Michael KreponThe Tripartite Agreement

Here’s my two cent’s worth on the Iran-Brazil-Turkey trilateral agreement.

The heads of state of Brazil and Turkey appear to have made the avoidance of confrontation their top-most priority, trumping the avoidance of gains in Tehran’s ability to make nuclear weapons. We’ve seen this movie before, and the ending isn’t going to be pretty.

In deference to Brasilia and Ankara, I use the word “appear” because I have yet to read their take on whether they have extracted a “commitment” from Tehran not to enrich uranium beyond five per cent. When the fuel swap idea was first proposed, Tehran was enriching at five, not twenty per cent. Only after backing out of the deal did Tehran use its demise as pretext for upping its enrichment level. There is no longer a need for Tehran to enrich to twenty per cent if the Trilateral Agreement is implemented. If rolling back Iran’s enrichment to five per cent is not part of the deal, Brazil and Turkey have made a mess of their nuclear diplomacy.

Given where we are, the most important clause of the tripartite agreement, in my view, is paragraph six, which Jeffrey has kindly posted. To refresh your memory, it reads:

“Iran will notify the IAEA in writing through official channels of its agreement with the above within seven days following the date of this declaration. Upon the positive response of the Vienna Group (US, Russia, France and the IAEA) further details of the exchange will be elaborated through a written agreement and proper arrangement between Iran and the Vienna Group that specifically committed themselves to deliver 120 kg of fuel needed for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR).”

Paragraph six provides a mechanism to clarify that the swap’s original parameters remain valid. Without a roll-back of Iranian enrichment levels, the deal is not at all helpful.

Comments

  1. SB

    Apparently President Medvedev agrees about rolling back the enrichment levels. According to RIA Novosti:

    “The question is whether the amount of exchange operations will be sufficient and satisfy all members of the international community,” Medvedev said.

    He also expressed concern about Iran’s intentions to continue the enrichment process.

    “Judging by statements made by some Iranian officials, Iran will continue such work. If that is indeed the case, naturally, the international community’s concerns could remain,” he said.

  2. Arnold Evans

    “Isn’t all that helpful?” It fuels Iran’s reactor which is a purely humanitarian use and if the US wants, it gets them to the table.

    20% enrichment, if Iran agrees to the additional protocols, is not a problem as far as I can tell.

    Iran wont agree to the AP without talks that accept Iran’s right to enrich and leaves it the same strategic nuclear flexibility other NPT signatories such as Brazil, Japan, Romania and Canada have.

    What the deal has done already is clarified positions and sorted out which parties want a resolution and which do not.

  3. Quaking Nukes (History)

    http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Can_The_Iranian_Nuclear_Complex_Survive_A_Bad_Earthquake_999.html

    Can The Iranian Nuclear Complex Survive A Bad Earthquake

    by Claude Salhani

    UPI International Editor

    Washington (UPI) July 20, 2007

    The earthquake that shook the seven nuclear power plants in the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa complex was designed to withstand the force of a 6.5 quake. As it turned out, the quake registered 6.8 and caused about 50 different problems at the power plant, such as a fire, nuclear material seeping into water, and — unbelievable as it may sound — caused more than 400 drums containing low-level radioactive waste to topple over. And due to the severity of the quake, some of the drums broke open.

    It took about two hours for firefighters to extinguish the fire that had broken out as a result of the earthquake. This was the first time a nuclear plant was hit by an earthquake in Japan. Officials the next day spoke of reports “of a leak of radioactive water from one of three reactors into the Sea of Japan.”

    Now what would happen if the scenario was to unfold in Iran, where the building codes are not nearly as strict as those of Japan, and several of Iran’s nuclear facilities are situated near highly populated urban areas?

    The outcome of a tremor similar to the one that struck Japan earlier in the week, or one of a stronger magnitude in Iran, would have devastating consequences. Leakage from one of Iran’s nuclear facilities would send deadly clouds of nuclear material floating over densely populated areas. The results would be catastrophic, and not only for Iran. Depending on weather conditions, the lethal and invisible clouds could find themselves drifting over parts of the Gulf states, such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, or possibly parts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, contaminating oil facilities — the fields, refineries and oil terminals where the oil is pumped into giant tanker ships that then transports the oil to markets in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

    Should one or more of the giant oil facilities, such as Saudi Arabia’s installations at Abqaiq, become contaminated by nuclear fallout from one of Iran’s nuclear power plants, either due to a powerful earthquake or other natural or man-made disaster, the result would be devastating, not solely on the economic level, but also the effect it would have on the heath of the area’s population.

    We have seen the results of what happened at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, and the devastation it took on the people living and working in the vicinity of that station. All the precautions, safety measures and goodwill in the world might not be enough to deter what happened in Japan’s nuclear power plant from happening in Iran.

    ___

    http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1930622,00.html

    Where Will the Next Five Big Earthquakes Be?

    1. Los Angeles
    2. Tokyo
    3. Tehran
    4. Pacific Northwest
    5. Indonesia

  4. FSB

    One is free to agree or disagree with the agreement.

    However, let’s not cast the US’ view as representing that of the “international community” when Brazil and Turkey feel otherwise.

    China also agrees with the deal:

    http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Story/STIStory_528006.html

    19.75% enrichement is needed for MEDICAL reasons. People live in Iran — it is not a big bomb factory.

    Avoidance of conflict is an excellent reason to make the deal.

    The International community agrees with the deal and not with the US.

  5. Stephen (History)

    It is astonishingly interesting that Turkey and Brazil decided on this course without first having received US blessing. Have Turkey and Brazil just signalled that if Iran breaks out, then the NPT is finished?

    Both countries would be prime candidates for wanting nukes. Turkey shares a long border with Iran, was recently humiliated by Israel and lives in a generally dodgy neighbourhood that is particularly sensitive to the absolute decline in US hegemony.

    As for Brazil, I can see Brazil thinking that post the decline it would really like to take a leading role in South America by becoming the first person on the block with a shiny new nuke.

  6. FSB

    From masoud:

    The fact that the US and it’s allies have an easy time stacking the BOG doesn’t grant their legal arguments validity.

    Article 19 of Iran’s safeguards agreements spell out exactly when the BOG can “report” the IAEA to then XII of the Statute”>UNSC:
    ———————————————————————— Article 19 If the Board, upon examination of relevant information reported to it by the Director General, finds that the Agency is not able to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded under this Agreement, to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, it may make the reports provided for in paragraph C of Article XII of the Statute of the Agency (hereinafter
    referred to as “the Statute”) and may also take, where applicable, the other measures provided for in that paragraph. In taking such action the Board shall take account of the degree of assurance provided by the safeguards measures that have been applied and shall afford the Government of Iran every reasonable opportunity to furnish the Board with any necessary reassurance.
    ———————————————————————

    Article 22 explicitly denies the Agency the authority to “report” Iran to the UNSC for any other disagreements, and establishes the proper procedure for handling such circumstances:
    ——————————————————————- Article 22 Any dispute arising out of the interpretation or application of this Agreement, except a dispute with regard to a finding by the Board under Article 19 or an action taken by the Board pursuant to such a finding, which is not settled by negotiation or another procedure agreed to by the Government of Iran
    and the Agency shall, at the request of either, be submitted to an arbitral tribunal composed as follows:
    the Government of Iran and the Agency shall each designate one arbitrator, and the two arbitrators so designated shall elect a third, who shall be the Chairman. If, within thirty days of the request for arbitration, either the Government of Iran or the Agency has not designated an arbitrator, either the Government of Iran or the Agency may request the President of the International Court of Justice to appoint an arbitrator. The same procedure shall apply if, within thirty days of the designation or appointment of the second arbitrator, the third arbitrator has not been elected. A majority of the members of the arbitral tribunal shall constitute a quorum, and all decisions shall require the concurrence of two arbitrators. The arbitral procedure shall be fixed by the tribunal. The decisions of the tribunal shall be binding on the Government of Iran and the Agency.
    ————————————————————————

    The Agency has never found that it “is not able to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded under this Agreement”, so the Agency has no authority to report the matter to either the security council or the General Assembly. The fact that it did so contrary to the agreements in force render it’s findings moot. It may just as well have found that you need a haircut and reported you Extreme Makeover. Neither does the UNSC “calling upon” Iran to take measures to “comply with provisional measures” that have been explicitly identified as being “without prejudice to the rights, claims, or position of the parties concerned” under article 40 of the UN charter create any obligation for Iran under the either the NPT the it’s safeguards agreement, the IAEA statute(which it has not even ratified) or any other relevant instrument. Iran remains in full compliance with it’s international obligations, US propaganda notwithstanding.

    http://157.150.195.10/en/documents/charter/chapter7.shtml

    http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/Others/infcirc214.pdf

    http://www.iaea.org/About/statute_text.html

  7. FSB

    I say be bring masoud on ACW as a guest poster. For everyone’s info:

    There is no limit to enrichment level specified in the npt or any other agreement Iran has signed.It could legally enrich to 80 or 99 percent. The fact that it isn’t should be seen as a good will concession, not a provocation. All fuel so enriched will be rendered harmless as fuel plates under the supervision of the IAEA anyway, so there really is no cause for concern, if sub 20% enriched fuel was a cause for concern to begin with.

