With no weapon program, justification for suspension precondition eliminated
The President’s comments today further fueled the perception that the White House pursues policies detached from reality. In spite of the National Intelligence Estimate stating that Iran has ended its weapons program, the president insisted that the military option remains on the table. Rather than adjusting policy on Iran in accordance to the reality-check provided by the NIE, the President moved the goal post on Iran. As the NIE declared that Iran likely doesn’t have a weapons program, the President shifted the red line from weaponization to the mere knowledge of enriching uranium – an activity that in and of itself is not of a military nature and is permitted by the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
By setting a new and arbitrary standard with no root or support in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, President Bush is insisting on adjusting reality to policy rather than policy to reality. There are numerous problems with this stance.
First, it further undermines US credibility and leaves allies and foes alike with the impression that Washington seeks a military conflict with Iran regardless of the realities of Iran’s nuclear program.
Second, Iran already possesses the knowledge to enrich uranium. Given the President’s logic, this reality would permit the US to continue to pursue a military option against Iran – in spite of the absence of an Iranian weapons program.
The President also pointed out, as though to justify military strikes, that Iran’s knowledge of the enrichment process would permit Tehran to have a clandestine program. While true, this only speaks to the need for a robust inspection regime. Even a full suspension of the Iranian program would not eliminate the Iranian knowledge of the enrichment program and, as a result, the risk of a clandestine program would continue to exist. Suspension alone does not guarantee non-proliferation. The best way of addressing the risk of a clandestine program is through an extensive verification and inspection program. By its own logic, the Bush Administration should focus on establishing a real inspection program.
The sooner the Bush Administration agrees to unconditional negotiations with Tehran, the sooner such a verification and inspections program can be put in place and the sooner the nuclear stand-off can be resolved effectively and peacefully.
Irancove @ December 5, 2007