movement emphasized that the conference should be held before the end of 2012, voicing the NAM member states’ full support for the establishment of a Middle East region free of nuclear weapons.
It also urged the Israeli regime, the only non-signatory to the NPT in the Middle East, to destroy its nuclear weapons, place its nuclear facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) supervision and carry out all its atomic activities in accordance with international non-proliferation regulations.
On November 23, the US announced that the Helsinki conference cannot be convened at this point due to the special conditions in the Middle East.
The major event has reportedly been cancelled on US worries that its long-time ally in the region, the Israeli regime, would come under fire as the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
Israel is widely known to possess between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaei called on Friday for joint efforts to pursue the idea of creating a Middle East region free of weapons of mass destruction.
He said that the nuclear weapons of Israel, which has a dark background in state terrorism and resorting to aggression, threat and bullying against other countries, are a real threat to regional and international peace.
“It is necessary that the international community swiftly and firmly counter this threat,” the Iranian envoy pointed out.
The Israeli regime rejects all the regulatory international nuclear agreements – the NPT in particular – and refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspections.
- Iran Urges Israel to Join NPT (en.rian.ru)
- NAM calls for total nuclear disarmament (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- US cancels ME nuclear conference to protect “Israel” & over 100 NAM states support Iran’s program (realisticbird.wordpress.com)
TEHRAN – In a statement read out at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday, Iran and other members of the Non-Aligned Movement called on the UN Security Council to act and demand that Israel immediately stop violating international law.
The statement was read out by the Iranian ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, on behalf of the NAM member states, during an open debate about the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine.
Iran assumed the rotating presidency of NAM for a three-year term on August 30.
Following are excerpts of the text of Khazaee’s speech:
The Non-Aligned Movement remains firm in its conviction of the urgent need for the international community to act resolutely and collectively to fulfill its longstanding commitment to, and responsibility for, the realization of a just solution to the question of Palestine in all its aspects on the basis of international law and the terms of reference of the peace process, including the resolutions of the council.
The movement remains resolute to continue assisting the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for dignity, justice, and their inalienable right to self-determination in their independent state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital. This issue is long overdue and its continued postponement will only put that goal further out of reach.
The movement supports fully the application submitted by Palestine on 23 September 2011, for membership in the United Nations and considers it to be consistent with the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence.
The movement remains concerned about the ongoing and intensifying acts of violence, terrorism, and racist hate crimes, demolition of houses, revocation of residency, attacks on towns and villages across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, excavations under Al-Aqsa Mosque and storming the Mosque compound, firing stun grenades at Palestinian worshipers, the latest of which took place on Friday 5 October 2012 causing many injuries among Palestinian worshipers as well as the uprooting of olive and other trees by illegal Israeli settlers.
The Non-Aligned Movement expresses grave concern regarding the deteriorating situation and deplorable conditions of thousands of Palestinian prisoners and detainees unlawfully held in Israeli jails and detention centers, including at least 300 children as well as women and elected officials, and calls for their immediate release.
The Non-Aligned Movement reiterates its call for the Security Council to act and demand that Israel, the occupying power, immediately ceases all such violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, and fully abides by its legal obligations, including those under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel’s blatant impunity and disregard for the law cannot be tolerated.
Turning to Lebanon, the Movement condemns Israel’s ongoing violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty and calls on all parties concerned to fully implement resolution 1701 (2006), in order to end the current fragility and avoid the resurgence of hostilities.
- NAM demands that Israel join the NPT without further delay (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Iran’s Strategic Diplomatic Victory over the Washington-Israeli Axis: Its Larger Political Consequences (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- NAM calls for total nuclear disarmament (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel should end settler impunity for violence (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
On U.S. Efforts to Take Away Iran’s Rights by (Unilaterally) Rewriting the NPT: And the Complicity of America’s Iran “Experts” in the Charade
One of the more striking passages in President Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly last month presented Obama’s view of Iran’s nuclear rights. Specifically, the President noted, “We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United States is to see that we harness that power for peace.”
This is a more restrictive formulation than Obama and senior officials in his administration have deployed in previous statements, which emphasized that Iran has a right to “pursue peaceful nuclear energy.” In normal English usage, the verb “to pursue” implies that, in the official American view, Iran might at least have a right to generate its own “peaceful nuclear energy.” By contrast, Obama’s more recent phrasing implies that, in Washington’s current reading, Iran does not even have a right to generate its own nuclear power, but may have to content itself with trying to “access to peaceful nuclear power” that is generated by others.
Needless to say, all of this is far removed from Iran’s longstanding insistence on its right to enrich uranium if it chooses to do so. And, of course, Iran has long recognized that, as a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), it must exercise that right under international monitoring.
Initially, even the George W. Bush administration acknowledged that there was, somewhere in a vague legal ether, an Iranian right to enrich—but it argued that Tehran had somehow managed to “forfeit” this right. Such an argument did not persuade most of the lawyers working on the issue in the Bush administration, much less most of the other nations of the world. Eventually, the Bush administration retreated to a rigid demand that the Islamic Republic obey Security Council resolutions calling on it to suspend enrichment before the United States would negotiate with Tehran—and without ever stipulating that a negotiated settlement would include an explicit recognition of Iran’s nuclear rights. Predictably, this stance was diplomatically dysfunctional.
