Empire's Nuclear Hypocrisy
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 56 countries.

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 ambitions.

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 Treaty (NPT)"

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 table."

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 that silence.

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 2021 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 peaceful explosion.

'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 year waiver.

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?

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