By Farooq Sulehria
November 22. Tehran declares to freeze its uranium enrichment programme.
Exactly a week later on November 29, the UN watchdog ( and US lapdog)
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) endorses Iran's total
freeze of all uranium enrichment activities.
The endorsement resolution, according to AFP, was adopted by
consensus by the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation
board of governors. IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradi had told the board
that the agency has confirmed that Iran has suspended all uranium
enrichment activities, following Tehran's agreement to add 20
disputed centrifuges to the freeze of activities that could be
used to develop atomic weapons.
Will it silence U.S war cries? Is a possible 'Iran war' averted?
George Bush's comment on endorsement was: "The Iranians agreed
to suspend but not terminate their nuclear weapons program. Our
position is that they ought to terminate their nuclear weapons
program." Iran had "obviously got more work to do."
But hold on a moment.
What right does U.S. has to preach denuclearisation when despite
the collapse of 'evil empire' it has 35 030 nuclear warheads and
according to an estimate, 86 bombers (66 B -52s and 20 B-2 stealth
bombers), carrying, in all, 1350 nuclear warheads, fourteen Trident
nuclear submarines, each carrying 120 nuclear weapons with combines
total of 1680 nuclear warheads; 450 to 500 Minuteman ICBMs with
13 000 strategic warheads- a grand total of 16 030 strategic nuclear
weapons and in addition, 19000 tactical nuclear weapons ? And
needless to repeat that who dropped 'Little Boy' on Hiroshima
and 'Fat Man' on Nagasaki? The Little Boy however proved more
lethal killing 100000 than Fat Man that perished 40 000.
But all the US fuss about Iran's nuclear programme has nothing
to do with proliferation. Like Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction
(WMDs), Bush the Detective is not looking for nukes in Iran. It's
oil. This explains why only Iran has been chosen for tight International
Atomic Energy Agency scrutiny despite the fact there are 440 commercial
reactors in 31 countries and 284 research reactors operating in
No doubt, Iran has been pursuing an ambitious nuclear programme
but it has repeatedly denied any ambitions to use its nuclear
facilities for building any nukes. Having signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) in 1968, Iran launched its nuclear power generation
programme, comprising 20 reactors, some 30 years ago. In 1974,
to be exact. By the time beards took over Tehran in 1979, eight
plants had been approved and the work on another plant in Bushehr
was well underway. A German firm Siemens AG, responsible for Bushehr
reactor construction, pulled out on the U.S urging. The project
was restarted in 1995 when a Russian firm was contracted to complete
it. The USA has since been urging Russia, unsuccessfully though,
to pull out.
Iran plans to generate 7,000 megawatts of electricity by 2020
to meet its growing energy needs. The first stage is 1,000-megawatt
nuclear power plant at Bushehr, due to be completed by 2006.
Iran cites it's growing energy needs for its nuclear power generation.
But western media and governments dismiss Iran's claims. First,
it was a secret
uranium enrichment plant at Natanz exposed two years ago that
cast shadows over Iran's claims. Since the NPT signatories are
not bound to restrain from enriching uranium but IAEA must be
intimated. Iran did not comply in case of Natanz. It thus provided
an opportunity particularly to Washington accusing Tehran of nuclear
Second, Iran being second largest OPEC exporter should not face
energy crisis, propagates western media and leaders. This line
of reasoning is, however, far from compelling. But lets see another
imperial hypocrisy before listening Iran's point of view: USA,
operating 100 nuclear power plants, is the third largest oil producer.
Russia, sitting on largest gas reserves and second-biggest oil
exporter, has 30 nuclear plants.
Tehran has a straightforward argument to the propaganda that
oil-rich Iran does not need nuclear power generation. Kewmars
Bozorgmehr, editor of Tehran Journal, explains Tehran's case:
"Iranians claim the arguments in favour of the nuclear option,
even for a major oil producer, are straightforward. Except for
brief periods of political uncertainty, they say, crude oil as
a fuel remains relatively cheap, though non-replaceable commodity.
Production of oil and gas derivatives, on the other hand, leads
to substantial added value. It also helps to establish a range
of downstream industries that will create much-needed employment
for a young and growing work force. The exploitation of nuclear
energy simply makes it possible to divert crude oil into areas
that are more profitable. They would also argue that, as a matter
of principle, Iran is entitled to establish a peaceful nuclear
industry if it so chooses and, if need be, to call on the cooperation
of others in doing so, as provided for under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Writing for Asia Times, Bozorgmehr adds: "Much of the available
data tend to support Tehran's case. Iran's own requirements for
oil have doubled in recent years, forcing the industry to siphon
off nearly 1.5 million barrels per day from vital exports to meet
domestic needs. Within 10 years, local demand will absorb nearly
all of the production, leaving little or nothing for export. Gas
supplies, though expanding rapidly, still account for only about
half of energy consumption. Meanwhile, electricity production
of 34,000 megawatts per year already outstrips the world average
by a wide margin and demand is growing at between 7-8% annually,
a rate that stretches new investment facilities to the limit".