    -Iran would have to be insane not to continue its efforts to produce plate fuel. The west immediateley has started to look for ways to back out of the deal. It has imposed an artficial timeline of one year for the delivery of the fuel rods, and it’s as clear as day to everyone that it is Obama’s intention to hold that fuel hostage in order to eventually win further concessions. If the US is uncomfortable with Iran having to manufacuture it’s own fuel, it needs to boost Irans confidence in the continuity of fuel from outside sources.

    -We could go on for days and days about what this deal’s shortcomings are and what it doesn’t do: for example this deal doesn’t rub my feet or do the dishes. But it was never meant to do those things. It was meant to provide fuel for the TRR reactor. It really should have been a cash transaction. As a swap deal, the act of technical cooperation could have worked to increase confidence in the intentions of adversarial parties, if those intentions were amicable. The problem was the US did not have amicable intentions and was looking to opportunistically short change Iran. If it has to swallow a bitter pill this time around, maybe that means it will be more serious in the future.

  8. Alan (History)

    Quaking Nukes – all of which is precisely why the US will never bomb the Iranian installations, and why the Gulf States will never support any US strategy that contemplates it.

  9. FSB

    Stephen,
    you are right — let’s sanction Brazil and Turkey, and while we are at it Israel also. It’s good to be in the United States of the World.

    The NPT is a very specific bargain — if you don’t like it, negotiate another one. Good luck with that.

  10. shaheen

    FSB:

    “All fuel so enriched will be rendered harmless as fuel plates under the supervision of the IAEA anyway”

    – Nothing in the tripartite arrangement says that the 20% U produced by Iran will be converted to anything.

    “19.75% enrichement is needed for MEDICAL reasons”

    – But why then would Iran produce it itself, and announce that it would continue to do so even if the deal is implemented, given that it does not have the ability and knowledge to make fuel rods specifically adapted for the TRR?

  11. Alan (History)

    Masoud – the IAEA Board reports ALL say, in one way or another, that they cannot “verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded under this Agreement”.

    For example, the Feb 2010 report, point 46: “While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

    Or Nov 2009, point 36: “Unless Iran implements the Additional Protocol and, through substantive dialogue, clarifies the outstanding issues to the satisfaction of the Agency, the Agency will not be in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.”

  12. FSB

    shaheen,
    in both cases: because nothing Iran has signed says it is not allowed to do so.

    Maybe it would like to have the knowledge and ability in the future to make fuel rods. Why do you care? None of your business, really. Iran is a sovereign state.

    What document have you seen that says Iran cannot enrich to 19.75, or 34 or 56 or 80 or 99%?

    I am sympathetic that you are uncomfortable with Iran. I am sure Iran is uncomfortable with the US Army on its two borders, and also with American nuclear weapons.

    Just be plain why US wants sanctions: because Iran is not or friend nor a client state that we permit to have nuclear knowledge, like Pakistan.

  13. FSB

    Alan,
    the Feb 2010 report, point 46: “While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran…” That is enough to satisfy the letter of the safeguards agreement.

    Please read the safe guards agreement:

    Article 19
    If the Board, upon examination of relevant information reported to it by the Director General,
    finds that the Agency is not able to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded under this Agreement…”

    Sure, you might like another agreement, but Iran is in compliance with what it has signed.

  14. masoud (History)

    Hi Alan,

    If the rest of the world wants to be a bunch of pedantic pricks, they’re very welcome to it. But what they can not do invent legal standards on the fly, no matter how close those new standards sound to actually relevant standards. BTW, the clause “cannot verify all nuclear material is in peaceful activities” does not even make grammatical sense, so either way it’s hard to see how it could be the basis of anything.

    The relevant standard, again, is “finds that the Agency is not able to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded”. So the agency needs to make a finding to the effect that they can not verify the lack of a diversion. The word “Diversion” plays quite a prominent role in this standard. Material is diverted only when it had been a declared part of Iran’s nuclear program, and all of a sudden disappears without reasonable explanation. Not even the BOG, as politicized as it has become, has ever suggested anything approaching this.

    You should also note Article 1 of the SA which establishes the purpose of the agreement, maintains that Agencies jurisdiction as:
    “…on all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within its territory, under its jurisdiction or carried out under its control anywhere, for the exclusive purpose of verifying that such material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”.

    The Agency’s purview is limited to verifying that there has been no diversion from the declared, peaceful, activities of Iran. The Agency has committed, and explicitly barred itself from finding Iran in non-compliance or reporting Iran to the UNSC in anything but those circumstances.

    So even if Amano is truly kept up late at night with nightmares that Iran has a completely separate nuclear program, and might even be experimenting with some fissionable material in that program, he can not find Iran in non compliance unless he has reasonable grounds for suspecting Iran has diverted material from it’s declared activities to that program. If the situation falls short of that and he’s truly upset, though, he has the option of convening a panel to arbitrate the matter as set out in Paragraph 22 of Iran’s SA.

    Someone else doesn’t like it? Too bad. Facts are facts. Iran remains in full compliance with it’s safeguards agreement.

    Masoud

  15. hass (History)

    Alan — the IAEA only verifies that ALL nuclear material in a country has not been diverted IF the Additional Protocol is in force. When not in force — with Iran and most of the other countries of the world — the IAEA need only verify that DECLARED nuclear material have not been diverted. That has been done for Iran, so Iran is in compliance with its safeguards and NPT, like it or not. The IAEA similarly hasn’t verified that there are no undeclared or diverted” nuclear material in Brazil or S. Korea or all the other countries that are not AP signatories.

  16. Alan (History)

    FSB – the key, and only, point is the word “declared”. The IAEA qualify their findings by applying them to “declared” facilities only. They also need to verify that there is no undeclared nuclear material as well. They consider they have not been able to do that, because of a lack of Iranian cooperation, and that is why Iran is considered to be non-compliant by the IAEA.

  17. Alan (History)

    Masoud – I might be a prick, but “pedantic” is nothing short of an intolerable slur.

    So, your argument rests on the fact that you believe the IAEA is only permitted to safeguard declared, peaceful facilities, and has no right to verify the absence of non-peaceful nuclear facilities, the existence of which would be a violation of Article II of the NPT.

    Hmmmm. Can you let me know whether I’ve got that right? It bothers me a little, because it would appear to render the entire framework pointless.

  18. FSB

    Here is the real problem:

    SecState Clinton to Iran: “You do not have the right to full enrichment and reprocessing cycle under your control.”

    NPT Article IV: “Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.”

    This is also why the “international community” has a negative view of the US.

  19. b (History)

    Michael says:
    “I use the word “appear” because I have yet to read their take on whether they have extracted a “commitment” from Tehran not to enrich uranium beyond five per cent. “

    That commitment was not asked for in the original “offer” the U.S. made.

    Why do you expect that commitment to be made now? That is called “moving the goal posts”.

    Michal says:

    “There is no longer a need for Tehran to enrich to twenty per cent if the Trilateral Agreement is implemented. “

    Really? No agreement to the point of delivering the needed fuel has been implemented as neither Brazil nor Turkey have the capacity to deliver it plus btw. the U.S. just sabotaged that deal.

    Why should Iran give up the chance to keep the TRR running and the lives of Iranians on cancer saved if it does not have ironclad guarantees that it will receive the needed fuel in time?

    Michael – I have seen better reasoning by you …

  20. hass (History)

    All of this could have been avoided if the US just allowed Iran to buy the fuel for the reactor — the same reactor that the US gave to Iran in the first place, along with some weapons-grade uranium (Iran later converted the reactor to use lower-enriched uranium as fuel) — on the open market, under full IAEA safeguards, as usual. But no, we had to and try to strongarm the Iranians on even that. Well now they’re enriching to 20% and have the world’s sympathy. How’s that for a diplomatic blunder? What were we trying to accomplish by denying fuel to a well-known safeguarded civilian reactor used to make isotopes for cancer patients?

  21. hass (History)

    Alan doesn’t seem to understand that the BOG is not in charge of determining safeguards violations — inspectors are. And, that the BOG doesn’t get to make its own laws and rules on the fly. Iran’s safeguards agreement exclusively applies to nuclear material — not missiles and “alleged studies” for which there is zero evidence of any nuclear material use.

  22. Alan (History)

    Hass – I agree totally with your 2.20 post.

    Regarding your 2.22 post, it was the inspectors that reported they were unable to verify the non-existence of undeclared facilities and nuclear material.

    Regarding your 11.02 post, I am not aware of how a CSA allows undeclared nuclear sites while the AP does not. Can you clarify?

  23. Azr@el (History)

    I understand the point repetitively made by the authors of the ACW, namely that Iran is violating the NPT, etc, etc, etc. It is of course a false argument, if they actually internalize the argument that is a little sad but nothing to lose sleep over. Is there a double and triple standard, yes. Does the US believe proliferation is okay for a few and so much for others? Yes. So what? As the sole remaining superpower the US has the right to determine these matters.

