, by S.M. MOHAMED IDRIS
By adopting Resolution 1747 to impose fresh sanctions on Iran for refusing to stop its uranium enrichment, the United Nations Security Council has, once again, discredited itself as a tool for promoting United States foreign policy. The object of the resolution is to create an excuse for the US to attack Iran, destroy its nuclear installations for producing energy, and bring about a regime change.
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was right in telling the Council that the imposition of the sanctions was unlawful and unjustifiable. There is, in fact, no cause for the Council to interfere in a matter which comes within the jurisdiction of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Article 39 of the UN Charter clearly provides that the Council can take punitive action against a member state only on its finding that there is a 'threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression'. No such finding has been made by the Council, or could be made, with regard to Iran's nuclear programme as there is no evidence to support it. Hence, the sanctions are illegal.
The resolution prohibits Iran's exercise of its legitimate right under international law to produce nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Article IV of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) provides: “Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all Parties to the Treaty to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes…” Iran has repeatedly said it will never surrender this right which is what the US and the European Union are demanding.
It is an abuse of power by the Council to prevent Iran from exercising its rights under the NPT. To use the UN forum to promote the US agenda for regime change in Iran, is not only a clear violation of the Charter but also immoral. It will encourage the use of the law of the jungle in international relations where the powerful will rule without regard to fairness and justice.
In fact, it was the US government that encouraged and facilitated Iran, under the Shah, to develop a nuclear power industry. Only after the Iranian Islamic Revolution, since the mid 1980s, the US started falsely accusing Iran of developing weapons of mass destruction. The accusation has been ratcheted up, joined by Israel, since 2002, because of Iran's support for the Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Since 2003, Iran has been willing to resolve the issue through negotiations. It had implemented a policy of full disclosure and began co-operating with the IAEA on questions of its nuclear programme. After a thorough and intrusive inspection of Iran's nuclear facilities by IAEA inspectors, El Baradei, the Director General, announced that there was no evidence Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons programme. It voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment activities as a confidence-building measure and signed the Additional Protocol which gives the IAEA more extensive monitoring authority.
It also entered into negotiations with France, Germany and the United Kingdom (EU3) and signed the Paris Agreement. Iran agreed to continue its suspension of uranium enrichment as a voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation pending the outcome of the negotiations. In return, the EU3 recognised Iran's right to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. However under US pressure, the EU3 reneged on the agreement and insisted on excluding uranium enrichment from any agreed solution.
The Council stands accused of hypocrisy and practising double standard for punishing Iran for alleged violation of the NPT while closing its eyes to the US resumption of nuclear arms development and Israel's formidable nuclear arsenal. The current US administration has violated treaty obligations and embarked on developing new weapons, including antiballistic missiles and the earth-penetrating 'bunker buster'.
The US military is ready to use tactical nuclear weapons to bomb nuclear installations in Iran with terrible consequences for the people and the environment.
In his book Our Endangered Values, former President Jimmy Carter says by “rejecting or evading almost all nuclear arms control agreements negotiated during the past 50 years, the United States has now become the prime culprit in global nuclear proliferation.”
Last year, ex-defence secretary Robert McNamara wrote: “I would characterize current US nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary and dreadfully dangerous.”
The US is not interested in negotiations to resolve the issue. The uranium enrichment issue is a pretext to gain international support for its planned attack on Iran. There has been a build-up of US forces in the Persian Gulf with the arrival of two naval carriers flanked by nuclear submarines and battleships, carrying fleets of attack jets, and holding special Marine landing forces.
It is the heroic resistance of the Iraqi liberation movement that is deterring Bush from launching the attack. The US forces are trapped in a quagmire from which they are finding it difficult to free themselves. Images of the body bags of American soldiers killed in Iraq seen on television have turned US public opinion against the occupation.
The American public has no more appetite for another war, this time against Iran, a more formidable enemy than Saddam's Iraq. Regardless of these constraints, Bush may still choose to attack Iran, or goad its surrogate Israel to do so. If Israel attacks Iran, then the pro-Israeli US Congress would support it and Bush need not worry about public opinion. An attack on Iran would bring about a conflagration in the area with devastating consequences for the region and the world.