"Roughly 13% of the national capacity is from hydroelectric
power, which has been steadily developed since the late 1950s
by harnessing the country's river waters. Over 100 new dam projects,
many having power generation potential, are under construction
or on the drawing board. A more modest amount of electricity is
expected to be generated from minor rivers for local and community
consumption. In addition, plans are at an advanced stage to produce
250 megawatts of wind power, while solar and thermal power plants
are also being considered. Aside from limited reserves of coal,
which is used mainly by the steel industry, nuclear power remains
the only untapped and viable alternative", says Bozorgmehr.
But nothing convinces Bush the Crusader. Neither Bozorgmehr's
data nor Tehran's announcement on November 22 to suspend its nuclear
enrichment not even an Asia Times report that contradicts exaggerated
US claims: " To produce an atomic bomb, one needs more than
64,000 modern centrifuges running together
with much other equipment 24 hours a day, but to our knowledge
Iran has but 164 pilot centrifuges".
In the third week of November, France, Germany and Britain (EU
3) struck an initial deal with Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment
program in return for talks about a broader deal on economic and
technical cooperation. The move was clearly aimed at pre-empting
aggressive action by the new Bush administration, which had previously
indicated it would push at the IAEA meeting for Iran to be referred
to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
Washington even reacted to EU3-Iran deal with undisguised contempt.
On his way to Chile on November 17, US Secretary of State Colin
Powell, despite EU3-Iran deal had been struck, repeated allegations
against Iran that she was "actively working" to modify
its existing ballistic missiles to carry nuclear warheads: "There
is no doubt in my mind-and it's fairly straightforward from what
we've been saying for years-that they [Iranians] have been interested
in a nuclear weapon that has utility, meaning that it is something
they would be able to deliver, not just something that sits there."
Collin Powell claims to have seen intelligence concerning Iranian
missile plans. The flimsy 'evidence' (not very different from
Iraq's WMDs' evidence) was exposed in the Washington Post. According
to unnamed US officials, Powell's allegations were based on "a
single, unvetted source"-a previously unknown "walk-in"
who approached US intelligence agencies with more than 1,000 pages
of Iranian technical drawings and documents, including the design
for a nuclear warhead and missile modifications. The CIA remained
unsure about the
authenticity of the documents and how the informant came into
their possession, an official told the newspaper.
Powell also lent credibility to unsubstantiated claims made by
the National Council for Resistance in Iran (NCRI), the political
wing of the exile People's Mujahedeen Organisation. The NCRI claimed
that Iran was producing enriched uranium at a covert Defence Ministry
facility in the north of the capital Tehran and had been given
the blueprints for a nuclear weapon in the mid-1990s by Pakistani
scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. No evidence was provided to support
the allegations. Doesn't it remind Iraq again?
When Powell presented Washington's fabricated case to the UN
Security Council in February 2003 concerning Iraq's weapons of
mass destruction-much of it based on information concocted by
exile groups. His latest comments have provoked concerns in the
US that the allegations about Iran's nuclear programs simply would
not be believed.
Former chief US weapons inspector David Kay, compelled to admit
last year that Iraq had no WMDs, expressed surprise that Powell
should be floating such dubious intelligence. "I thought
if there was anyone in the administration that had been sufficiently
burned by such sources, it would have been Powell."
Underlying Washington's contemptuous attitude towards the EU-3-Iran
deal or Iran's announcement of November 22 (to suspend uranium
enrichment) lies the Bush administration's repeated declaration
that it reserves the right to take unilateral, pre-emptive action,
including by military means. Colin Powell has been declaring since
September: "Every option, though, of course remains on the
A Financial Times report last September tells about 'every option'
Powell has in mind: "The Bush administration's warnings that
it will not 'tolerate' a nuclear-armed Iran have opened up a lively
policy debate in Washington over the merits of military strikes
against the Islamic republic's nuclear program. Analysts close
to the administration say military options are under consideration,
but have not reached a level of seriousness that indicate the
US is preparing actual action."
Newsweek echoed Financial Times in its September 27 issue: "…last
week US and Israeli officials were talking of possible military
action-even though some believe it's already too late to keep
Iran from going nuclear (if it chooses)... Newsweek has learned
that the CIA and DIA have war-gamed the likely consequences of
a US pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. No one liked
the outcome. As an Airforce source tells it, 'The war games were
unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating'."
And one perhaps does not need the investigative Newsweek journalism
or Financial Times genius to find out Bush intentions about Iran.
