Iran and additional protocols to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty

Remember in 2002 when the U.S. went to war with Iraq because the U.S. government said Iraq was developing nuclear weapons, and then it turned out that Iraq wasn’t? Me too.

Because of that I’ve been skeptical about U.S. government claims about Iran‘s nuclear program for the last couple of years. Having a Democratic President hasn’t lessened my skepticism. Here’s an example.

In an A.P. story on Iran’s obligations to the I.A.E.A. this morning, Iran claims it revealed it’s new secret nuclear facility early. According to them, they don’t need to reveal anything about it until 6 months prior to it going operational. According to the I.A.E.A., the additional protocols to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty require disclosure as soon as Iran started planning. Iran claims they aren’t party to those additional protocols (they voluntarily followed them for a couple of years) anymore, and Mohamed El Baradei (the head of the I.A.E.A.) claims that Iran can’t back out of them.

What are these additional protocols to the N.N.P.T.? Follow that link to read them. What I find interesting is that the I.A.E.A.’s own web site says that the agreement with Iran on those protocols was never in force. And the additional protocols document itself explicitly refers to the date the protocols come into force in the section on when a state has to disclose a facility. It does not refer to the ratification date or the date the I.A.E.A. approves the protocols with that state.

So who’s right? I don’t know. But it’s certainly much more ambiguous than the U.S. government and the I.A.E.A. claim. And my own personal idea of open and forthcoming requires much more than following the legal requirements.

Clinton vs. Obama: Iran

This one should be a short comparison. Both Clinton and Obama have been vociferous in their criticism of the Iraq war. However, when it comes to something that may get us into another war, neither of them seem to have a clue.

For a number of years, the Bush administration has hyped a supposed threat of nuclear proportions from Iran. Namely that Iran is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons with which to attack us. I’m highly skeptical. First, even if they obtain nuclear weapons, I suspect that Iran will turn out something like Pakistan, smart enough not to use them. But beyond that, I haven’t seen any evidence from groups in which I put any stock.

Nevertheless, both Clinton and Obama have used language such as every option should be on the table. I’m very worried that we make it into us vs. them by implying we might use force. This unites Iranians against us, rather than provides support for moderates. Instead, it turns moderates into militants.

Again, a wash between the two candidates.