When the Obama administration came in, it dropped the Bush administration’s insistence on suspension as a precondition for negotiations. But it has been even less willing than the Bush administration to acknowledge Iran’s nuclear rights—and it, too, has the diplomatic (non)results to show for its obtuseness.
From a global perspective, the positions of the Bush and Obama administrations on Iran’s right to develop indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capabilities and to pursue internationally safeguarded enrichment of uranium on its own territory make the United States a real outlier. This reality was underscored in August at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, convened in Tehran, where NAM members—including the vast majority of the world’s nation-states—strongly endorsed the Islamic Republic’s right to pursue uranium enrichment. Although hardly covered in the American media, the NAM summit marked a significant international repudiation of U.S. policy regarding the nuclear rights of Iran and, by extension, other non-Western NPT signatories.
In the United States, this prompted defenders of the Bush/Obama line to spring into action. One of them, David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security, co-wrote a piece for the U.S. government-sponsored Iran Primer last month, see here, which argued that the NAM communique “misconstrues the NPT.” This sparked a vigorous online exchange between Albright—who is not a lawyer or student of international legal regimes—and Daniel Joyner, professor at the University of Alabama’s School of Law and one of the legal academy’s most accomplished scholars of the NPT. That exchange reveals much about the contribution of many Western Iran “experts” to America’s Iran debate.
According to Albright and his co-author,
“Under Article IV [of the NPT], Iran cannot claim the right to nuclear energy production—or a right to enrich at all—while under investigation for possible non-peaceful uses of these capabilities. Iran’s right to nuclear energy is qualified—a long as there are no major lapses in its Article II obligations…the NAM communique failed to acknowledge the need for Iran to fully comply with the international treaty on nuclear weapons. Iran tried to portray that the final communique represented a diplomatic victory for Tehran and its controversial nuclear program. But the summit’s resolution instead undermined the Non-Aligned Movement’s credibility, since it demonstrated that developing nations cannot be counted on to deal seriously with nuclear nonproliferation issues.”
Leaving aside the patronizing tone of the last sentence—in effect, Albright and his co-author are positing that responsible Americans and Europeans (the rightful masters of the universe) cannot possibly think non-Westerners are “dealing seriously” with important international issues unless those non-Westerners simply accept, uncritically, the views advanced by their Western superiors—this statement is wrong on several substantive points. Among other things, it is wrong as an interpretation of the NPT and in its assertion that there have been “major lapses” in Iran’s Article II obligations. These features prompted Daniel Joyner to offer the following observations on his blog, Arms Control Law, see here:
“Why is it that in the nonproliferation area everyone, including engineers, physicists, chemists and general policy wonks, think they can do legal interpretation? You won’t find me writing articles about the technical aspects of missile capabilities, or the internal physics of a warhead core. I know these things are outside of my training and qualification to do. But apparently everyone thinks they can do legal analysis. With respect, I think David should stick to obsessing over satellite pictures of tarps at random military bases in Iran.”
On our own, we found Joyner’s comment mildly amusing. But it clearly touched a nerve in David Albright, see here, who responded with a remarkable broadside characterized by ad hominem invective and fallacious arguments from authority:
“I have belatedly read Joyner’s rant about our Iran Primer article with amusement and likewise find his chorus of lackeys a pathetic bunch. Now I understand that Joyner’s blogging is supposed to be an ego trip for him and a safe haven for commentators, but Joyner’s blogging is particularly egotistical and, with respect, off-the-wall. In the comments and in Joyner’s writings, I can see the deep ignorance of the NPT. I certainly see no need to revise our analysis and statements in our Iran Primer article. We have consulted with many lawyers who find Joyner’s analysis deeply flawed and agenda driven… I would recommend that Joyner have his work reviewed by competent lawyers. He would need to revise most of his work.”
Joyner responded vigorously, see here, making the point, among his other rejoinders, that he has published two peer-reviewed books, with Oxford University Press, on interpreting the NPT. But, for our purposes, the most important part of his response concerns the public posture adopted by too many Washington, DC-based policy “experts” and the motives for their adoption of such a posture. Joyner’s analysis focuses on nonproliferation specialists, but, in our view, it also applies very well to many who claim expertise on other Iran-related issues:
”A colleague in D.C. once said this to me about the U.S. nonproliferation epistemic community—and by this community we both meant the entirety of the various NGOs and think tanks and the few University based centers that focus on nonproliferation studies in the U.S.: that the community is very D.C. centric, cliquish, incestuous and self-referential, to its detriment. These words have really stuck with me, because I find them to be absolutely true, and both insightful and parsimonious as I’ve observed the community over the years.
I would take it even further and say that in addition, in my opinion, the whole U.S. based nonproliferation experts community—with few exception—is systematically biased toward support of USG positions on all the top nonproliferation issues. They maintain an essentially common narrative and set of emphases that is in line with, and that provides support for, the narrative and emphases of the USG, with only the smallest amounts of quibbling around the edges (Albright will talk all day long about his “aluminum tubes” work). I think that there is in the work of the U.S. nonproliferation epistemic community far too little real, independent evaluation and criticism of USG positions. As I see it, the U.S. nonproliferation community almost acts as a second wave of apologists for U.S. policy, after the USG itself—though it sometimes shrouds this effort in a lot of technical and sometimes academic-looking jargon. But in the end what the U.S. nonproliferation community ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT DO is serve in the role of an independent, rigorous, analytical check on USG nonproliferation positions, as it could and should do, and as the nongovernmental nonproliferation community in other countries does. And I think there are some clear reasons for this. Much more so than in other countries, the members of the U.S. based nonproliferation community tend, with very few exceptions, to
1) have been employed by the USG in the past;
2) want to be employed by the USG in the future;
3) be funded by or hope to be funded by the USG; and/or
4) want to maintain the access and good favor they have with USG officials, for the sake of information and for the sake of invitations to cool events, etc.