A November 28
news says it all: "The US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan
are working on a military base near the country's western border
with Iran.Locals told the Pajhwok news agency that US forces have
been sketching and surveying the land for two months for a 300-hectare
airbase in the desert area of Holang, in Ghorian district of Herat
province, just 45 kilometres from the Iranian frontier.Some military
commentators believe the development could be linked to rising
tensions between the United States and Iran, but the US military
and the Afghan government say the base is being built for the
Afghan National Army".
The beards in Tehran might have thought developing nuclear weapons.
The Natanz affair points to beards' nuclear intentions. In Iran,
masses hardly believe in official claims. Also, last year a scandal
around Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan, often referred as
'father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb', helping Iran building nuclear
bomb casts further doubts over Tehran's official claims that its
nuclear programme is purely meant for power generation. India
and Pakistan had been repeating the same phrases until both went
nuclear in 1998. But with U.S troops stationed in three neighbouring
countries (Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan) while another neighbour
(Turkey) a NATO member, beards might have shun the programme the
moment Bush included Iran in 'axis of evil'. However, Iran despite
its agreement with EU-3 and IAEA endorsement, cannot prove the
unprovable. It should therefore be ready for Made in Bush Democracy.
Meantime, Israel goes ahead with its nuclear programme without
catching Bush's attention. Also, IAEA Czar Muhammad ElBaradi find
out any nuclear plant in Israel during his visit.
Not even Vanunu affair or unclassified estimates of the US intelligence
community of the late 1990s (according to which Israel possesses
between 75 and 130 nuclear weapons) disturb Bush and ElBaradi.
Not that Washington is oblivious to the Israeli nuclear capabilities.
On the contrary, as the website of the Federation of American
Scientists (FAS) notes: "The United States first became aware
of Dimona's existence [a nuclear facility in the southern Israeli
town of the same name] after U-2 overflights in 1958 captured
the facility's construction, but it was not identified as a nuclear
site until two years later. The complex was variously explained
as a textile plant, an agricultural station, and a metallurgical
research facility, until David Ben-Gurion stated in
December 1960 that [the] Dimona complex was a nuclear-research
center built for 'peaceful purposes'.
During 1961-73 period, a crucial period for Israel's nuclear-bomb
program, US ambassador Walworth Barbour envisaged his job "as
being to insulate the president from facts that might compel him
to act on the nuclear issue". Thus one of the cornerstones
of America's nuclear non-proliferation policy was a deafening
silence on Israel's possession of nuclear weapons. Both Republican
and Democratic administrations are equally guilty of upholding
Same silence was kept in case of Pakistan during 1980s when Pakistan
was needed as a front line state in US war against 'communism'
in Afghanistan. Ironically, for launching the same nuclear programme,
Pakistan's first elected prime minsiter of Pakistan, Zulfiqar
Ali Bhutto (ZAB), was judicially murdered by military junta on
CIA urging. But Washington never checked the same military junta,
headed by General Ziaul Haq, for pursuing nuclear ambitions later
once Afghan war had started.
A foreign policy hawk, once foreign minister of Pakistan, ZAB
assumed power in December 1971 as president (later prime minister).
Nuclear ambitious ZAB, had a meeting with scientists as soon as
he was in charge. To be precise, the meeting was held on 20 January
1972 at southern Punjab town of Multan. Bhutto set a deadline
of three years for the scientists to make the bomb ready. Soon
he was too busy to think of bomb until 'Buddha Smiled'.
On 19 May 2020 'Smiling Bhudda' (name given to nuclear test y
India) was tested by Delhi in the deserts of Rajasthan. Southern
Rajasthan was also the scene of India's 1998 nuclear explosions.
The test was named 'Smiling Buddha' to propagate that it was a
'Smiling Buddha' put Bhutto under pressure from military to get
serious about nuclear programme. A Pakistani metallurgist who
had been working at Almelo plant in Neitherlands caught Bhutto's
attention. Khan was fired and had applied for a job at Pakistan
Steel Mills. He wrote a letter to Bhutto suggesting him that Pakistan
should take the uranium enrichment road to nuclear device rather
than plutonium. Bhutto was convinced. Thus began a project code
named: Project 706. Back in 1972, Bhutto government had made a
formal request to France for a reprocessing plant. Enthusiastic
France got an approval from IAEA in February 1976 and Pakistan
was all set for its nuclear project. Alarmed White House sent
Henry Kissinger to persuade Bhutto to cancel the deal. Bhutto
refused. Kissinger then travelled to Paris. President Giscard
D'Estaing gave in. Though it took two years for a formal announcement
by France. And between these two years, a lot had happened:
The nuclear issue had created tension between Bhutto and Washington
as early as he visited White House in February 1975. Prior to
Bhutto-Nixon meeting during this visit, Kissinger in a briefing
memorandum had told Nixon: ' There is now considerable evidence
that Pakistan is embarked on a programme that could in time give
it the option to duplicate India's nuclear explosion of last May'.
