Iran offers settlement as Bush prepares nukes
by the War and Law League
I. Iran renounces bomb and offers nuclear concessions,
but Bush keeps threat of atomic attack ‘on the table’
A representative of Iran’s supreme leader has renounced nuclear weapons and offered extensive concessions in a document ignored by Bush and his subordinates, who seem hellbent to carry out war plans against Iran.
At the same time that U.S. leaders seek to scare the nation about alleged Iranian plans for nuclear weapons, Bush, Cheney et al. have plans to use those very weapons on Iran. The first nuclear attack in 61 years may be close at hand.
Unprovoked aggression is a major war crime, especially if it includes a nuclear holocaust. When asked to comment on reports of plans for a U.S. attack and the use of nuclear bombs, Bush does not deny them. He says, “All options are on the table.”
Iran has repeatedly asked to negotiate differences but Bush has refused. On Monday, May 8 came the announcement on TV news that Iran’s president, Mahmood Ahmadi-Najad, had written directly to Bush on international problems but that the correspondence was rejected, unread.
Criticizing U.S. policy generally and calling for a more religious direction, it was the first top-level contact from Iran to the U.S. since diplomatic relations were broken in 1980. But, after the news media revealed the letter’s contents, Secretary of State Rice and Bush pooh-poohed it, saying it did not address nuclear concerns.
IRAN ACCEPTS INTRUSIVE AND SNAP INSPECTIONS, CAPS ON ENRICHMENT, AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS
Neither Rice nor Bush mentioned that on Tuesday, May 9, a second document from Iran, dealing with nuclear issues and representing a higher Iranian authority than Ahmadi-Najad, appeared on Time magazine’s web site. It was an open letter by Hassan Rohani, a representative of the supreme leader, Ayatolla Ali Khameini. It had been given to Time just before the president’s letter was made public.
Rohani, on the Supreme National Security Council and formerly Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, offered “a negotiated solution” to avoid proliferation and an unnecessary conflict. He said that nuclear weapons would destablize the region, prompt an arms race, waste resources, and — in view of Israel’s power — offer Iran no security.
He referred also to “Islamic and developmental reasons why Iran as an Islamic and developing state must not develop and use weapons of mass destruction.”
Rohani noted that three years of robust inspection in Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency had found no evidence of diversion toward a bomb. And while IAEA cannot yet certify that Iran’s program is exclusively peaceful — a certification that few countries with nuclear programs have — “Iran is prepared and willing to invest the time and effort necessary to receive the IAEA clean bill of health.”
Accordingly, he proposed eight specific actions by Iran, e.g. “Iran would consider ratifying the Additional Protocol, which provides for intrusive and snap inspections....
“Iran would agree to negotiate with the IAEA and states concerned about the scope and timing of its industrial-scale uranium enrichment.
“Iran would accept an IAEA verifiable cap on enrichment limit of reactor grade uranium” and “the production of UF6 ... used for enrichment” — and so on.
Time’s Adam Zagorin called those proposals starting points for negotiation, adding that independent nuclear experts consulted by the magazine found them “hopeful.” Other leading news media have ignored or overlooked the document entirely.
A-BOMBS ARE READIED; GI’S ARE IN IRAN
Prof. Michel Chossudovsky of Ottawa, at GlobalResearch.ca warned (on Jan. 3) that a nuclear attack on Iran was in the final planning stages. Prof. Jorge Hirsch of San Diego and other writers at Antiwar.com have similarly warned of an impending attack.
Such warnings caused little concern until Seymour Hersh reported (April 8) that the military had presented the White House with initial option plans for use of “tactical” nuclear weapons, supposedly to strike underground. That the Pentagon was contemplating such weapons was independently confirmed by The Washington Post (April 9).
Hersh reported in The New Yorker that US forces were operating in Iran. Combat and reconnaissance teams were there “to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic minority groups.”