Basically what I’m saying is that they are biased towards the positions of the USG, because of their overly close personal and institutional associations with the USG, and because they see their own professional success as being tied to the favor of the USG.
I think there’s also a significant degree of media whorishness at work here as well. As a colleague once wrote to me while we were discussing this topic: ‘I think there is another—very important—aspect you may be missing that may even over-ride the ones you mention: aside from taking USG positions, the non-proliferation community likes the high-media profile allotted it, when it loudly tut-tuts 3rd world nuclear arms capacities (or enemies of the west’s nuclear arms capacities), whether or not such capacities are consistent w/ NPT and/or CSAs. People like being quoted, appearing on TV, and generally feeling important. The Non-proliferation community “loves” the attention and basks in this glow, and though they would “privately” acknowledge that Iran is not so far outside bounds (if at all), they nonetheless pass on statements and innuendo to media indicating the alleged dangers and thus wittingly or not, fan the flames. Others like ISIS simply pass on opinions dressed as expert findings. It just would not do for Non-proliferation types to tell the media: “well, no, Iran’s program is actually not a threat to world peace yet” like the DNI did.’”
Not surprisingly, Joyner sees David Albright as embodying this description, as he points out in criticizing some of Albright’s analysis on Iran’s nuclear activities:
“All [Albright] really does is make provocative speculations about what “could” be happening at locations in Iran, and what “maybe” Iran will do in the future. And it’s so clear that he’s working on the basis of a set of unproven, but firmly held assumptions about Iran—the same assumptions he had about Iraq, for which his work has been widely discredited—that they have a nuclear weapons program, and he is ginning up all the evidence he can that might support that assumption, speculating about what that evidence may mean, but only in a direction that would tend to support his preexisting assumption. There’s no rigor here in thoroughly considering and evaluating other possible explanations for the same observations—like a real academic or even a real, quality NGO analysis would. Maybe it’s because David has never done PhD level academic work, and so he doesn’t understand what is expected of quality scientific analysis. But this is an assumption-driven piece of provocative speculation that serves only to provide support for the USG’s contentions about Iran’s nuclear program. That’s just what he infamously did in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq war too. That’s not rigorous and independent analysis. That’s biased and low quality work…
I know very well how the D.C. nonproliferation crowd feels about me… They think my work is pro-Iranian and generally pro-developing country, and anti-U.S. They say I’m biased and agenda driven… Am I personally sympathetic to or biased towards the policies of the Iranian government? Absolutely not… However, do I think that the legal arguments of the current government of Iran deserve a fair and independent and rigorous hearing and analysis by the international community, just as the legal arguments of any other government do? Yes I do, for many reasons, not least of which is the prevention of unnecessary and unjust economic sanctions and possibly war against the Iranian people, and the fairness and perceived legitimacy and relevance of international law. I don’t see anyone else stepping up to make these arguments, and make sure that they are taken seriously in the West, and that’s why I keep doing it.
Am I sympathetic to developing countries’ positions in the nuclear energy area generally? Yes I am. I admit that freely. And it’s because I genuinely think that they are bullied by the West in the nuclear area, as in many other areas, for a whole range of political and economic reasons, and that the legal advisors of Western governments have concocted erroneous legal arguments to give perceived credibility to these policies. I can’t change the policies and the politics they’re based on, but I think there is a real need to lend whatever professional abilities I have to making sure that their legal arguments are made at a high level of competence and sophistication, and are given due consideration by the international community. Again, no one else seems to be doing this in the West, and so I keep doing it. But I maintain that my legal analysis is independent and essentially objective, and that I follow the proper analysis of a legal source to its most persuasively correct conclusion, no matter what that conclusion is.
I think that the U.S. nonproliferation community, linked so closely as it is to the USG itself, generally takes a negative view of my work for a number of reasons. One of the primary reasons is that they are so used to being able to effectively tell the rest of the world what to think about the NPT regime, and how to interpret the law associated with it, that when someone independent comes along and poses a genuine intellectual challenge to the warped and USG driven legal views of the NPT regime that they’ve been spouting for decades, they genuinely don’t know what to do about it. With the errors and intellectual bankruptcy of their legal arguments laid bare, they make only feeble attempts to defend themselves substantively because, honestly, they don’t have very good substantive arguments to make and they never have. The only argument they have left to make is to argue in desperation that the challenger is biased and agenda driven—which is in the end the ultimate irony, because it’s precisely their own bias and USG-centric agenda that has made their arguments so weak, and has provided the legal errors that the challenger now corrects, to the persuasion of everyone else in the world.”
Our compliments to Prof. Joyner.