    With START convincing Medvedev to pull a Yeltsin and our willingness to give the PRC a slide on currency manipulation, we now have the two holdouts on the P5 ready to play ball. We can threaten and bribe at least 3(chances are good for 7) rotating members of the UNSC and we’ll have another round of sanctions sail thru. In the process, a clear message will be sent to Brazil and Turkey to remember their place in the system. Hopefully the slap across Turkey’s face will be sufficient for the Turkish General Staff to grow a pair and do what Turkish generals are good for; removing uppity Turkish governments.

    Brazil will in a best case scenario take this loss as a signal to go back and play in their pond. Global politics is not about law, fairness or anything else, it is about the interests of nations. Laws and sanctions are just more cost effective ways of implementing US policies than Wars and Blockades…but that doesn’t mean all options are not on the table.

  24. masoud (History)

    Hi Alan,

    I of course wasn’t talking about you. I don’t talk that way to people when they can hear me. Incidentally, in my book pedantic is a complement:)

    My argument does not rest on what the IAEA has a right to investigate. My argument rests on Article 22 of Iran’s safeguards agreement which unequivocally states that the IAEA has no authority to find Iran in non-compliance or report it to the security council unless it is unable to verify the non diversion of nuclear material.

    We can go back and forth about what the else they can investigate, but none of that is actually material to the question at hand. But since you did ask, your rendering is pretty close to Article one of the safeguards agreement.
    “ Article 1
    The Government of Iran undertakes, pursuant to paragraph 1 of Article III of the Treaty, to
    accept safeguards, in accordance with the terms of this Agreement, on all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within its territory, under its jurisdiction or carried out under its control anywhere, for the exclusive purpose of verifying that such material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

    I disagree with your assertion that this is useless. A useless npt would be one that demands all adherents surrender their sovereignty to the IAEA board, and legally obliges them to undertake their arbitrary dictates or that council of any body it decides to report the matter to. No one would sign up.

    The basic deal in the IAEA is not a bad one: if don’t develop nuclear weapons, we’ll give you all the help developing any other nuclear technology you might wish, and by the way, we are getting rid of our own weapons imminently. The safeguards serve the purpose of verifying that no state is actually diverting the aid received to nuclear weapons, and they do it smartly, by scrupulously monitoring and keeping track of the fissile material needed to make weapons. If any diversion is detected, that nation is named, and publicly shamed into giving up arms.(this doesn’t work when the nation in question knows that it is not developing arms, still less when it has the support of 120 fellow member nations)

    There really is no reason that this shouldn’t work if it was ever really implemented in good faith. On the other hand, it would be insane to try and turn the IAEA into some super spy/police agency, constantly and simultaneously at work expose and foil proliferation plots in 180 different member nations, even if you could get the world to accept IAEA suzerainty over it.

    In other news, it seems that my previous linguistic oversight has pricked the proprietor of this establishment the wrong way. If the word in question could be censored and the post republished,or emailed to me so that I could do the same in order maintain the continuity of this discussion, i’d be much obliged.

    Masoud

  25. masoud (History)

    Azrael,

    Astutely put, but I think you’re off the mark. If the US thought it could militarily rout Iran, it would have done so long ago. It was too timid to take on the task in the early 2000’s, and it hasn’t gotten any stronger. I think it’s well understood in the world that the only reason is trying the multilateral, legalistic route is because it has exhausted all it’s other options. It’s been trying to get gasoline and central bank sanctions against Iran for the past two years, but the draft put out yesterday contains not a word about any of that. The US used to be the last remaining Super Power, but now it can’t even keep NATO in line. The sooner it comes to realize this, the easier it’ll be.

    Masoud

  26. Andy (History)

    Masoud,

    I did not get a chance to read your earlier comment which is apparently now gone, but as to this:

    My argument does not rest on what the IAEA has a right to investigate. My argument rests on Article 22 of Iran’s safeguards agreement which unequivocally states that the IAEA has no authority to find Iran in non-compliance or report it to the security council unless it is unable to verify the non diversion of nuclear material.

    …that is exactly the case today. The Agency isn’t able to verify the non-diversion of material – only the non-diversion of declared material. As you probably know, the Agency’s authority under the NPT extends to all material and activities whether declared or not, not just declared material. This general authority is not limited by a CSA but is inherent in the NPT. What is limited is the IAEA’s legal authority to carry out it’s verification mission. So the IAEA’s right to investigate IS relevant here.

    You may be interested in the Agency’s viewpoint. The following was written by the IAEA’s chief lawyer, Laura Rockwood, back in the late 1990’s (sorry for the long quote, but it’s all important):

    Because a safeguards agreement is a treaty, the responsibility to fulfill the obligations of the agreement rests with the Government of the State that is party to the agreement. For example, if the operator of a privately-owned facility subject to safeguards refused to allow IAEA inspectors to conduct a properly scheduled inspection, the IAEA would request the Government of the State concerned to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that Agency inspectors have adequate access to the facility. If the Government did not or could not obtain adequate access for the inspectors, then the Government, not the operator, would have violated the agreement unless the failure to do so was excused. It is the Government’s responsibility to ensure that persons under its jurisdiction act in accordance with the treaty obligations assumed by that Government.
    The information that safeguards inspector is likely to uncover, however, is such that, rather than demonstrating a clear violation of the agreement it would raise doubts as to whether the State is fulfilling its obligations under the agreement. Regardless of the type of agreement, the IAEA has the right and the duty to try to resolve these doubts through the examination of the information assembled and the obtaining from the State of additional information and/or access to additional locations.
    If such doubts cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the Director General, the Director General would report, under an INFCIRC/153 agreement, to the Board of Governors that action by the State concerned is essential and urgent to ensure the verification of non-diversion or report to the Board the Agency’s inability to verify that nuclear material required to be safeguarded has not been diverted, or, under an INFCIRC/66/Rev.2 agreement, that the State is in non-compliance with the agreement.
    Any actions considered by the Board to be “essential and urgent” are required to be implemented by the State without delay. If the State does not take the required action, the Board may conclude, on the basis of the information reported to it by the Director General, that the IAEA cannot fulfill its obligation under the agreement to verify non-diversion; the Board may also find that the State is in further non-compliance with its safeguards agreement.
    The nature of non-compliance by a State with its safeguards obligations may vary. Noncompliance could derive, for example, from the unaccounted for presence or absence of nuclear material, from misleading and/or falsified records or reports, from the denial of access to Agency inspectors, or from the tampering with Agency instruments or seals, or, as indicated above, from failure to carry out actions determined by the Board to be essential and urgent. Upon report by the Director General to the Board, the Board is to call upon the Sate concerned to remedy forthwith any non-compliance which the Board finds to have occurred. The Board is also required to report such non-compliance to all Members of the IAEA and to the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations. Since the inception of safeguards, the IAEA has reported to the Security Council cases of non-compliance under three agreements.
    Under the Statute of the Agency, failure by a State to take fully corrective action within a reasonable time with respect to non-compliance could subject the State to curtailment or suspension of assistance provided by the Agency or by a Member State, to the recall of material and equipment, and to the suspension of the privileges and rights of Agency membership. Non-compliance may also trigger measures by the Security Council within the framework of the United Nations Charter.

    So the situation with Iran is at an impasse – the Agency is unable verify the non-diversion of nuclear material and Iran is unwilling to grant the Agency the the information and access it says it needs. Whether or not one believes Iran’s refusal is justified, the authority for the Agency to refer Iran to the UNSC is pretty clear.

  27. masoud (History)

    Hi Andy,

    It’s not my position that Iran’s situation with the IAEA is hunky dory. It’s my position that Articles 19 and 22 of Iran’s safeguards agreement establishes strict grounds on which it can be found in noncompliance. Which is to say— the agency can only do this if it is unable to verify non-diversion. If the purpose of articles 19 or 22 was to leave open other grounds on which Iran could be found in non-compliance, such as the Agency being unable to verify the non-existence or suspecting the non-declaration of an illicit program, or even the discovery of a weaponisation program to which no fissile material had been diverted, it would have done so explicitly. Instead it did something quite different—it restricted these grounds to non-diversion, as in “this UF6 was was here month ago all safe and secure and under seal, but it has since been diverted somewhere else” or “I can’t get to the warehouse were the UF6 was put under seal, it may have therefore been diverted elsewhere, that is something i am unable to verify” .

    Iran has committed to put fissile material related to all peaceful nuclear activities under safeguards, and the IAEA has the authority to find Iran in non-compliance if it ever diverts material away from those safeguards, or if the IAEA can’t verify that it hasn’t. The IAEA has no obligation or authority to find Iran in non-compliance based on the disappointing result of a wild goose chase for undeclared material, or wild speculation about how it doesn’t know that such material doesn’t exist. Once again, the watch phrase is “verification of non-diversion”.

    I found nothing objectionable in Ms. Rockwood’s piece. Here’s an important passage “The nature of non-compliance by a State with its safeguards obligations may vary.” For Iran, the criteria is clear and unambiguously narrow, for other states, their SA may provide the IAEA more latitude.

    If the IAEA has problems with Iran, but can still account for every scrap of Uranium that it has put under safeguards(which at present it can), it is free to establish an arbitration panel under Article 22 of Iran’s SA to settle the matter.

    Masoud

  28. masoud (History)

    To wit, Andy, it is nonsensical to speak of ‘diversion’ of material that is already under the radar, that material had necessarily already been diverted if it was under the radar to begin with. If the board can genuinely not verify the non-diversion of certain materials, it can tell us which materials in particular it is talking about.