Vincent Cannistraro, ex-CIA counter-terrorism chief, told the UK newspaper The Guardian (April 10) that U.S. special forces were in Iran, identifying targets and helping dissident groups and that people had been killed as a result. Col. Sam Gardiner (USAF, ret.) has made similar statements on CNN and elsewhere.
The group Mujahedin-e Khalq is termed “protected” and used to launch attacks from Iraq, though designated by the State Department since 1997 as “terrorist” (Counterpunch.org, May 11).
In Congress, a few voices have been raised against an undeclared war on Iran. But they are drowned out by those crying against the Iran “threat,” and bills for sanctions and a crusade for “democracy” (a la Iraq?) get big support.
IRAQ LIES RECYCLED
The allegations about Iraq are being recycled for Iran, including “weapons of mass destruction” and “links to terrorists.” As shown in Ed Bradley’s interview with Tyler Drumheller, formerly of the CIA, on “60 Minutes” of April 23, the only aim of those falsehoods were war.
Is the purpose of seeking a UN resolution against Iran — as in the pre-Iraq war days — so Bush can say he is enforcing it when he attacks? Will we be fooled again?
A National Intelligence Estimate, representing the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies, projected that Iran was about 10 years away from an ability to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb, The Washington Post reported on August 2, 2005. The paper’s sources had no information linking Iran’s nuclear technology to a weapons program. No substantial change since then has been established, outside of an acceleration of the administration’s rhetoric.
Notwithstanding some arrogant and hateful statements by Ahmadi-Najad for internal consumption — on nuclear energy, Jews, and Israel — Iran has violated no law and threatened no one. That nation has committed no aggression since ancient Persia.
As John McLaughlin recently pointed out on two “McLaughlin Group” shows on PBS, the development of peaceful nuclear energy — which Bush demands that Iran stop — is expressly permitted under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran and the U.S. are among the signatories to that treaty.
WARNING OF NUCLEAR DISASTER
Bush’s policies encourage the very thing that he claims to oppose: nuclear proliferation.
Under George W., The National Security Strategy, which was last updated this year in March, grossly lowers the traditional high threshold for use of nuclear weapons. It places the president behind a policy of so-called preemption — attacking countries and groups that, according to the president, may become dangerous in the future. And it casually treats the A-bomb as just another weapon along with other weapons.
North Korea’s security strategy against U.S. aggression was to get an atomic bomb.
Thirteen of the country’s most prominent physicists have written Bush and warned of
“disastrous consequences” for U.S. and world security if Bush attacks. In addition, over 1,900 more physicists have signed a similar petition. The physicists point out that use of the bomb would encourage others to do likewise and that all-out nuclear war could result, with the potential to destroy our civilization. Nuclear weapons today have a total power of 200,000 Hiroshimas, they say.
The letter and petition were initiated by Jorge Hirsch, physicist at the University of California at San Diego, who maintains a “Public service page on nuclear danger” on the Internet
The Iran scare really has nothing to do with what the Iranian government does or doesn’t do, except insofar as its president’s reckless utterances provide excuses for Bush’s drive to war.
Iran has been a neo-con target since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. Attacking Iran was part of the 2000 agenda of the Project for the New American Century, which advocated U.S. world domination by force of arms, including nuclear weapons. (John Bolton, the current UN ambassador, and I. Lewis Libby, now under indictment, were among the key players.) Iran was part of Bush’s 2002 “axis of evil.” In 2003, a Pentagon plan for Iran “regime change” was revealed.
Early in 2005, as The American Conservative disclosed, Bush confided to Rumsfeld that regime change in Iran and Syria would be objectives of term II. In its Aug. 1, 2005 issue, that magazine revealed that the U.S. planned a nuclear attack on Iran, contingent on a new September 11th — even if Iran was innocent. The plan included a large-scale air assault, using both conventional and so-called tactical nuclear weapons. There were over 450 major targets.