- NAM demands that Israel join the NPT without further delay (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- IAEA resolution casts doubt on benefit of NPT: Iran (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Iran Urges Israel to Join NPT (en.rian.ru)
- NAM calls for total nuclear disarmament (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- What If Iran Leaves the NPT? (nationalinterest.org)
TEHRAN – In a statement read out at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday, Iran and other members of the Non-Aligned Movement called for total nuclear disarmament in the world.
The statement was read out by the Iranian ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, on behalf of the NAM member states, during a meeting of the First Committee on all disarmament and international security agenda items.
Following are the main points of the statement:
- NAM reaffirms its principled positions on nuclear disarmament, which remains its highest priority. The movement reiterates its deep concern over the threat to humanity posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons and of their possible use or threat of use and expresses its concern over the lack of progress by the Nuclear-Weapon States (NWS) to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
- NAM reaffirms that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and reaffirms further that all Non-Nuclear-Weapon States (NNWS) should be effectively assured by the NWS against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
- The movement remains deeply concerned by the strategic defense doctrines of the Nuclear-Weapon States and NATO’s Deterrence and Defense Posture Review adopted at its summit in May 2012 that set out the rationales for the use of nuclear weapons. NAM strongly calls for the complete exclusion of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons from their military doctrines.
- The movement also calls on the NWS to immediately cease their plans to further modernize, upgrade, refurbish, or extend the lives of their nuclear weapons and related facilities.
- NAM calls for convening a high level international conference to identify ways and means of eliminating nuclear weapons, at the earliest possible date, with the objective of an agreement on a phased program for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, to prohibit their development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use, and to provide for their destruction.
- NAM recognizes the need to enhance the effectiveness of the UN disarmament machinery. NAM notes that the main difficulty of the disarmament machinery lies in the lack of genuine political will by some states to achieve actual progress, including in particular on nuclear disarmament.
- NAM considers the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones as an important measure, and, in this context, NAM continues its strong support for the establishment in the Middle East of a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Pending its establishment, NAM demands that Israel, the only country in the region that has not joined the NPT nor declared its intention to do so, renounce any possession of nuclear weapons, accede to the NPT without precondition and further delay, and place promptly all its nuclear facilities under IAEA full-scope safeguards. The movement also calls for the total and complete prohibition of the transfer of all nuclear-related equipment, information, material and facilities, resources or devices and the extension of assistance in the nuclear related scientific or technological fields to Israel. NAM also supports the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.
- NAM reaffirms the inalienable right of each state to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy, including the sovereign right to develop full national nuclear fuel cycle, for peaceful purposes without discrimination. The movement once again reaffirms the sovereign right of each state to define its national energy policies, including the inalienable right of each state to develop a full national nuclear fuel cycle.
- NAM is of the firm belief that non-proliferation policies shall not undermine the inalienable right of states to acquire and access material, equipment, and technology for peaceful purposes.
- NAM expresses its deep concern at the continued imposition of and/or maintaining limitations and restrictions on exports to developing countries of nuclear material, equipment, and technology for peaceful purposes.
- NAM once again reaffirms the inviolability of peaceful nuclear activities and that any attack or threat of attack against peaceful nuclear facilities – operational or under construction – poses a great danger to human beings and the environment, and constitutes a grave violation of international law, principles of the UN Charter and regulations of the IAEA.
- While noting that considerable progress has been made in developing and applying the latest information technologies and means of telecommunication, the movement expresses concern that these technologies and means can potentially be used for purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security and may adversely affect the integrity of the infrastructure of states to the detriment of their security in both civil and military fields. NAM emphasizes that these technologies and means should be utilized by member states in a manner consistent with international law and the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.
- NAM stresses the need for a multilaterally negotiated, universal, comprehensive, transparent, and non-discriminatory approach toward the issue of missiles in all its aspects, as a contribution to international peace and security.
- NAM stresses the importance of the sovereign rights and security concerns of all states at regional and global levels in any approach to the issue of missiles in all its aspects. NAM further stresses the importance of contribution of peaceful uses of space technologies, including space launch vehicle technologies, to human advancement.
- NAM states parties to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions call for their balanced, effective, and non-discriminatory implementation.
- NAM reaffirms the sovereign right of states to acquire, manufacture, export, import and retain conventional arms and their parts and components for their self-defense and security needs.
- NAM demands that Israel join the NPT without further delay (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- NAM calls for total abolition of chemical weapons (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Iran FM Salehi: NAM Should Oppose Sanctions, Foreign Intervention Unacceptable (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Iranian defense minister: Israel should set red lines for itself (theuglytruth.wordpress.com)
TEHRAN – The 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement on Friday demanded that Israel join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty without precondition and further delay.
The demand was made during the United Nations High Level Meeting on Countering Nuclear Terrorism in New York. The demand was read out by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on behalf of the NAM bloc.
Iran assumed the rotating presidency of NAM for a three-year term on August 30.
Following is the text of Salehi’s speech:
1. I am honored to speak on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
2. The Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism reflects the success of multilateralism to which NAM attaches great importance. The movement values this opportunity to express its views on this subject of cotemporary interest.
3. NAM strongly and unequivocally condemns as criminal and rejects terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as well as all acts, methods, and practices of terrorism wherever, by whomever, against whomsoever committed, including those in which states are directly or indirectly involved, which are unjustifiable (no matter what) considerations or factors… may be invoked to justify them.