    Again, the criteria for non-compliance is “unable to verify non-diversion” of safeguarded material, not “unable to verify non-existence” of potentially non-fictional material.

    Masoud

  29. masoud (History)

    Azrael,

    With regards to your last question, I can only answer for myself, and the answer I have to give is not the one you suggest. And for what it’s worth I think most of Iran agrees with me.

    I think your evaluation of the military situation is not entirely unfair. I do give Iran a lot more credit in being able to target not only shipping in the gulf, but US military assets. US Navy is built for the open sea, not the straits of Hormuz. If anything merchant ship interference would only be used as tactic to lure US assets into the midst of mines or Iran’s significant anti-ship missile forces. Do you think that as of today, US force bases in the area have the ability to shoot Shahab’s or Sejil’s out of the air? What does the US really know about where Iran’s forces are deployed or will be deployed at war time? More than Israel knew about Lebanon in 2006, or less? If I remember correctly, the US was not able to find even a single mobile SCUD launcher in Iraq in the original gulf war. Conversely, is there a single US or allied base in the region whose exact coordinates are not known to Iran?

    I agree with you that the US can devastate Iran’s civil population at will, but i don’t see how this will translate into a military advantage, or how US planner’s can believe it will, barring of course an all out extermination campaign, which I find an unlikely possibility.

    All in all, the US’ biggest weakness is one of morale, it won’t be able to explain the massive losses that it’s military and possibly civilian population will have to sustain to it’s domestic audience, and will have to beat an exit a la Hanoi. This is one problem Iran doesn’t need to worry about. And what can it possibly gain? Another protracted land war? The chance to vacate all it’s basses in China’s vicinity to fight that war? $1000 barrels of oil and the end of it’s global leadership? The US is stupid but it can still do basic cost benefit analysis. In 2010, talk is of diplomacy and sanctions, and the US has shown itself to be incompetent on this front as well. It has no choice but to back down and learn to age gracefully. What I’ve seen of US generals thus far actually has been fairly impressive: top-level resignations by officials who love their army too much to play chicken with the authors of the Human Wave play book.

    With regards to your opening proposition, I just reread my own post, and I’m worried if it’s not too late for me already. But hey, if there’s a chance you might be wrong about something, why not go out in style?

  30. Bahram Chubak (History)

    Azr@el,

    If by “dooming the Israeli experiment” you mean severe harm to Israel, allow me to raise a different point. If there is a balance of power in the region, Israel will be more likely to come to a peace settlement with the Palestinians, as Israel will recognize that it may not have the luxury of dictating to Palestinians. It will recognize that it needs to arrive at an agreement that is acceptable to both parties, and it will seek to satisfy the Palestinians.

    Now, Iran has been repeating for almost 15 years that although it prefers a one-state-solution, if the Palestinians & Israelis do reach an agreement on a two-state solution, Iran will support that. This policy has been repeated nearly verbatim under multiple administrations (Rafsanjani, Khatami, Ahmadinjejad). It is a stable element of Iran’s foreign policy.

    Seen in this light, if Israel’s neighbors become more powerful, that can lead to detente, result in a peace settlement with Palestinians, and bring about regional peace. Peace will be beneficial to Israel as well as every other nation in the region.

    Bahram

  31. Georg Schoefbaenker (History)

    Who is building Uranium warheads?

    Israel. No -> Dimona. About the size and power of Arak.

    Pak. No -> Heavy water. Natural Uranium.

    India. Same as Pak. Got the Candu from the Canadians.

    The Norks. Smile. Plutonium.

    The Canadians, before they stopped their bomb option: Heavy water, Uranium (Candu reactor).

    The Swiss, as the the planned in the 1950s. The same.

    Some more to mention.

    Even Busher – not operational right now – could be used with a low burn-up as an efficient Plutonium breeder.

    Maybe the enrichment hype is a headfake?
    A bargaining chip?
    Why the hell, the Mullahs need Arak?
    Why did they not declare some 30 metric tons of heavy water at Esfahan to the IAEA?

  32. FSB

    Alan,
    in fact I addressed your point in my last post at 10:12 am — repeat:

    The Feb 2010 report, point 46: “While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran…” That is enough to satisfy the letter of the safeguards agreement.

    Please read the safe guards agreement:

    Article 19
    If the Board, upon examination of relevant information reported to it by the Director General,
    finds that the Agency is not able to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded under this Agreement…”

    Sure, you might like another agreement, but Iran is in compliance with what it has signed.

    Iran has not signed the AP.

    Iran is in full compliance with what it has signed.

  33. anonymous (History)

    And why does the Mo-99 generation (the medical isotope) have to be co-located in Iran? Russia is only a few hours away by air and poses no nuclear weapons proliferation risk. The Mo-99 generation using 20% enriched targets is a side show to either 1) build trust, or 2) get more enriched Uranium into Iran.

    And exactly how much Pu-239 can be extracted from the irradiated target in the same hot cells used for the separation of the Mo-99?

    Finally, the new (ineffective) sanctions allow Iran an additional 12 months to amass further enriched Uranium via the centrifuge facilities. If Iran’s purpose is to construct a nuclear weapon, nothing in the sanctions or the Turkey/Brazil plan is doing anything to slow down the realization of this objective.

    This leads me to speculate why it is in Russia’s and China’s best interest to assist Iran in obtaining sufficient fissile material for one or more weapons. Does it advance their business interests in the region by interfering with Saudi and American business interests?

    This has nothing to do with medical isotopes which can be obtained via much less risky means.

    -Anonymous Contributor

  34. Andy (History)

    Masoud,

    All I can say is that your interpretation of the relevant articles is quite a bit different the the Agency’s, the BoG countries and even the UNSC. There isn’t much support at all for that view which is probably why Hass has been posting the same LCNP “analysis” here for three years now because that’s about all there is in terms of legal analysis for this viewpoint.

    I also find it puzzling you find nothing objectionable in the Rockwood piece, for it directly contradicts your arguments. If the Agency has “doubts as to whether the State is fulfilling its obligations under the agreement” then it will try to resolve those doubts. Then:

    If the State does not take the required action, the Board may conclude, on the basis of the information reported to it by the Director General, that the IAEA cannot fulfill its obligation under the agreement to verify non-diversion; the Board may also find that the State is in further non-compliance with its safeguards agreement.

    The Agency doesn’t need definitive proof that safeguarded material was diverted to determine noncompliance – a State’s lack of cooperation can be sufficient. And when you think about, it has to be this way – otherwise a State could stonewall any Agency investigation and suffer no penalties. In other words, your interpretation would make CSA’s essentially meaningless.

  35. Barmak (History)

    Georg S,
    Arak can be easily bombed. Iran needs the centrifuge program as insurance, whether or not they intend to use Arak to make nuclear bombs. I think if Iran ever made nuclear bombs they would probably never make any uranium bombs, like you said.

    Also I don’t think there is going to be any sanctions against Iran this time. China wants to please US, but don’t underestimate Iran. Iran is the world’s 16th largest economy and that’s set to grow. China’s trade with Iran is over $20 billion and is growing. Chinese companies have no US competition in Iran, and European companies are leaving Iran one by one. China is not going to give this up anymore than US is going to give up its influence in Arab sheikdoms. Of course China doesn’t want to anger US over Iran, but US doesn’t want to anger China over Iran either. If UN does pass any sanctions it will be watered down.

  36. Mark

    Again Alan: the IAEA dies not verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material or facilities for ANY country unless the AP is in force. This is not a safeguards violation. The IAEa has not verified the absence of undeclared facilities in Egypt, S Korea, etc. See, under the existing safeguards Iran is required to declare it nuclear material, and the IAEa then verifies that the declared nuclear material has not been diverted. (If there is reason to suspect that not all the stuff has been declared then the BOG can demand special inspection) but since Iraq cheated by not declaring everything, the AP was created in 1997 which allows more intrusive inspections. Once those inpections are done, the IAEA can go a step further and also verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material. Get it? The reason why the IAEA cannot verify the absence of undeclraeed nuclear material in Iran is simply because the AP is not in force there (though the Iranians did implement it anyway for 2.5 years with zero evidence if undeclared nuclear material found) OK? And the IAEa has said it doesn’t have any evidence of undeclared nuclear material either. so Once again, the IAEAs inability to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material in Iran is NOT a safeguards violation by Iran. Clear now?

  37. Mark

    Andy : Iran did take corrective action and did resolve the issues about past undeclared activities to the satisfaction of the IAEa. Read the Feb 2008 report. The only outstanding issue is the so called Alleged Studies that according to the IAEA do not involve a nuclear material and so are not even the subject of Irans safeguads agreement which is explicitly limited to the exclusive purpose of verifying nondiversion. The IAEA has always confirmed nondiversion in Uran and so there was no basis to send Irans file to the UNSC and in fact there is dome debated on whether Irans file was referred or merely reported to the UNSC.

  38. Alan (History)

    Masoud – I don’t think your attempt to shoehorn Safeguards into a narrow definition of diversion cuts the mustard.

