One result of Bush’s re-election will be an attempt next month by Undersecretary of State John Bolton to deny Mohamed ElBaradei another term as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IAEA was originally set up in 1957 to promote the international, safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy. But, in 1968, the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons gave the IAEA this important additional mission.


Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept Safeguards – as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agency’s Safeguards system – for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty, with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

ElBaradei was originally appointed in December 1997 and re-appointed to a second term in September 2001. A third term would begin in September 2005

ElBaradei had been a senior member of the IAEA Secretariat since 1984, holding a number of high-level policy positions, including that of the IAEA legal adviser and, beginning in 1993, assistant director general for external relations.

The IAEA Secretariat comprises 2,200 multi-disciplinary professionals and supporting staff drawn from more than 90 countries. No NPT signatory has yet “diverted” any “source or special fissionable material” made subject to an IAEA Safeguards agreement

So, what has Bolton got against ElBaradei?

Well, back in 1991, as a condition of gaining a “cease-fire” in Gulf War I, Iraq unconditionally accepted U.N. Security Council Resolution 707, which required Iraq’s full cooperation in the destruction, removal or rendering harmless – under IAEA supervision – of all nuclear-weapons-usable materials, all potentially related subsystems or components and all potentially related research, development, support and manufacturing facilities.

In September 1991, the IAEA seized documents in Iraq completely characterizing its secret NPT-prohibited nuke program. By the end of 1992, the IAEA had largely destroyed, removed or rendered harmless all relevant Iraqi facilities and equipment.

Hence, long before December 1998 – when IAEA inspections were brought to a halt by Clinton’s attempt to depose Saddam Hussein from 20,000 feet – ElBaradei could report that Iraq was in substantive compliance with UNSCR-707.

Four years later, at the insistence of President Bush, the Security Council passed UNSCR-1441. Bush claimed to have “slam-dunk” evidence that ElBaradei had missed finding significant components of Iraq’s nuke program. Bush alleged Saddam still had a nuke program and would have nukes to give terrorists within a year or less.

So ElBaradei and his inspectors went back in and conducted a total of 218 inspections at 141 sites, including 21 sites designated by Bush that the IAEA had never inspected before.

Result? On March 7, 2003, ElBaradei told the Security Council, “After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq.”

A few days later, on March 16, 2003, the United States, United Kingdom and Spain announced that – contrary to U.N. inspectors’ reports to the Security Council – they were convinced the threat posed by Saddam was so grave and imminent that they could wait no longer for a Security Council resolution authorizing their use of force. They informed U.N. Secretary General Kofi Anan and ElBaradei that it would not be “prudent” for their personnel to remain in Iraq.

Hence, ElBaradei effectively prevented the U.N. “sanctioned” application of the Bush Doctrine – shoot first and rationalize the killing later – to Iraq last year. Worse, he has thus far prevented the U.N. “sanctioned” application of the Bush Doctrine to Iran.

Bolton and the neo-crazies insist – as they did last year about Iraq – that Iran has a nuke program under way in violation of the NPT. They want the IAEA Board of Governors to refer their charges to the U.N. Security Council for possible punishment. However, ElBaradei is due to present a report next week to the IAEA Board summarizing his two-year intrusive investigation of Iran’s nuclear program. He is expected to report that he found no evidence of a nuke program in Iran.

A decision by the 35-member board to make such a referral – or to appoint the IAEA director general – requires a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting. Bolton is unlikely to get the two-thirds majority for the referral. But he may prevent a two-thirds majority from re-appointing ElBaradei.

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