Now the main excuse is Iran’s nuclear program, which Iran denies is for military purposes. Bush has shown no such concern about Pakistan or Israel’s A-bombs. He negotiated with nuclear North Korea, and he signed a deal to furnish India with processed uranium without full inspection. India did what Iran (without proof) is accused of doing: use a peaceful-energy reactor to develop atomic bombs.
Rather than settle the Iran dispute peacefully, as required by Article 33 of the United Nations Charter, Bush appears on the verge of using the weapons of mass destruction that he claims to fear on the people of Iran. Casualties could be vast. Tehran alone has seven million people. Will millions die so that George Bush can rule a radioactive Tehran?
Does Bush — who declared the “end of major combat” in Iraq three years ago — expect no retaliation, no legions of new enemies throughout the Muslim world? How safe will Americans be then at home or abroad?
As stated below on this web site (under “Conspiracy to suppress intelligence on Iran?”), Prof. Juan Cole of Michigan has advanced a plausible reason that Valerie Plame Wilson was exposed as a CIA agent: She was working on weapons of mass destruction and could acquire authoritative information on the state of Iran’s nuclear program.
The Bush people did not want the truth known. They wanted to say in effect, we can’t take any chance — we have to attack. Think of Rice’s pre-Iraq-war statement that “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
Ironically, the smoking gun making the Bush-Cheney war crimes evident to the world may be a “mushroom cloud.”
II. Few congressional calls for peace are heard
amid hysteria over the Iranian ‘threat’
Two senators from both parties, Feinstein and Hagel, have called for a diplomatic settlement with Iran, in op-ed newspaper articles, but they are drowned out by the cries of the hawks.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urged diplomacy instead of “a premature military confrontation that could include nuclear devastation” (Los Angeles Times, April 15). She rejected “the failed doctrine of preemption.”
Senator Feinstein dismissed as “pure folly” the theory that nuclear “bunker busters” could destroy buried targets. No missile casing would be strong enough to thrust deep enough into concrete or granite to prevent the spewing of radiation, so the bombs “would kill tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people across the Middle East.”
She questioned whether the administration had learned from its mistakes in Iraq: Bush presented “preemption” to West Point in June 2002. The National Security Strategy spelled it out three months later, recently reiterating it. Under that policy, the U.S. may attack first when “grave dangers materialize.”
Yet, Feinstein wrote, “it is the doctrine itself that is dangerous.” It demands that intelligence be right every time, which may be impossible. Moreover, she said, it promotes nuclear proliferation if nations believe that only nuclear weapons make them safe.
Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) appealed for direct diplomacy with Iran to achieve a negotiated solution (Financial Times, UK, May 8).
He scored the unwillingness of the U.S. to engage Iran and urged that both sides “moderate the overheated rhetoric.” A diplomatic agenda should address the broader interests of Iran, the U.S., the region, and the world, Senator Hagel said. He expected that any solution would require security assurances for Iran.
Attacking Iran would not destroy Iran’s nuclear ability but would strengthen its determination, he said. “A military option would also inflame the Middle East and the global Muslim population, crippling U.S. security, economic and strategic interests.”
Iran’s repulsive president has limited authority in the Iranian theocracy, the senator pointed out. Hagel would support those officials who want to find a solution.
Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT), both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and invariable war supporters, both rattled sabers on two “Face the Nation” programs on CBS in January.
McCain got abundant media publicity upon remarking that the one thing worse than a U.S. attack was “a nuclear-armed Iran.” (By that logic, a real nuclear war is preferable to a hypothetical one.) Lieberman saw little hope of peacefully containing “a religious fanatic who possesses nuclear weapons” and does “not respond to conventional diplomacy.” (He meant the Iranian president but the statement fit the American president better. Only the latter is a commander-in-chief. Some have speculated that Bush welcomes nuclear war as a means of hastening the Biblical Armageddon.)
On April 18, Lieberman told The Jerusalem Post that “a justifiable use of military power would be an attempt to deter the development of their nuclear program,” even though it would not knock it out completely. (He did not say how many lives that attempt at deterrence was worth.)