4. NAM expresses its satisfaction with the consensus among states on measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. NAM welcomes the adoption by consensus of the General Assembly Resolution 66/50 entitled “Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction” and underlines the need for this threat to humanity to be addressed within the UN framework and through international cooperation.
5. While stressing that the most effective way of preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction is through the total elimination of such weapons, NAM emphasizes that progress is urgently needed in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation in order to help maintain international peace and security and to contribute to the global efforts against terrorism.
6. NAM calls upon all UN member states to support international efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. It also urges all member states to take and strengthen national measures, as appropriate, to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and materials and technologies related to their manufacture.
7. While noting the adoption of resolution 1540 (2004), resolution 1673 (2006), resolution 1810 (2008) and resolution 1977 (2011) by the Security Council, NAM underlines the need to ensure that any action by the Security Council does not undermine the UN Charter and existing multilateral treaties on weapons of mass destruction and of international Organizations established in this regard as well as the role of the General Assembly.
8. NAM further cautions against the continuing practice of the Security Council to utilize its authority to define the legislative requirements for member states in implementing Security Council decisions. In this regard, NAM stresses the importance of the issue of non-state actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction to be addressed in an inclusive manner by the General Assembly, taking into account the views of all member states.
9. The NAM emphasizes the need to improve national, regional, and international preparedness and response to nuclear accidents and calls for a strengthened role of the IAEA in emergency preparedness and response, including through assisting member states, upon their request, on emergency preparedness and response to nuclear accidents, promoting capacity building, including education and training in the field of crisis management.
10. The NAM underlines that measures and initiatives aimed at strengthening nuclear safety and nuclear security must not be used as a pretext or leverage to violate, deny, or restrict the inalienable right of developing countries to develop research, production, and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.
11. NAM affirms the need to strengthen the radiological safety and protection systems at facilities utilizing radioactive materials as well as at radioactive waste management facilities, including the safe transportation of these materials. The movement reaffirms the need to strengthen existing international regulations relating to safety and security of transportation of such materials.
12. The primary responsibility for nuclear safety and nuclear security rests with the individual states. In that sense, NAM underlines that the states with nuclear power programs have a central role in their own countries in ensuring the application of the highest standards. NAM also emphasizes that the IAEA is the sole intergovernmental organization within the UN system with the mandate and expertise to deal with the technical subjects of nuclear safety and nuclear security.
13. NAM reaffirms the inviolability of peaceful nuclear activities and that any attack or threat of attack against peaceful nuclear facilities – operational or under construction- constitutes a grave violation of international law, principles and purposes of the UN Charter and regulations of the IAEA. NAM recognizes the urgent need for a comprehensive multilaterally negotiated instrument prohibiting attacks or threat of attacks on nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
14. NAM stresses its concern at the threat to humanity posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons and of their possible use or threat of use. NAM reaffirms that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
15. NAM reaffirms its principled positions on nuclear disarmament, which remains its highest priority, and on the related issue of nuclear non-proliferation in all its aspects. NAM stresses the importance that efforts aiming at nuclear non-proliferation should be parallel to simultaneous efforts aiming at nuclear disarmament.
16. NAM emphasizes that progress in nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation in all its aspects is essential to strengthening international peace and security.
17. NAM reiterates deep concern over the slow pace of progress towards nuclear disarmament and the lack of progress by the Nuclear-Weapon States (NWS) to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals in accordance with their relevant multilateral legal obligations. The movement reaffirms the importance of the unanimous conclusion of the ICJ (International Court of Justice) that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and to bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control. In this regard, NAM underscores the urgent need to commence and to bring to a conclusion negotiations on comprehensive and complete nuclear disarmament without delay.
18. NAM reaffirms the importance of the application of the principles of transparency, irreversibility, and verifiability by the NWS in all measures related to the fulfillment of their nuclear disarmament obligations.
19. Pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, NAM reaffirms the need for the conclusion of a universal, unconditional, and legally binding instrument on negative security assurances to all NNWS as a matter of high priority.
20. NAM urges the UN Secretary General and the co-sponsors of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East, in consultation with the states of the region, to exert utmost efforts in ensuring the success of the Conference to be convened in 2012, to be attended by all states of the Middle East on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction. NAM stresses the need to avoid any further delay in convening this Conference.
21. NAM also demands (that) Israel, the only country in the region that has not joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) nor declared its intention to do so, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons, to accede to the NPT without precondition and further delay, and to place promptly all its nuclear facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) full-scope safeguards.
22. NAM reiterates that the issues related to proliferation should be resolved through political and diplomatic means, and that measures and initiatives taken in this regard should be within the framework of international law, relevant conventions, and the UN Charter, and should contribute to the promotion of international peace, security, and stability.
23. Mindful of the threat posed to humankind by the existing weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons and underlining the need for the total elimination of such weapons, the movement reaffirms the need to prevent the emergence of new types of weapons of mass destruction, and therefore supports the necessity of monitoring the situation and triggering international action as required.
24. Finally, on behalf of the movement, I express the hope that the secretary general will duly reflect these views in his summary of today’s proceedings as well as the views of member states. Any possible follow-up should be inclusive and member state driven.
Thank you, Messrs. Co-chairs.