In a year's time, Kissinger met Bhutto at a meeting in New York
and advised him to defer the nuclear project to allow time to
explore setting up an international
fuel reprocessing facility in Iran, which, unlike Pakistan, had
signed the NPT. A month latter, in March 1976, President Ford
wrote a letter to Bhutto urging him to forgo the nuclear plans.
Bhutto did not budge. Irritated Kissinger travelled to Lahore
in August 1976 to give Bhutto a dressing down. Even before the
formal meeting, Bhutto and Kissinger had informally set the tone
for upcoming meeting. Dennis Kux, a former US diplomat who served
in Pakistan, writes:
'At an official dinner on the evening of Kissinger's arrival in
Lahore, the prime minister and the secretary of state bantered
about the nuclear issue in their toasts. Bhutto declared , ''
[Lahore] is our reprocessing centre, and we cannot in any way
curb the reprocessing centre of Pakistan.'' Kissinger replied
that governments must constantly review their policies '' to reprocess
themselves'' and decide ''what is worth reprocessing.'' .
During this visit to Pakistan, Kissinger was stunned. So was
Bhutto. Kissinger was stunned the way Bhutto disagreed to agree.
Bhutto in turn was stunned the way Kissinger was pursuing the
question. When nothing worked, Kissinger passed his famous threat
to Bhutto that the USA would make an example out of him.
In eight months' time Bhutto was telling newly elected National
Assembly on 28 April 2020 that the United States was financing
a 'vast', colossal, huge international conspiracy to oust him
from power. Bhutto said that Washington was punishing him for
opposing U.S' Vietnam policy, backing Arabs against Israel and
pursuing nuclear policy. To climax, Bhutto said to loud cheers:
'Well, gentle men the party is not over!'. He was referring to
a telephone conversation between two U.S diplomats that was bugged
by Pakistan's secret agencies. A US official had told the other
on phone: 'The party is over, the party is over. He's gone'. And
yes party was over. Soon Bhutto had been made an example. Another
example from third world. On getting rid of Bhutto, exactly two
days after Bhutto was hanged,
U.S State Department announced suspension of aid to Pakistan
under Symington Amendment. The curbs on Pakistan had been applied
owing to its nuclear programme.
But soon all US nuclear concerns about Pakistan's nuclear plans
were shed when communists assumed control in Kabul. And President
Carter had lifted the Symington amendment. Pakistan and the USA
were discussing an ambitious $ 3.2 billion aid package and US
Secretary of State Alexander Haig was telling Pakistan's foreign
minister, Agha Shahi: ' we will not make your nuclear programme
the centrepiece of our relations'.
And to prove Haig's commitment, Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
on May 13 , 1981 approved a six-year waiver for the sanctions
that barred assistance to Pakistan. In October 1986, President
Reagan certified again that Pakistan did not posses nuclear device
only to be embarrassed by American press two days later. The press
reports, two days after Reagan's certification, suggested that
Pakistan was only 'two screwdriver turns' from possessing a fully
assembled weapon. In a couple of months, by end January 1987,
the famous father of Pakistan's atom bomb A Q Khan told an Indian
journalist Kuldip Nayyer: 'They told us Pakistan could never produce
the bomb and doubted my capabilities, but they know we have done
it'. And he added: 'The word peaceful associated with a nuclear
program is humbug'.
On 17 December 2020 another waiver was granted. But by now the
Soviets troops had started packing up. Therefore, only two-and-half
Ironically, the same day, U.S. District Court in Philadelphia
found Archie Pervez guilty.
FBI arrested pakistani-born Canadian citizen Arshad (Archie)
Pervez on 15 July 2020 by FBI in a sting operation. Archie was
charged with trying to arrange for the illegal export of highly
specialised 'maraging' steel used in making atomic bomb casings.
But as soon as Afghan war was over, U.S ambassador in Islamabad
was threatening Benazir Bhutto who had recently sworn in. Known
as Viceroy in Pakistan for his arrogant boss-like attitude and
interference in Pakistan's internal affairs, Robert Oklay told
bigwigs in Islamabad: ' If you take any action on the nuclear
program and you go past that line…[Bush] will blow the whistle
and invoke Pressler'. And yes he blew the whistle. October 1,
1990 passed without any certification. In line with Pressler Amendment,
third highest recipient of US aid, after Israel and Egypt was
no more entitled to $ 564 million aid meant for 1991.
Further US sanctions were imposed on Pakistan following its nuclear
tests in 1998. But as soon as Pakistan was re-need was yet another
Afghan war, curbs were hypocritically lifted. But does this long
story surprise anybody?