    As a non-nuclear weapon state signatory to the NPT, every nuclear facility in Iran, declared or otherwise, is by definition peaceful (as per Article II of the CSA) and subject to safeguards.

    If it is not safeguarded, the IAEA cannot confirm non-diversion.

    I imagine the particular concern would be the Green Salt project (which Iran denies the existence of), which may have produced or be producing bomb materiel.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think Iran are chasing a bomb, and that there has been a bit of strong-arming in the IAEA BOG to get a non-compliance referral to the UNSC. El Baradei opposed it I believe. But I don’t think your argument does the cause any favours. Iran needs to play it straight down the line over these Alleged Studies accusations, which means continuing to insist the IAEA present their evidence in full before Iran is held to account over it.

  39. FSB

    One gets a bid tired.

    Andy — you say:

    “The Agency doesn’t need definitive proof that safeguarded material was diverted to determine noncompliance – a State’s lack of cooperation can be sufficient.”

    And in such a case Article 19 of the SA tells us the procedure to follow: it does not include referral to UNSC.

    The Feb 2010 report, point 46: “While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran…” That is enough to satisfy the letter of the safeguards agreement.

    Iran can be genrally disagreeable with the IAEA — and it is — and in such a case the procedure to follow is well delineated:

    “Article 22 Any dispute arising out of the interpretation or application of this Agreement, except a dispute with regard to a finding by the Board under Article 19 or an action taken by the Board pursuant to such a finding, which is not settled by negotiation or another procedure agreed to by the Government of Iran
    and the Agency shall, at the request of either, be submitted to an arbitral tribunal composed as follows:
    the Government of Iran and the Agency shall each designate one arbitrator, and the two arbitrators so designated shall elect a third, who shall be the Chairman. If, within thirty days of the request for arbitration, either the Government of Iran or the Agency has not designated an arbitrator, either the Government of Iran or the Agency may request the President of the International Court of Justice to appoint an arbitrator. The same procedure shall apply if, within thirty days of the designation or appointment of the second arbitrator, the third arbitrator has not been elected. A majority of the members of the arbitral tribunal shall constitute a quorum, and all decisions shall require the concurrence of two arbitrators. The arbitral procedure shall be fixed by the tribunal. The decisions of the tribunal shall be binding on the Government of Iran and the Agency.”
    ————————————————————————

    Ala, yes Iran needs to play it straight. And if it does not Article 22 above tells us what is to be done.

  40. FSB

    I meant Article 22 instead of 19 in my post above. Should read:

    “And in such a case Article 22 of the SA tells us the procedure to follow: it does not include referral to UNSC.”

    No one is disputing that IAEA is angry with Iran — the problem is the proper procedure for resolving the dispute is not being followed at the insistence of the US via the P5.

    The Turkey-Brazil deal is identical to what was proposed by the US admin. a few short months ago.

    As Gary Sick states:

    “Although angst is high among the sanctions-at-all-costs crowd, this path to a nuclear swap deal was fully endorsed by the United States and was the centerpiece of the justification for sanctions. One way to respond at this point may just be to declare that our threat of sanctions worked: Iran has capitulated and we accept yes as an answer.”

    But, alas, it appears we must have sanctions to placate domestic lobbies.

  41. Alan (History)

    Correction to 6.46am post above. It should read Article II of the NPT, not the CSA, as follows:

    “As a non-nuclear weapon state signatory to the NPT, every nuclear facility in Iran, declared or otherwise, is by definition peaceful (as per Article II of the NPT) and subject to safeguards.

    Mark – the AP gives the IAEA more scope to weed out covert activities. If the absence of undeclared facilities can only be determined through application of the AP, then by not implementing them, Iran is simply leaving the door wide open for a finding of non-compliance by the IAEA BOG, almost at will.

    Well, not quite at will; they need grounds for suspicion, but as we have seen that needn’t present too great an obstacle.

    FSB – Articles 1, 2 and 19 of the CSA are not limited by the word “declared”. As such, the part of point 46 that you quote is insufficient to avoid a finding of non-compliance under Article 19.

    If there were no reason to be suspicious, it probably WOULD be enough.

  42. Arnold Evans (History)

    Alan, this is what it sounds like you’re saying.

    1) Most states have not ratified, nor do they implement APs.

    2) The IAEA cannot verify the non-diversion of all material that should be declared in any nation unless that nation implements the AP.

    3) Most nations today can be reported to the UN Security Council which can, among other things, demand that those nations ratify the NPT and implement it. In other words, ratification of the AP, which is a modification of a state’s reporting requirements, is not a sovereign decision.

    4) Before the 1990s when the AP was written, every single non-weapons NPT signatory was in violation of their safeguards agreements because there was not one nation at that time for which the IAEA could verify the non-diversion of material that might exist and whose existence can only be credibly denied by the implementation of the AP.

    The standard pro-Western argument is that the AP does not introduce new requirements, but that its requirements are part of the safeguards agreements.

    That Iran was reported to the UNSC rather than the over 80 other nations for which the UN cannot certify the non-diversion of materials that may or may not exist is political.

    I’m not sure why you care. If that really was the law, and I don’t think it is, and nobody in Iran thinks it is, but it being the law not hold Iran back any more than the crystal clear prohibition on attacking other countries prevented the US invasion of Iraq.

    Or the Geneva conventions force Obama to investigate and prosecute US officials for whom credible evidence exists that they engaged in torture.

    But if you insist that every nation has a responsibility to apply a standard that can only be reached by implementing the AP

  43. Andy (History)

    FSB,

    Article 19 clearly states that it is the IAEA board which determines if “…the Agency is not able to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required
    to be safeguarded under this Agreement….” It’s the board (not Iran, not FSB, not Andy, not anyone, any organization or any state except the board) which determines if a particular situation rises to a level where a finding of noncompliance under article 19 is required. Like it or not, that is exactly what the board did in the case of Iran. Furthermore, as it clearly states in article 22, interpretive disputes over article 19 are specifically exempted from the procedures outlined in article 22. The noncompliance finding was under article 19, so article 22 is irrelevant for this particular dispute with Iran (an example of a dispute where article 22 could apply is the disagreement over the code 3.1 subsidiary agreement).

    In short the argument that the board’s article 19 finding must use the procedures in article 22 is directly countered by article 22 itself.

    Now, what you may be trying to argue (and correct me if I’m wrong), is that the standard the board used under article 19 with respect to Iran was unreasonable. In other words, you may think that Iran’s lack of cooperation with the Agency is not sufficient for the board to invoke noncompliance under article 19. Like anyone else, you are entitled to your opinion and obviously reasonable minds may differ on what the standard should be – However, a difference of opinion does not change the fact that it is the board, and not anyone else, that is empowered to make such judgments and those judgments cannot be disputed under article 22 because they flow from article 19 which is exempted.

    If you think about it, that exemption is necessary. Without it, a state could force arbitration under any circumstance simply by claiming an interpretive dispute under article 22. Without the exemption a state would have a veto on any attempt by the BoG to find it in noncompliance.

  44. FSB

    I shall try again:

    “not able to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded …”

    Iran has not signed the AP.

    Disputes are to be handled under the procedures outlined in Art 22.

    In no case can anyone force zero enrichment upon Iran. You can try to force compliance, but not zero enrichment.

    NPT Article IV: “Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.”

    The US, by supplying India with U (which allows them to channel their U to military purposes) is in greater contravention of the NPT, Article frickin’ I.

    Glass houses, Andy, glass houses.

    Zero enrichment, as a goal of the sanctions, is an outright abrogation of the NPT.

    Iran is not in compliance? OK, have sanctions till they are compliant — but enforcing zero enrichment is illegit.

  45. FSB

    Can the IAEA verify that there has been diversion of undeclared material in Brazil?

    Or read this — or is everyone too busy with Iran to care.

    What if Ahmedinejad said this

    Having a quadruple-standard at the BoG is hardly a recipe for long term success.

    When do we sanction Brazil?

    Are no domestic lobbies afraid of a Brazilian bomb at all?

  46. MK (History)

    Gentlemen:
    Enough already!
    MK

  47. masoud (History)

    So your argument, Andy, is that because the CSA identified a very specific circumstance under which it can find Iran in noncompliance, then it also bestowed the authority on the board to find Iran in non-compliance under every other circumstance, because, as you have “it is the board that decides”? This is a position beyond satire.
    One more time:
    1.The relevant standard is“unable to verify non-diversion”.
    2. The IAEA can, and indeed has verified non-diversion, because it can account(/has accounted/is accounting) for every scrap of fissile material it has ever tracked in Iran. So there is no need to speculate about what it is able and unable to do.
    3. The Board therefore has no authority for a finding of non-compliance.

    The AP is irrelevant to this discussion as it is not in force, and no body in the world has or ever will have the authority to demand that Iran ratify it.
    Generalities written over a decade ago, about how the CSA works with regards to most states, by a lawyer that is an advocate of the overstepping organ in this matter also has no authoritative bearing on the issue.

