Picture the playground bully palavering with a much smaller boy: “Give me all your marbles,” the bully says, “and then we’ll decide the conditions under which you can play marbles.”
This is what’s going on in Vienna, where “negotiations” are taking place between the P5+1 gang of nations and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program. (P%+1 = the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.) The deadline for a final, binding deal was set for July 20, although that could be extended by mutual agreement.
Iran, originally given nuclear technology by the United States when its friend The Shah was in power, now has some 19,000 centrifuges enriching uranium to about 20% for nuclear power plants and medical purposes. As a signatory to the international Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Iran has a perfectly legal right to do this.
Legal it may be, but the United States government entered the Vienna talks demanding for starters a draconian reduction in Iran’s centrifuges and enrichment capacity. The infamous truth-teller, John Kerry, invokes a Yeti called “breakout capability” to justify this give-up-your-marbles diktat. “Breakout capability,” invented in the Bush administration, is said to be the time it would take Iran, in theory, to enrich enough uranium to weapons grade (90%) for a single nuclear weapon. There are no incontestable hard data to support the “breakout capability” theory.
The U.S.knows Iran cannot and will not accept its unconscionable demand. Thus, while appearing to “negotiate,” the U.S. has torpedoed the prospects for agreement in Vienna. Iran needs a much greater number of centrifuges than specified in US demands, enough to provide nuclear fuel for future nuclear power reactors as they come online. Iran proposes to reassure the United States and its negotiating partners that it isn’t interested in breakout; it will do so by converting all low-enriched uranium immediately into a form that would not be available for weapons-grade enrichment, and then into fuel assemblies for a nuclear reactor.
Kerry’s truth brigade insists that Iran does not need all those centrifuges to produce its own enriched uranium; it could buy all it needs from Russia and France. Oh, sure! France, knuckling under to Uncle Sam, refused to provide enriched uranium fuel assemblies to Iran in the early 1980s despite earlier legal arrangements to do so. It was the U.S. bullying that forced Iran in the mid-1980s to develop its own enrichment capability because it could no longer rely on foreign supplies. Russia, yielding to U.S. pressure, delayed the shipment of nuclear fuel for Iran’s Bushehr power plant in 2005–06. There is a long history of agreements with other states, both on nuclear fuel supply and other forms of nuclear cooperation, on which the other states have reneged.
The U. S. also has a long history of “cooking the intelligence” to justify its foreign policy follies: the Gulf of Tonkin incident (Vietnam), “weapons of mass destruction” (Iraq), the Russian “invasion” of Crimea (Ukraine). Cooked intelligence, once again purchased at face value by an intimidated press, accounts for the U.S. position, almost universally accepted in Congress, that Iran somehow has been hiding a program of nuclear weapons development since the turn of this century.
The International Atomic energy Agency, which has been conducting inspections in Iran, has not found a shred of evidence that such a program ever existed.
The truth is that Israel, through its rich and powerful lobbies in the United States, calls far too many of America’s shots in the Middle East, including Iran policy. This goes back to its strong ties to Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the cult-like Iranian terrorist group that has been fighting the Tehran regime ever since the early 1980s. Fake documents and other information from MEK, filtered through Israeli intelligence, are the basis for the American myth of Iran’s “nuclear weapons program.”
Bullying succeeds on playgrounds when there are no adults around. But it has no place in international diplomacy. We need some adults in Washington.