What Obama and Romney Didn't Say At the Debate: 9 Things You Should Know About Iran's Nuclear Program
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"The only time we found Iran in breach of its obligations not to use undeclared nuclear material was when they had experimented in 2003 and 2004 at Kalaye. Those were experiments. And I have been making it very clear that with regard to these alleged studies, we have not seen any use of nuclear material, we have not received any information that Iran has manufactured any part of a nuclear weapon or component. That’s why I say, to present the Iran threat as imminent is hype."
The "alleged studies" ElBaradei referred to are alleged documents supposedly obtained from a mysterious stolen Iranian Laptop of Death, the authenticity of which has long been known to rest somewhere on the spectrum of dubious to fabricated, and which was provided to the IAEA by the United States by way of the MEK by way of the Mossad and has never been made fully available to the IAEA itself, the press, the public or even Iran itself to investigate, authenticate or assess. In fact, reportedly, the laptop's "information does not contain any words such as nuclear or nuclear warhead."
Furthermore, a 2007 report from The Los Angeles Times revealed that, according to IAEA officials, "most U.S. intelligence shared with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate, and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran" and confirmed that its inspectors "have found no proof that nuclear material has been diverted for use in weapons." A senior diplomat at the IAEA was quoted as saying, "Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that's come to us has proved to be wrong."
Despite the appointment of Yukiya Amano, the America's man in Vienna (and self-declared as "solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision"), as IAEA Director-General, the agency has continued to verify Iran's safeguard commitments.
3. The IAEA safeguards and inspects all nuclear facilities in Iran.
Iran's nuclear sites, facilities, and centrifuges are all under 24-hour video surveillance by the IAEA, subject to IAEA monitoring and bimonthly inspections, and material seal application. Though not required or authorized under Iran's Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, since March 2007 the IAEA has conducted dozens of unannounced and snap inspections of Iran's facilities.
"There is no truth to media reports claiming that the IAEA was not able to get access" to Iran's nuclear facilities, IAEA spokesman Marc Vidricaire affirmed in 2007. "We have not been denied access at any time."
The IAEA has consistently confirmed - often four times a year for nearly a decade - that "all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities."
Parchin is not a nuclear facility. It is a military facility not safeguarded by the IAEA and therefore off-limits legally to its inspectors. Iran voluntarily allowed two rounds of inspections of Parchin by IAEA personnel in 2005. No traces of nuclear weapons work were found.
4. Iran, by default, already has "nuclear weapons capability."
Iran, with its operational enrichment facilities and a functioning power plant, theoretically already has such "capability," as do at least 140 other countries that "currently have the basic technical capacity to produce nuclear weapons.” Additionally, according to Green Peace, "[o]ver 40 countries have the materials and knowhow to build nuclear weapons quickly, a capacity that is referred to as 'rapid break-out.'"
In May 2010, the 189 member nations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - including Iran - agreed to "the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction." In response, Israel denounced the accord, describing it as "deeply flawed and hypocritical," and declared, "As a nonsignatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this Conference, which has no authority over Israel. Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation."
The document called upon Pakistan, India, and Israel (the only three states never to have signed to NPT, each of which has a nuclear arsenal unmonitored by the IAEA) to all sign the treaty and abide by its protocols "without further delay and without any preconditions," and demanded that North Korea (which withdrew from the NPT in 2003) abandon "all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs."
Nevertheless, both President Obama and National Security Adviser General James Jones condemned the resolution (which the U.S. signed) as unfairly "singl[ing] out Israel." Obama added that the U.S. would "oppose actions that jeopardize Israel's national security." Considering Obama's alleged determination to address the issue of global nuclear proliferation, this statement and the absence of any high-level U.S. government personnel at the summit speaks volumes.
Early in his presidency, in April 2009, Obama delivered a major speech in Prague about nuclear weapons and proliferation. In it he declared, "clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," shortly thereafter reaffirming that "the United States will take concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons."
While Obama set out parameters to strengthen the NPT, stating his vision that "countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy," he name-checked both North Korea and Iran, while never once mentioning Israel's stockpile of hundreds of deliverable nuclear warheads.
In October of that year, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize would be "awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," continuing that, "[t]he Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons."
After Obama convened and presided over a Nuclear Security Summit in April 2010, he gave a press conference in which he noted that "[w]hen the United States improves our own nuclear security and transparency, it encourages others to do the same," adding, "When the United States fulfills our responsibilities as a nuclear power committed to the NPT, we strengthen our global efforts to ensure that other nations fulfill their responsibilities."
Scott Wilson of the Washington Post asked Obama whether, in his effort "to bring U.S. policy in line with its treaty obligations internationally" and "eliminate the perception of hypocrisy that some of the world sees toward the United States and its allies," he would "call on Israel to declare its nuclear program and sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty" and "if not, why wouldn't other countries see that as an incentive not to sign on to the treaty that you say is important to strengthen?" Obama replied,