    Maybe this is the problem: the word “diversion” is quite different from the word “declaration”. I promise you it is, you can consult a dictionary if you like. To be “Diverted” doesn’t mean to be stored in a super secret place. To be “Diverted” means that you could be accounted for last month, but now you can’t be accounted for. Every scrap of fissile material that the IAEA has ever come across in the past fourty years, it can account for today, meaning, once again, that the IAEA not only CAN but HAS verified non-diversion.
    Saying it has “verified non-diversion of declared material in Iran” is akin to saying “eaten all the edible food on the plate”. If one is naive, one may ask is there some non-edible food on the plate that should be eaten? But after some reflection, one should come to the realization that if it is not edible, it’s not food, and we shouldn’t worry about eating it.

    Alan, Andy, if you want to win this argument, your task is clear: Explain to me, in a manner consistent with the English Language, how an object whose existence i am not aware of can be diverted away from my attention.

    Masoud

  48. anon

    Referral to the UNSC for sanctions is an incorrect process for the simple reason that P5 countries could never have this process applied to them.

    If the US was found in contravention of Article I of the NPT — as it should — what would referral to the UNSC achieve, since the US wields veto power there?

    The entire process Iran is being dragged through is bogus and illicit.

  49. Andy (History)

    FSB,

    “Iran has not signed the AP.”

    The text you quote is from Iran’s existing CSA which has been agreed to by Iran and which existed long before the AP was even conceived.

    Masoud,

    As I’ve pointed out before, diversion is not limited to declared material, but also includes material that should have been declared but wasn’t. The IAEA has verified the non-diverson of declared material only.

    Article 19 isn’t limited to declared material either. If the Agency suspects such material may exist based on information it receives, it is obligated to pursue that and states are obligated provide answers. Because of Iran’s long history of deception and the because of the remaining outstanding issues, the Agency believes that sufficient doubt exists such that it requires greater cooperation from Iran in settling those issues and erasing those doubts. If a country refuses, and if, in the opinion of the board, the doubts are sufficiently great, then the board can find the country in noncompliance.

    Obviously, some people are concerned that the board has such wide latitude and there has been talk of coming up with more specific guidelines on this aspect, which I think is a good idea.

    Actually, rather than take up more space here on this topic I’ll simply suggest you read this which I think provides a thorough and fair examination of the issue and speaks to most of the points you raise in your last comment.

    Generalities written over a decade ago, about how the CSA works with regards to most states, by a lawyer that is an advocate of the overstepping organ in this matter also has no authoritative bearing on the issue.

    Well, Laura Rockwood isn’t just some lawyer speaking in generalities…

  50. M Mir (History)

    Azr@el – Your last comment was a very good one at distilling what the possible parameters and stakes are in US-Iran war. The real power of the US is its economic staying power. It can afford to take multiple tactical losses and even a strategic loss here and there because its economic well always ensures there’s more coming. But that is PRECISELY what is in danger of being lost by the US in a war scenario in the PG. The $10T question is “can Iran shut the Strait of Hormuz.” This singular question and lack of an answer is the reason Iran has progressed unmolested for the last 8 years. The US would be gambling its entire empire on a bet that it can reopen and hold open the Strait. Failure to do so would completely destroy the economic engine that powers the US military machine. The bearings and crank would be shot. Should the war go badly in this sense(a 50-50 bet as far as anyone knows), the US would have 2 choices. INVADE to secure the coastal region of Iran on the Strait and Gulf of Oman. This would be an effort somewhere between Vietnam and WW2. OR sue for peace with Iran. Though you are correct that the US has a history of miscalculating and yet coming away intact, that is simply not the case here. The US gov and its military have correctly understood the risks because they are so existential in nature and not of a superficial nature as was the case in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Also, the military historical case that best predicts the action in the US-Iran war is the 2006 Lebanon war. This war was/is probably the major reason no military confrontation with Iran is in the coming for multiple reasons. The biggest reason being that it confirmed the US’s worst fears about the outcome of its military technology vs Iranian tech and tactics in a constrained geographic area like the PG.

    I would say that Masoud is probably more right. The sanctions whether legal or not are the last card the US has to play. This was probably the last round. At some point in the next 24 months Iran will come to be regarded as having a credible nuclear deterrent.

  51. archjr (History)

    Unbelievable debate. For me, the only relevant discussion is whether or not Iran is in compliance with its safeguards agreement, and the Board decided it was not IN SEPTEMBER 2005, when it

    “[Found] that Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT Safeguards Agreement, as detailed in GOV/2003/75, constitute non compliance in the context of Article XII.C of
    the Agency’s Statute;”.

    There is no way to wish away this resolution, and no way to make the matter “moot,” as some have suggested, unless the BOG reverses this decision. End of story.

  52. Alan (History)

    Arnold – It’s not about the AP. If any state under safeguards gave cause for suspicion that there were undeclared facilities, they would be in the same boat as Iran.

    Masoud – how edible is Green Salt?

  53. masoud (History)

    Hi Andy,

    It’s not that i’m dismissing anything your articles say out of hand, but i don’t think simple appeals to authority do the trick here. All the analysis by all the lawyer’s in the world can not wash away the strict grounds established by Article 22 of the CSA for a finding of non-compliance.

    The cited piece asserts:

    “Diversion has two elements: action and purpose. Regarding action, diversion typically means removal of nuclear material from safeguarded activities. More correctly, however, the term encompasses either removal of nuclear material from safeguards or failure to declare nuclear material for safeguards. The state’s basic obligation is to accept safeguards and apply safeguards procedures on all nuclear material. Any significant departure from this obligation could indicate diversion.”

    The basis he uses to expand his definition of the word “Diversion” is unclear. Could you clarify this for me? Is there any treaty or other instrument or mechanism in effect that formalizes the redefinition of the the word “diversion” to include “non-declaration”? If there isn’t, why should the bias of BOG of the IAEA, who is after a party to the dispute with Iran( and whose musings form the basis of the article you cited) have any weight over here?

    But let’s agree Mr. Carlson’s position on this issue for a second, so Article 19 of the Iran’s/ the model CSA can be read as asserting(among other things):
    “If the Board, … , finds that the Agency is not able to verify that there has been no non-declaration of nuclear material required to be safeguarded under this”. It may find the state in question in non-compliance suspend co-operation and make a report to the UNSC.

    The question then becomes, when can the board not make a finding of this nature? When can it truly be confident that there is no undeclared material under the jurisdiction of state in question? The piece you cited talks about a balance of probabilities, but no such language appears in article 19. The board has to find it has to be absolutely verified non-existence of non-declared materials to preclude a finding of non-compliance, which plainly it never can be. So by going along with Mr. Carlson’s interpretation of diversion, we’ve thrown out all constraining criteria, and essentially re-written article 19 to read “The board, may, at it’s sole discretion, find the member state in question in non-compliance”, report it to the UNSC, and suspend cooperation. This doesn’t strike you as an overly-broad interpretation of the treaty? I mean, for starters, what would we even make of article 22 if this were to be the case? Do you really believe this is what the member states of the IAEA signed up for?

    I don’t see how this expansive definition of “diversion” could have been the understood meaning of that word, especially considering the meager mechanisms offered to the inspectors to be able to come to such a sweeping conclusion.

    Let me ask this again, because it’s a question I really would like an answer to: Is there any treaty or other instrument or mechanism in effect that formalizes the redefinition of the the word “diversion” to include “non-declaration”?

    Masoud

  54. masoud (History)

    “Masoud – how edible is Green Salt?”
    -Alan
    I would say if it exists, it’s likely not very edible(though that’s not something I’ve verified). The good news is we don’t have to worry about doing either, at least not for the purposes of considering the merits of a finding of non-compliance, or fixing dinner.

    Masoud

  55. anon

    Can P5 states found in contravention of the NPT be referred to the UNSC? What, in practical terms, would that achieve?

    This is why the process is bogus.

  56. barmak (History)

    “the US kool-aid that ACW is pushing …”

    In fairness to ACW, apparently many of these guys work for US government organizations and their job is the advocacy of non-proliferation, so they can’t be expected to support Iran’s nuclear program.

    Also I think they do make some “constructive criticism” of US policies, for example pointing out that US will not stop Iran’s nuclear program with these silly sanctions. Too bad their employer never listens to them. Anyway, this site is still way better than the patriotic mass media of the Western world.

  57. Azr@el (History)

    Mir,

    “The US gov and its military have correctly understood the risks because they are so existential in nature”

    Really? So we are preparing Shindand for what? A 131 million dollar BBQ? I find it amazing how capable the US government seems from the outside in contrast to how incompetent it is in fact. I wouldn’t gamble on the US gov’t doing the smart thing…that would be a miscalculation.

    As to the economic costs of a war to preserve the balance of power? There is a a glut of fuel on the markets, alternatives in the wings and the Iran does not supply for the US crude market. Will there be a surge in oil prices? sure, maybe up to $200/barrel; but the dollar isn’t what it used to be anyway. How does this cripple the US? It really doesn’t, it will bend over several of our friends and trading partners, but the negative feedback from them will trends away from the short term.

    And recall, we have no intention of a ground war beyond a few special forces personal vying to win themselves a darwin award. If this passes, it will be a raid, a few weeks of heavy bombardment until Iran agrees to a permanent ceasefire to halt their harassment of shipping and our bombardment of their civilian population. In the interval, everything we think could be useful to Iran possessing an industrial state, not a nuclear state, but an industrial state, will be in ruins and sanctions will keep them in that state. US policy towards Iran has never been rapprochement, detente, “Fill in Obama’s latest rhetoric”, etc…It has always ultimately been to either maintain the Iranian state as a vassal client or reduce it to a few broken agricultural enclaves.