Iran’s Strategic Diplomatic Victory over the Washington-Israeli Axis: Its Larger Political Consequences
Iran chaired, hosted and led the recently rejuvenated Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting in Teheran, attended by delegates from 120 countries, including 31 heads of state and 29 foreign secretaries of state. Even the United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, notorious mouthpiece of Washington, felt obligated to address, a forum attended by two-thirds of the member countries of the UN, despite State Department and Israeli objections.
Any objective evaluation of the meeting, its venue, the attendance, resolutions and political impact leads to one paramount conclusion: the NAM meeting was a strategic diplomatic victory for Iran and a major defeat for the US, Israel and the European Union. The entire US-Israeli-EU diplomatic and propaganda effort to isolate and stigmatize Iran, especially over the past decade, was shredded.
The Politics of Attendance
Attendance by representatives of 120 countries demonstrates that Iran is not a ‘pariah state’; it is an accepted member of the international community.The presence of 60 heads of state and foreign secretaries demonstrates that Iran is considered a noteworthy and significant political actor, not a “terrorist state” to be isolated and shunned. The proceedings, debates and discussions among and between the delegates and Iranian leaders convinced those attending that Teheran gives primacy to reasonable dialogue in resolving international conflicts.
Both in terms of form and content the NAM meeting highlighted the superiority of Iran’s diplomacy over and against Washington’s bellicose posturing and improvised diversionary tactics. The fact that the meeting took place in Teheran, that Iran was elected chair, that a major part of the NAM agenda and subsequent resolutions coincided with Iran’s democratic foreign policy, highlights Washington’s policy failures and its isolation on issues of major concern to the larger international community. Pandering to the domestic Zionist power configuration has a high cost in the sphere of international politics.
NAM Resolutions: Iran versus Washington – Israel
The centerpiece of US and Israeli strategic policy has been to claim that Iran’s nuclear program including the enrichment of uranium, are a threat to world peace and in particular to Israel and the Gulf states. The NAM meeting repudiated that position, affirming Iran’s right to develop a peaceful nuclear program including the enrichment of uranium. NAM rejected western sanctions against Iran and other countries. In fact many of the leading members, including India, brought delegations of business executives in pursuit of new economic contracts.
NAM declared its support for a nuclear free Middle East and called for an independent Palestinian state based on 1969 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, in total repudiation of Washington’s unconditional support of the nuclear armed Jewish state.
NAM rejected Egyptian Prime Minister Morsi’s proposal to support the Western backed armed mercenaries invading Syria, major blow to Washington’s effort to secure international support for regime change. NAM unanimously approved several resolutions which affirmed its anti-imperialist principles in direct opposition to US imperial positions: it rejected the US blockade of Cuba; it affirmed Argentine sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands (dubbed the ‘Falklands’ by Anglo-American pundits); it opposed the Paraguayan coup; it supported Ecuador in its dispute with Great Britain on asylum for Assange; it selected Venezuela as the site for the next NAM meeting; it rejected terrorism in all of its forms and modalities, including the state sponsored variant.
Western Propaganda Media: Self Serving Diversions
The resounding diplomatic successes of the Iranian hosts of the NAM meeting were countered by a mass media blitz directed at diverting attention to relatively marginal events. The Financial and New York Times, the BBC and the Washington Post featured a speech by Egyptian Prime Minister Morsi calling for NAM support for the Western backed armed mercenaries invading Syria. The media omitted mentioning that no delegation took up his proposal. NAM not only ignored Morsi but unanimously approved a resolution opposing western intervention and affirming the right of self-determination, clearly applicable to the case of Syria.
While NAM defended Iran’s right to develop its peaceful nuclear program, the mass media publicized a dubious “report” authored by US favorite, Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) questioning Iran’s compliance with his directives. Not surprisingly the report by Amano carried no weight in the deliberations of the 130 delegates, given his notoriety as a front-man for Israeli and US pro-war propaganda.
Overall the mass media deliberately ignored or underplayed the resolutions, dialogue and democratic procedures of the NAM meeting in an effort to cover up the enormous political gulf between the US, Israel, the EU and the vast majority of the international community.
Political Impact of the NAM Conference
NAM seriously undermined the images of the Mid-East conflicts which US policymakers and their acolytes in the EU and Gulf States project: the political reality, which came out of the meetings emphasized that it is the US. Israel and the EU who are outside the mainstream international community. It is the US and EU who lack political allies in the pursuit of colonial wars. It is the Israeli occupation of Palestine and Washington’s policies of ‘regime change’ in Syria and Iran which lack allies. Its Iran’s peaceful nuclear program which has legitimacy not Israel’s nuclear arsenal. The Iranian leadership gained prestige via its openness to international dialogue. In contrast its regional Gulf adversaries, who rely on multi-billion dollar US arms purchases and military bases were denigrated and discredited.
The Iranian proposals to reform the United Nations to make it more democratic and responsive to emerging countries and less a tool of US-EU policymakers resonated throughout the conference. The emphasis on free trade, was manifest in the large economic delegations who attended eager to sign agreements in defiance of US-Israel-EU sanctions.
Temporarily the NAM conference may have lessened the threat of a military attack against Iran, at least by the US and the EU – by demonstrating the political cost of alienating two thirds of the UN Assembly. Nevertheless by demonstrating Israel’s total isolation, (and truly pariah status in the international community), NAM may have heightened the pathological paranoia of the Israeli leadership and hastened its move toward a catastrophic war.