Back on “Face the Nation” on May 7, McCain advocated no diplomacy in the absence of a glimmer of hope. In English prose worthy of George W., McCain said, “But here’s a nation with the capability to deliver nuclear weapons to a country that to its extinction they are dedicated to.” (McCain meant Iran and Israel respectively but could have been talking about the U.S. and Iran.)
LEGISLATION IN CONGRESS
On April 26, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and 26 co-sponsors introduced a resolution (H. Con. Res. 391) in the House of Representatives against a presidential war on Iran. It declares that the House, with the Senate concurring, “strongly and unequivocally believes that seeking congressional authority prior to taking military action against Iran is not discretionary, but is a legal and constitutional requirement.” DeFazio and some 60 members of the House also wrote to President Bush expressing the same view.
Two hostile bills are pending. On April 26, the House voted 297-21 for “The Iran Freedom Support Act,” H.R. 282, introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), “To hold the current regime accountable for its threatening behavior and to support a transition to democracy in Iran.” It calls for sanctions for Iran’s “repeated breaches” of its international obligations and a transition to “democracy.” Of course, it has the facts topsy-turvy: Which government is threatening which, and which government violates its international obligations?
A similar bill, introduced in the Senate by Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) is “The Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2005" (sic), S. 333, with 60 cosponsors. At least H.R. 282 says it may not be construed to authorize the use of force; S. 333 does not contain such a restriction. Both bills are in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (The Senate leadership will decide which bill to work with. A Senate-House conference committee is expected to meet to settle the differences.)
Ideally, senators would think of the way Bush brought “democracy” to Iraq — and the more than 100,000 people killed in the process — and reject the legislation; oppose war on Iran; forbid the use of nuclear weapons; and support negotiation, rather than confrontation.
Congress has full power to ban the use of nuclear weapons. The Constitution (Article I, Section 8) not only gives Congress the sole authority to decide to go to war: It also authorizes Congress to make rules governing and regulating armed forces and make all laws that are necessary and proper to carry out its powers.
THREE CONGRESSMEN SAY BILL LEADS TO WAR
Rep. DeFazio told the House that H.R. 282 would be “the first step in taking our country down the same misguided path that was taken with Iraq.” It would “establish a U.S. policy in favor of regime change in Iran.
“The Iranian exile groups that would likely benefit from the provisions in this bill eerily echo Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. Chalabi’s INC worked with the Bush administration to mislead Congress and the American people about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction in order to gain support for toppling Saddam Hussein, using U.S. forces.”
In another floor speech against H.R. 282, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), recalled the similar “Iraq Freedom Act” that came up in 1998, planned for regime change, and led to the current war.
He said the policy of intervention “comes back to harm us in the long run. At one time we were an ally of Saddam Hussein ... of Osama bin Laden.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said the bill “inhibits the ability of the U.S. government to use diplomacy” and “sets our country on a path to war with Iran” by standing for regime change and support for terrorists in that country. Kucinich has asked Bush, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and UN Ambassador Bolton to respond to reports of U.S. forces in Iran. Bolton (at a hearing of the House Government Reform Subcommittee May 2) pleaded ignorance, and the others are yet to reply.
Crimes against peace
An attack would violate several U.S. treaties, which under the Constitution’s Article 6 are U.S. law:
· The United Nations Charter, which forbids the waging of aggressive war, or even threatening it.
· The Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact — under which Nazis were convicted of crimes against peace — which also prohibits aggression.
· If nuclear weapons are used: the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, under which the U.S. pledges not to use such weapons on any non-nuclear nation.
· Almost certainly The Hague Convention, prohibiting any attack on a community, residence, or undefended building.
Any use of nuclear weapons also violates customary international law, as the World Court ruled in 1996.
Furthermore, for the president to start any war breaches the U.S. Constitution; war must first be declared by Congress. Statements by the founding fathers, U.S. courts, and contemporary authorities supporting that statement may be found below on this web site.
May 26, 2006