  58. FSB

    Andy,
    yes, thanks, I fully understand that my quote:

    “not able to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded …”

    is from the SA Iran signed and not the AP.

    But pay attention to the boldface and italics: non-diversion of non-existent or suspected material is not under question — only the non-diversion of safeguarded material needs to be verified — which it has been as long as Iran has had a nuclear program.

    There is no possible way to verify the non-diversion of hypothetical/non-existent nuclear material — for any country.

    And please address my 3 URL links to the unconfirmed Brazilian nuclear weapons program: this would be as least as great an issue for the BoG, were they not politically vetted by the US.

    The fact remains that sanctions aiming for zero enrichment are in direct contravention of the spirit and the letter of the NPT.

  59. Alan (History)

    Masoud – sadly it is fundamental to a finding of non-compliance because, if it exists, it is unsafeguarded nuclear material.

    Does it exist? It certainly sounds convenient, but I haven’t seen the evidence and neither have you. The IAEA have. Iran knows whether it is accurate or not, so it’s over to them to sort it out with the IAEA. So far they refuse to.

  60. hass (History)

    So let me see if I have Alan’s argument straight: first he insisted that since the IAEA has not verified the absence of undeclared material in Iran, then Iran is noncompliant with safeguards. Once it was explained to him that the IAEA only verifies the absence of undeclared material for countries that have implemented the AP, he now says that it doesn’t matter, as long as there is “suspicion that there were undeclared facilities” then they should be in the dock – but he doesn’t cite any authority for that.

    Well Alan, the IAEA has explicitly stated that it doesn’t have evidence of undeclared facilities in Iran:

    [T]he Agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran.

    With regard to the allege studies, Elbaradie himself said

    And I have been making it very clear that with regard to these alleged studies, we have not seen any use of nuclear material, we have not received any information that Iran has manufactured any part of a nuclear weapon or component. That’s why I say, to present the Iran threat as imminent is hype.

    As for your statement about “suspicions”, Michael Spies of the Lawyer’s Comittee for Nuclear Policy has explained

    For some it is tempting to declare, based on the inability of the IAEA to presently draw a conclusion on the absence of nuclear activities, that Iran continues to operate concealed facilities and that any such facilities must be for a military program. But the IAEA has cautioned that the lack of a conclusion does not imply suspicion of undeclared nuclear materials and activities, as the matter is frequently spun in the media and by some governments.

    And again, as Michael Spies of the Lawyer’s Committee on Nuclear Policy has stated

    The conclusion that no diversion has occurred certifies that the state in question is in compliance with its undertaking, UNDER ITS SAFEGUARDS AGREEMENT (emphasis mine) and Article III of the NPT, to not divert material to non-peaceful purposes. In the case of Iran, the IAEA was able to conclude, in its November 2004 report, that all declared nuclear materials had been accounted for and therefore none had been diverted to military purposes. The IAEA reached this same conclusion in September 2005.

    Furthermore, note that if someone has evidence to justifiably support a “suspicion” undeclared nuclear work in Iran, all they have to do is present the evidence to the IAEA, and the BOG has the power to demand special inspections. Iran has allowed inspections of facilities quite outside of the authority of the IAEA in the past without such measures, at Parchin military base for example, based on evidence at all to support such suspicions (in the case of Parchin is was almost entirely based on rumor-mongering by David Albright) which turned up nothing.

    And, it doesn’t appear that the US actually HAS any evidence to back up such suspicions either, because the iAEA itself has publicly complained about the lack of US intelligence

    most U.S. intelligence shared with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate, and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran, diplomats here said.

    So what have the folks at the IAEA quitely concluded ?

    “Some people do not want to see the Iran issue resolved because that would contradict their hidden agendas, he said, adding that “people should have learned from their mistakes in the past, when all the hype over alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq turned out to be just that — hype.

    Look, Alan, even US intelligence does not allege that Iran is secretly making nukes in some undeclared facilities. They specifically say that the Iranians “have not made the political decision” to make nukes and are instead seeking a “breakout capacity” using their existing, declared facilities.

    Look folks, lets drop the pretence that this conflict with Iran is about “nonproliferation” or about getting Iran to abide by hypothetical NPT obligations. This standoff is really about trying to force Iran — and other developing countries — to give up their right to enrichment, contrary to the letter and spirit of the NPT. We’re all grown-ups and it is about time that we all went ahead and acknowledged that fact.

  61. hass (History)

    PS as for ACW’s kool-aid, I may not agree with what some of them write (they can’t step off the reservation too much either) but at the same time I appreciate the opportunity for the discussion — you can’t get that anywhere else.

  62. hass (History)

    archjr- I suggest you actually read Art. XII.C and note that that there is nothing there which would allow a reporting to the UNSC, and so the action was ultravires and illegal and therefore nonbinding.

    A full reading Article XII.C makes things a bit clearer about what “non-compliance” refers to by setting out three requirements for compliance:

    1- The first requirement for compliance is “accounting referred to in sub paragraph A-6 of this article”

    Paragraph A-6 of Article XII, in turn, states that inspectors are to be sent to account for fissionable materials and ensure none has been diverted for a “military purpose”.

    The IAEA did send these inspectors to Iran – many many times. El-Baradei confirmed in Paragraph 52 of his November 2003 report that “to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities referred to above were related to a nuclear weapons programme.” And again, after extensive inspections, El-Baradei wrote Paragraph 112 of his November 2004 report that “all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”

    2- The second requirement under Article XII.C of the IAEA Statute is “determining whether there is compliance with the undertaking referred to in sub paragraph F-4 of article XI”

    A quick check of Article XI shows that it applies to “Agency Projects” meaning the projects in which the the IAEA has provided technical assistance to a requesting country. And, subparagraph F-4 specifically requires that the assistance provided by the IAEA shall not be used for military purposes and shall be subject to safeguards.

    The IAEA did not provide any such assistance to Iran which has been used for military purposes – in fact the US killed the IAEA’s technical assistance to Iran’s enrichment program in 1983 which was itself a violation of the NPT.

    3- The third requirement is compliance “with the measures referred to in sub-paragraph A-2 of this article”

    Subparagraph A-2 of Article XII requires observance of “health and safety” standards. There is no allegation of any violation of this section either.

    In short, past breaches of safeguards agreements (which have since been remedied) do not constitute a violation of the Statute unless there’s been a diversion of nuclear material for militay purposes – which the IAEA has repeatedly said is not to case in Iran.

  63. Alan (History)

    Hass – we’ve already covered “declared” and “non-declared” – exhaustively I think, and you’ve not said anything new about it.

    I agree, well done Iran for clearing up the past issues. All they need to do is follow that same time-honoured formula for the current ones and everything will be hunky dory.

    As for the various El Baradei quotes, all they show is that Iran should have thrown him a bone over these issues during his plainly sympathetic period in charge.

  64. FSB

    Alan,
    yes, let’s leave it up to the IAEA and Iran to sort it out. And the way it needs to be sorted out is outlined in Art 22.

    Thank you.

  65. archjr (History)

    Hass,

    A couple of points:

    Obviously you differ in your interpretation of Article XII.C from the lawyers at the Agency and in the Member States that supported this resolution. I think the latter’s views are dispositive and you are tilting at windmills on this one. You have no real response to this official action of the Board except to declare it “illegal,” and Iran remains non-compliant with its safeguards responsibilities as determined by the Board.

    I think where your argument particularly falls short is on the question of access by inspectors “who shall have access at all times to all places and data and to any person who by reason of his occupation deals with materials, equipment, or facilities which are required by this Statute to be safeguarded, as necessary to account for source and special fissionable materials supplied and fissionable products and to determine whether there is compliance with the undertaking against use in furtherance of any military purpose referred to in sub- paragraph F-4 of article Xl.” Surely you cannot argue that Iran has provided such access in the face of countless protestations of the DG and Board to the contrary.

    The Board’s action to refer Iran to the UNSC cannot be said to be ultravires when Article XII.C REQUIRES referral upon a determination of noncompliance, the steps being laid out clearly in XII.C. The IAEA was doing its job.

    Iran’s position clearly eroded in the Board in the face of repeated foot-dragging on responding to the Agency’s legitimate requests for information, and by 2005, when even ElBaradei was getting fed up, Iran no longer had the support it needed to block action by the Board.

    The real problem here does not reside in arbitration proceedings nor in your assertion that the Board acted illegally. The Board resolution is now almost 5 years old, and the only way for Iran to reverse the Board’s decision is to comply with the reasonable requests of the Director-General and the Board.

  66. hass (History)

    archjr – I simply read what the text says. The decision to report Iran was political, and the fact that the US had to bribe India with a nuclear deal that itself violated the NPT in order to buy India’s vote did not escape anyone’s attention. Note that S Korea and Egypt — which were caught violating their safeguards — were not reported.

    And note that the IAEA has never complained of a lack of access to sites or people involved in IRan’s nuclear program — they have instead complained of a lack of access to people who design missiles etc, all of which falls outside of the IAEA’s authority unless there is evidence of diversion — which the IAEA has said there isn’t.

