Iran's Legal Right to Enrich Uranium Challenged
by Stephen Lendman
It's been that way for years. Iran fully complies with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions. Its nuclear program is peaceful. US intelligence says so. Annually it repeats earlier assessments.
Washington, other Western countries, and Israel know what they won't admit publicly. So do media scoundrels. They target Iran unfairly.
They report what's not true. They hype fear. They spread Big Lies. They claim non-existent existential threats. They do it for political, not security reasons.
Iran threatens no one. It hasn't attacked another country in centuries. Its neighbors have no reasons for concern.
Israel points fingers the wrong way. It's the region's only nuclear power. It's heavily armed and dangerous. It's got sophisticated chemical and biological weapons. It threatens to use its arsenal if endangered.
On January 31, Iran announced plans to enhance uranium enrichment. It told IAEA officials it intends to use new IR2m centrifuges.
An agency communication said:
"The Secretariat of the Agency received a letter from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) dated 23 January 2013 informing the Agency that 'centrifuge machines type IR2m will be used in Unit A-22' at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz."
It's Tehran's main enrichment facility. It's used to enrich uranium to 5%. Faster enrichment runs counter to Western demands. They want Iran to abandon its legitimate rights altogether.
Dozens of other nations have similar nuclear operations. Demands to suspend activities don't follow. Tehran alone is targeted. It's solely for political reasons.
On January 29, IAEA officials asked Iran to provide technical and other information about its plans. The unit Tehran plans to upgrade can house over 3,000 centrifuges.
International Institute for Strategic Studies nuclear expert Mark Fitzpatrick said upgraded centrifuges could be "a most unfortunate game changer."
It depends on the number installed. "If Iran introduces them in a large scale, the timeline for being able to produce fissile material for nuclear material would be significantly reduced," he said.
Tehran does so for power generation and medical research. Its program is peaceful. Claiming otherwise is false.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov calls Iran's enhanced enrichment plans acceptable. They're within legal limits. It's "doing everything in line with (its) commitment under the Safeguards Agreement," he said.
In 1974, Tehran and IAEA agreed on terms. Iran enriches uranium to 20%. It's enough for commercial power and medical research. It's far below levels needed for nuclear weapons.
"The IAEA has been notified, and (it) will be there (to) supervise this, but I'd like to repeat that this is a legal aspect of the matter, while the political aspect is that we, along with the other Security Council members, have called on Iran to freeze enrichment operations during the negotiations."
New centrifuges are being installed shortly after new negotiations failed. It's not for lack of trying. It's not because Iran doesn't negotiate in good faith. It's because Washington (and Israel behind the scenes) obstruct legitimate talks.
Both countries want Iran's legal rights denied. Its nuclear program is red herring cover for regime change. Unreasonable demands are made. Non-existent violations are claimed.
On January 31, Washington called Tehran's enhanced enrichment plans "provocative." Saying so overstepped. Iran's within its rights. It pursues what NPT permits. Challenging its legitimate program is out of line.
Iran's the world's most heavily inspected nuclear power. It's done daily round-the-clock. Israel and Washington tolerate no inspections. IAEA doesn't ask. Iran alone is unfairly targeted.
It goes out of its way to cooperate. Its government isn't extremist. It doesn't seek Israel's destruction. It pursues peace, not war. Claiming otherwise is provocative and false.
Israel represents the only regional danger. It menaces neighbors. They have reason to fear. Friendly relations await them in Tehran. Some openly welcome them.
Iran opens all its nuclear facilities to inspection. Parchin is unrelated to nuclear development. It's a military complex. No evidence suggests nuclear related tests are conducted there.
IAEA's been there before. It took environmental samples. They were negative. Parchin manufactures and tests conventional explosives.
IAEA found nothing consistent with nuclear weapons research and development. False claims are made anyway.
Iran's not obligated to permit Parchin inspections. It's willing anyway on one condition. It demands Israel stop threatening to attack. It's not too much to ask.
Netanyahu demands red lines, deadlines and timelines. Claims about an existential Iranian threat don't wash. Bluster substitutes for conflict resolution sincerity. Curbing an alleged Iranian threat is cover for removing Israel's main regional rival.
Fiction substitutes for fact. Claims are whatever is said at the time. It's for political advantage. Iran reacts responsibly. It's ready to do whatever it takes. It won't sacrifice its legitimate rights in the process.
It wants honest give and take on both sides. It's ready to meet anyone halfway. It negotiates fairly. In mid-January, it tried again. Two days of talks achieved no breakthroughs.
Iran met with IAEA inspectors. Both sides agreed on follow-up talks. They're scheduled for February 12. Expect little more then than now. Washington calls the shots. It does so jointly with Israel.
Doing so assures failure. It's hard achieving breakthroughs. Hardline obstruction prevents them. Iran tries sincerely anyway. For years, it's sought peaceful conflict resolution. It's not about to quit now.
Accusations keep coming. Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta took his last shot. He lied. He accused Iran of regional destabilization. He claimed its smuggling anti-aircraft weapons to militant allies.
"There is no question when you start passing manpads around, that becomes a threat - not just to military aircraft but to civilian aircraft," he said. "This is an escalation."
MANPADS (MPADS) are shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). They threaten helicopters and other low-flying aircraft. Many countries use them. They've been around for decades.
Panetta claims Yemen and Washington jointly intercepted a boat carrying MANPADS, military grade explosives, rocket-propelled grenades, and bomb-making equipment. "It's one of the first times we have seen it," he said.
They were heading for Yemen's northern-based "Houthi separatists," he claimed. Iran also stepped up aid to southern-based rebels, he added.
No evidence suggests Iranian involvement. Panetta blamed Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp. anyway. Washington is increasing efforts to counter its threat, he stressed.
America, Israel, key NATO partners, and rogue Arab states are the region's only threats. Iran denies interfering in Yemeni affairs. Washington piles on charges anyway.
Defense Secretary designee Chuck Hagel promises no letup. He left no ambiguity. He capitulated to imperial lawlessness.
He promised to be a reliable spear-carrier. He pledged support for Israel. He vowed to continue America's "war on terror." He affirmed Washington's permanent war policy.
During his January 31 confirmation hearing he said:
"My overall world view has never changed: that America has and must maintain the strongest military in the world, that we must lead the international community to confront threats and challenges together, and take advantage of opportunities together; that we must use all our tools of American power to protect our citizens and our interests."
Make no mistake. Obama prioritizes war. Current ones continue. New ones are planned. At issue is advancing Washington's global footprint.
America glorifies wars in the name of peace. Might justifies right. Imperial wars are called liberating ones. Democracy is a figure of speech.
Unchallenged imperial dominance is policy. Warmaking is prioritized. Today is the most perilous time in world history. Daily events should scare everyone. Obama menaces humanity. It may not survive another four years.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.