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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Iran has no 'right' to nuclear technology

President Obama keeps repeating that Iran has a 'right' to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. German author Matthias Kuntzel disagrees.
The continued pursuit of fruitless diplomacy at tomorrow's talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany is based on an incorrect understanding of international law, one that was spearheaded by the Europeans and is now unfortunately shared by the U.S. president.

"Any nation—including Iran—should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power," Barack Obama declared in his famous Cairo speech, "if it complies with its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."

The problem is that Iran is bound by its own constitution to violate the treaty, which is why insisting that the NPT still confers any rights on Iran is not only politically absurd but also wrong from a purely legal point of view.

The treaty was signed by Iran in 1968 under the rule of Shah Mohammed Reza. It aims, as outlined in its preamble, at "further easing of international tension and the strengthening of trust between states." Its purpose is thus to stabilize the international system. The Islamic Republic, though, wants to abolish this "Satanic" secular world order and replace it with a Sharia-based system of Islamic rule. "The struggle will continue," promised Ayatollah Khomeini, "until the calls 'There Is No God but God' and 'Muhammad Is the Messenger of God' are echoed all over the world." The atom program is part of this revolutionary quest. "Iran's nuclearization," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his supporters, "is the beginning of a very great change in the world." It would "be placed at the service of those who are determined to confront the bullying powers and aggressors."


Allowing a theocratic regime dreaming of religious war to obtain nuclear weapons is a threat to humanity. It can neither be defused by the NPT provisions nor by continuing piecemeal sanctions. Short of a military strike, the only alternative is to make full use of Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. In order to confront threats to peace, it suggests in article 41 the "complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations." The time for "dialogue as usual" is over.
While I never agreed with Obama's calls to allow Iran to use nuclear energy for 'peaceful purposes' (I just don't trust the Iranians), I would have based the legal argument on the fact that because they have violated the NPT, they are no longer entitled to its benefits. Kuntzel's argument is much stronger and it raises an issue about which I doubt most of the world is aware.

Read the whole thing.


At 7:29 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Iran that signed the NPT under the Shah is not the Iran under the mullahs. The most obvious response is the circumstances have changed. If Obumbler doesn't understand that, he needs his head checked.


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