    And “requests” of the Board or the DG which demand that Iran abide by obligations in treaties it has not signed — and indeed, exceed those obligations — are not reasonable.

  67. Mark

    Arch Jr.: whatever complaints the IAEA may have about access, the fact remains that they did conduct the accounting specified in Article XIIC and did certify the nondiversion of nuclear material as specified in that provision. The IAEA has always said that there’s no evidence of diversion – from the time the issued thier very first report. There was no Iranian footdragging on that point.

  68. hass (History)

    Incidentally Arch, this isn’t just my reading. As Michael Spies of the Lawyer’s Committee on Nuclear Policy has written

    The conclusion that no diversion has occurred certifies that the state in question is in compliance with its undertaking, under its safeguards agreement and Article III of the NPT, to not divert material to non-peaceful purposes. In the case of Iran, the IAEA was able to conclude in its November 2004 report that that all declared nuclear materials had been accounted for and therefore none had been diverted to military purposes. The IAEA reached this same conclusion in September 2005.

    Testimony presented to the Foreign Select Committee of the British Parliament by Elahe Mohtasham:

    “The enforcement of Article III of the NPT obligations is carried out through the IAEA’s monitoring and verification that is designed to ensure that declared nuclear facilities are operated according to safeguard agreement with Iran, which Iran signed with the IAEA in 1974. In the past four years that Iran’s nuclear programme has been under close investigation by the IAEA, the Director General of the IAEA, as early as November 2003 reported to the IAEA Board of Governors that “to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities … were related to a nuclear weapons programme.”

    And Siddharth Varadarajan of The Hindu wrote:

    Despite this finding, the Board of Governors — acting under the pressure of the U.S. and the E-3 — voted on September 24 last year to find Iran in non-compliance with its safeguards agreement in the context of article XIIC of the IAEA Statute. Conveniently overlooked was the fact that article XIIC, as well as articles 18 and 19 of Infcirc 214 [Iran’s Safeguard Agreement], define non-compliance essentially as diversion of safeguarded material for prohibited purposes, something Dr. el-Baradei had explicitly ruled out.

  69. Mark

    Alan: the Iranians are quite willing to address and help “clear up” the issue of the Alleged Studies but they want to actually see the documentation that they’re supposed to refute yet the US refuses to provide it because this has nothing to do with Irsns alleged effort to makes nukes anyway – hass is quite right that this is about trying to take away Irans right to enrichment. The US has gone out of it’s way to prevent and undermine any peaceful resolution of the issue that would allow Iran to keep an enrichment capability, no matter how well monitored or compliant with the NPT. Telling Iran “we have these secret documents that show you’re planning to make nukes but we can’t show them to you or the IAEA yet we demand that you disprove what we claim” is simply ridiculous especially when you add “oh and in the meantime we want to be able to go poking around everywhere we want in your country, you know, in case we feel like bombing you.”

  70. Alan (History)

    Mark – I agree there are fair and reasonable issues with what you say, and I agree there is more than likely an agenda to try to get Iran to give up on enrichment.

    But that is nothing to do with whether the IAEA is following the letter of the law here. My opinion is that Iran should do the same and answer the questions asked, because every time they do they cut off another possible route to the fulfilment of that agenda, while making the other side look increasingly ridiculous for prolonging it.

  71. Mark

    Alan the IAEA came up with a list if question in August 2007, and Iran answered them to the IAEAs satisfaction by Feb 2008. But just a week before the IAEA was to issue it’s report, the US turned up with these Alleged Studies claims, which it has refused to allow Iran to see. So, who isn’t cooperating or refusing to answer questions? Is Iran expected to continually answer whatever “secret documents” the US cooks up? Are we supposed to really think that this is about Irans refusal to cooperate when it is simply a political ploy by the US too try to force them into giving up enrichment? I’m sorry but my credulity has reached it’s limits with the US. I fell for the WMDs in Iraq. Not again.

  72. Andy (History)

    Masoud,

    Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for a response as thorough as I would like. archjr has done some of the work for me and after reading through the comments again I think we are, in a sense, talking past each other, so let me try to reframe things a bit and provide a bit of history and context. First though, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not a lawyer and would not consider myself an “expert” on these issues. Rather, I’m a reasonably well-informed and well read layman for whom nonproliferation is a kind of hobby. Yes, I know it’s a bit sad as far as hobbies go, but there it is.

    Anyway, to begin with Iran incontrovertibly violated (ie. was in non-compliance) its CSA based on the discoveries in 2003 & 2004 (A complete list of violations can be found in GOV/2005/67). Iran conducted undeclared enrichment experiments on undeclared material in undeclared facilities. That fits the standard in article 19 and on those findings alone the board had the right (and many would argue the obligation) to refer Iran to the UNSC then and there. For a variety of reasons, however, the referral did not actually occur until early 2006. I think it would be hard to argue that Iran could invoke article 22 to prevent such a referral considering the article 19 exemption and the scope and severity of Iran’s violations – Unless, of course, one believes the Agency’s discovery of a State’s possession of undeclared nuclear facilities and activities along with that State’s obstruction of the IAEA investigation provides no legal grounds for UNSC referral. Is that your argument?

    But it’s not 2003 or even 200 anymore, so what, if anything, has changed? So I think the debate we’re having is whether or not Iran is in compliance with its obligations today – in other words, the question is whether or not Iran has taken sufficient measures to account for its past violations and return it to a nation in good standing with respect to its obligations. In short, has Iran done enough to reverse the board’s decision?

    I think reasonable people can disagree and my sense is that viewpoints generally fall into two camps.

    On one hand some argue that once the undeclared material and activities (which should have been declared but weren’t) were accounted for and put under safeguards, then that is the end of it and that determination, alone, puts Iran back into the category of a nation in good standing. This is essentially the position Iran, Hass and some others here take and it’s what I would call a minimalist interpretation of Iran’s obligations.

    The Agency, BoG, UNSC and many others (including myself) would argue that is not sufficient considering the scope and scale of Iran’s violations, Iran’s repeated attempts to hide its activities from inspectors, and Iran’s generally reactive, slow responses to Agency requests when it’s not outright refusing them. We can revisit what Iran initially agreed to as detailed in GOV/2003/75 (emphasis added):

    As a follow-up to the 16 October 2003 meeting, in a letter to the Director General dated 21 October 2003 and received on 23 October 2003, H.E. Mr. R. Aghazadeh, Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and President of the AEOI, reaffirmed that “the Islamic Republic of Iran ha[d] decided to provide a full picture of its nuclear activities, with a view to removing any ambiguities and doubts about the exclusively peaceful character of these activities and commencing a new phase of confidence and co-operation in this field at the international level.” Mr. Aghazadeh stated further in his letter that Iran was prepared “to provide, in full transparency, any additional clarifications that the Agency may deem necessary.”

    Further along in that same report, the DG listed what would be required for the Agency to fully complete it’s verification obligations:

    To that end, the Agency must have a particularly robust verification system in place. An Additional Protocol, coupled with a policy of full transparency and openness on the part of Iran, is indispensable for such a system.

    and also:

    In that context, Iran has been requested to continue its policy of active co-operation by answering all of the Agency’s questions, and by providing the Agency with access to all locations, information and individuals deemed necessary by the Agency.

    In summary, Iran was in noncompliance and very early on Iran was told what level of transparency and cooperation would be required to put it back into compliance and Iran agreed to those terms. Iran has demonstrably not lived up to what it agreed to, what the Agency said from the beginning was necessary and therefore, from the Agency’s perspective, Iran remains non compliant. I think if Iran had acted more like Libya in 2004 and 2005 the BoG might have decided differently and, like Libya, would have only referred Iran to the UNSC for informational purposes. The point being is that Iran is primarily responsible for where it is today.

    Since Hass brings up the case of Egypt and the ROK, I’ll simply ask you to read this which provides some comparisons and makes some arguments you may or may not agree with. In essence, it discusses the topic of standards and where the tripwire for a finding of noncompliance should be and argues the BoG made a mistake in not referring those two countries.

    Finally, I will read replies here, but this will be my last post as I have a lot of things to catch up on. Thanks for the conversation.

  73. anonymous (History)

    M Mir:

    “Also, the military historical case that best predicts the action in the US-Iran war is the 2006 Lebanon war. This war was/is probably the major reason no military confrontation with Iran is in the coming for multiple reasons. The biggest reason being that it confirmed the US’s worst fears about the outcome of its military technology vs Iranian tech and tactics in a constrained geographic area like the PG.”

    It is short sighted to think that the response by the United States to reopen the Straight of Hormuz should be modeled on the Israeli politically correct response to the Lebanon missile attacks.

    A closure of the Straight of Hormuz would result in an all out attack on all Iranian military and civil infrastructure without regard for population or human shields. The missile boats will be systematically destroyed, and any land area that commands a position to attack the shipping will be emptied of all possible belligerent forces, however hidden within civilian population. It would be all out war. It will not be pretty, it will be tragic. So it is a mistake for Iran to believe that they can hold the United States and its oil producing allies hostage based upon the limited response by Israel to Hezbollah in the 2006 Lebanon conflict.

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