The follow-up of the NAM resolutions requires a permanent organization, a minimum coordinating secretariat to ensure compliance and rapid responses to crises. Otherwise the good intentions and positive moves toward peace via dialogue will be inconsequential.
The mobilization of the NAM members in the UN General Assembly is crucial to withstand the blackmail, bribes, threats and corruption which are used by the Western powers to secure majorities on crucial votes regarding US sanctions, coups and military intervention. Trade, investment and cultural boycotts of Israel should be promoted and enforced, until the Jewish State ends its occupation of Palestine. Clearly Iran, as the newly elected leader of NAM, has a major role to play in ensuring that the Tehran meeting of 2012 becomes the basis for a revitalization of the Movement. Iran can play a constructive leadership role providing it continues to promote a plural collective format based on common anti-imperialist principles.
- Iran FM Salehi: NAM Should Oppose Sanctions, Foreign Intervention Unacceptable (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- NAM Summit: Ban Ki-Moon in disgraceful show of US puppetry (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The United States and its European allies – the old imperialists and the new – tell their countries’ populations that Iran is isolated in the world, and will have to get rid of its nuclear energy infrastructure in order to be allowed back into what they call “the community of nations.” Among the power groupies that call themselves journalists in the West, Iran is routinely referred to as a “pariah” nation, lurking at the very edge of civilization and sanity. The United States, by this reasoning, is showing great wisdom and forbearance, for not having already unleashed its carrier task forces, Marine divisions, Special Forces commandos, and swarms of drones on the crazed Iranians. Instead, the U.S., in it infinite goodness, enforces a strangling economic and oil embargo, to make the Iranian nation scream.
The Iranians are lucky, Americans and Europeans are told, that the U.S. holds back its friends in Israel, who are eager to give the ayatollah’s in Tehran a lesson in how to behave. But, whatever happens at the end of this game to force Iran to give up its lawful right to own and operate the full industrial cycle of nuclear power, western audiences are assured that the “international community” will approve. After all, Iran is a global outcast. CNN and the New York Times tell us so every day.
Last week, the 120 nations of the Nonaligned Movement voted unanimously and without qualification in support of Iran’s right to produce nuclear energy, and to enrich their own uranium in the process. The Nonaligned Movement makes up about two-thirds of all the nations of the world. As a solid block of humanity, they rejected the dictates of Washington and London and Paris – the imperial powers that for centuries enslaved most of the planet – endorsing the fundamental principle that Iran has the same sovereign rights as any other nation.
Who, then, is isolated in the world – Iran, whose position is backed by two-thirds of the world’s countries, or the U.S. and Europe?
Clearly, the Americans and Europeans still believe that the only world opinion that counts, is the white world. The arrogance of the colonizer and imperialist is infinite, but their power is not – not any longer. The Nonaligned Movement vote is a global referendum, not on Iran’s lawful pursuit of its internal development policies, but on U.S. imperial bullying and criminality. Because, if Iran is within its rights, then the U.S. and the European Union are in the wrong in waging economic war, and threatening military assault, against Iran. Someone is committing a crime, and its not Iran. Two-thirds of the world says so.
The vote is all the more remarkable because the Americans and Europeans, and even the Israelis, exercise great influence over the affairs of much of what used to be called the Third World. Yet still, the former colonies and subjugated nations of the Nonaligned Movement voted unanimously, and on principle, rather than kowtow to power.
There is a lesson here. The Empire remains militarily strong and capable of great crimes. But it has lost much of its powers of coercion – without which, Empire must ultimately cease to exist.
Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Seated alongside Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the day that Iran took over presidency of the NAM of 120 nations, the presence of Ban could be seen as a blow to the diplomatic machinations of the United States and its Western allies, including Israel.
But, rather than making a forthright statement of support for Iran, the veteran South Korean diplomat showed his true colours as a servile puppet of American imperialism.
In the weeks leading up to the 16th summit of the NAM, Washington had been calling on the UN top official to decline attending the conference in Tehran. When Ban announced last week that he was going ahead, the US government was evidently peeved, calling his decision “a bit strange”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was predictably more strident, denouncing Ban’s visit to Iran as “a big mistake”. In typical vulgar and provocative language, Netanyahu subsequently attacked the NAM summit as “a stain on humanity”.
What the United States and its Western allies feared most from the NAM summit was a global display of goodwill and solidarity towards Iran. For more than three decades now, Washington has invested huge political capital in a global campaign of vilification against Iran, denouncing the Islamic Republic as a “rogue state”, a sponsor of “international terrorism” and, over the last 10 years, as “a threat to world peace” from alleged nuclear weapons development.
The Western powers of the US, Britain and France in particular continually arrogate the mantle of “international community” to browbeat Iran, claiming that the nation is in “breach of its obligations”.
In attempting to portray Iran as a “pariah state” these powers, along with Israel, have partly succeeded in turning reality on its head and to assume the outrageous right to threaten Iran with pre-emptive military strikes and enforce crippling economic sanctions.
However, the attendance of some 120 nations in Tehran this week – two-thirds of the UN General Assembly – is a clear statement by the international community that resoundingly rejects this Western campaign of vilification.
