In the wake of the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), clearing Iran of all the outstanding issues from its own work plan of August 2007, Iran has also agreed to accept and observe the Additional Protocol if its nuclear file is returned back to the IAEA jurisdiction from the UN Security Council. The Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) appeals to the 5+1 group to positively consider Iran’s offer of implementing the Additional Protocol and enter into unconditional negotiations with Iran.
Given the declaration of IAEA on February 22, which stated that the agency no longer considers as outstanding the six issues in its work plan on verifying Iran’s nuclear programme and given the lack of any evidence of an active nuclear weapons program – confirmed even by America’s own intelligence community and published in the National Intelligence Estimate in December 2007- there is no justification for keeping Iran’s file at the UN Security Council.
Iran’s decision to implement the Additional Protocol creates an unprecedented opportunity for the UN Security Council (UNSC) to de-escalate this sensitive standoff. Such a move would allow the agency to take full advantage of the Additional Protocol to finish investigating Iran’s nuclear activities, and keep an intrusive watch on Iran’s on-going nuclear energy program.
Nuclear inspections by the IAEA have proven to be the best and only non-violent safeguard against nuclear weapons proliferation. No country in the world has been able to develop nuclear weapons while its programme has been under the inspections of the IAEA. In the case of Iraq, nearly the entire weapons program was exposed and neutralized in the 1990’s through a rigorous inspections process. Had the program not been needlessly politicized by the US administration in its single-minded drive toward war, it would have validated that no nuclear weapons threat existed in Iraq. Instead, thirteen years of UN sanctions on Iraq which killed over half a million Iraqi children, finally led to an illegal invasion which has brought a catastrophe for the people of this country.
If the aim is to make sure that Iran’s program does not divert nuclear materials for weaponization, the Additional Protocol is the best tool available. Designed in 1993, it allows for tougher, more intrusive inspections. It ensures full accounting of nuclear materials and snap visits to any suspect location with 2 hours notice. Rights to inspect all aspects of Iranian nuclear energy program, from production of Uranium to Research and Development are exclusively granted. More stringent information sharing requirements are also included. The IAEA Additional Protocol is hardly a free ride for Iran. Following US action in Iraq, Iranian leaders are justifiably nervous about granting such intrusive rights to foreign inspectors.
Such a scenario allows for a peaceful resolution of the current standoff and severely undermines any justification for armed conflict over this issue. It is time for all sides to step back from the brink of a historic disaster and pursue peace through cooperation, not threats and hostility.
For more information or to contact CASMII please visit http://www.campaigniran.org