Clearly, the majority of the world’s people do not see Iran as a rogue state or a threat to world peace. Indeed, the endorsement of Iran’s presidency of the NAM for the next three years is vindication of the country’s right to develop on its own terms, including the pursuit of peaceful nuclear technology.
In one fell swoop, the NAM summit liquidated Washington’s political capital for denigrating and isolating Iran as worthless. Seated at the top of the summit’s gathering in Tehran, the mere presence of the UN General Secretary to witness the appointment of Iran as the new leader of the Non-Aligned Movement was partially a symbolic vote of confidence.
But then, in his speech on this historic day, Ban engaged in a disgraceful diplomatic offensive. He pointedly denounced those who “deny the [Nazi] holocaust” and who call for the Zionist state’s destruction. Ban championed “Israel’s right to exist” without a word of condemnation of Israel’s decades-long crimes against humanity on the Palestinian people and its violation of countless UN resolutions. In that way, the UN chief was peddling the spurious Western propaganda that seeks to besmirch Iran’s principled opposition to the Zionist state’s record of criminality.
Ban went on to cast bankrupt Western aspersions on Iran’s nuclear rights. He said that Iran needed to use its presidency of the NAM to demonstrate peaceful intent, allay fears that it was developing nuclear weapons and to engage positively with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Western-dominated P5+1 group – the group that has used every step in bad faith to hobble and hamper a negotiated agreement with Iran.
The question is: what planet has Ban Ki-Moon been living on? The fact is that Iran has done everything to comply with the IAEA and its obligations to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran has consistently demonstrated its peaceful nuclear ambitions and its responsibility to the NPT – unlike the Western powers and their illegal nuclear-powered Zionist rogue state. Just this week, Iran even invited the member states of the NAM to visit its nuclear facility at Natanz – an unprecedented show of openness.
For Ban to reiterate such unfounded, scurrilous suspicions against Iran on the day that it assumes the presidency of the NAM is a reflection more of his abject servility to Western powers – and it underscores the urgent need for a total structural reformation of the UN to make it more democratically accountable.
What was even more telling was what Ban omitted to say in his speech at the NAM summit. Unlike his pointed jibes at Iran, he only used the vaguest language to condemn the violence raging in Syria whenever the evidence is glaring that the US, Britain, France and their Turkish, Israeli and Persian Gulf Arab allies are now openly flouting international law by fueling a covert war of aggression in that country.
Just this week, a US Congressional report revealed that the United States is responsible for nearly 80 per cent of all global arms sales in 2011 – some $66 billion worth – a figure that has tripled on previous years. Half of this trade in weapons and death has been plied by the US to the Persian Gulf monarchies who are in turn laundering the arms to Syria. No words of condemnation from Ban on that.
Nor did the UN chief speak out to condemn the illegal economic sanctions that Washington and its coterie of imperialist allies have slapped on Iran – sanctions that are, in effect, an act of war and are viciously imposing hardship on Iranian civilians, including thousands of infirm people in need of vital medicines.
Nor did Ban condemn the Western powers’ covert war of sabotage and assassination of Iranian scientists, some of whose bereaved families were attending the NAM summit as he spoke.
In a further reprehensible omission, the UN General Secretary lauded the Arab Spring pro-democracy movements. He mentioned several countries by name, but significantly did not include Bahrain even though the people of that country are being butchered and incarcerated daily since their uprising in February 2011. The Western powers and their corporate media do not mention the depredations of their despotic ally in Bahrain against women and children. And neither does Ban Ki-Moon.
No, he would rather engage in pejorative, baseless innuendos against Iran, while disgracefully covering up Western crimes of aggression in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran and the ongoing slaughter of innocents with US drones in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
NAM stands for solidarity against imperial aggression. In his address to the NAM, Ban Ki-Moon was acting like an ambassadorial puppet for his Western masters. Maybe in reforming the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement should from now on seek to ensure that any future head of the United Nations be truly representative of the concerns and anguish of the world’s majority, and not a diplomatic salesman for imperialist powers.
Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism.
- NAM Agrees on 688 Articles of Draft Statement: Sanctions, Palestine on Top (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has welcomed Iran’s proposal for the formation of a troika committee on Syria consisting of Iran, Egypt, and Venezuela
Minister Maduro welcomed the proposal to keep “major powers from interfering in Syria’s internal affairs” Minister Maduro welcomed the proposal to keep “major powers from interfering in Syria’s internal affairs”
Maduro made the remarks in an interview with reporters from the Iranian media upon his arrival in Tehran on Wednesday to attend the XVI Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which opened in Tehran on Sunday and closes on Friday.
“Playing a role by regional countries in (resolving) the crisis reduces the interference of external powers in Syria,” the Venezuelan foreign minister stated, according to the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency.
“Before everything else, we call on the major powers to stop interfering in Syria’s internal affairs and allow the Syrian people to live in calm, peace, and independence.
“(Iran’s) proposal is a very good proposal (according to which) the major powers and foreign powers will stop interfering in the Syrian crisis with the involvement of the conflicting sides and regional countries to resolve the problem.
“The country of Venezuela welcomes the proposal because it will (help) the people of the country of Syria to achieve peace and true calm.”
Commenting on the NAM summit in Tehran, Maduro stated, “The summit is being held in a country whose people are diligent and are seeking progress and peace. One hundred and twenty countries have gathered together in Iran to step toward world peace.”