American Likudniks have been “examining” the consequences to our national security of an Israeli “pre-emptive” strike against certain Iranian facilities and programs, all now subject to an International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards Agreement.

Whenever President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Sharon get together, they invariably discuss Iran’s “nuclear weapons programs.”

“It would be intolerable for the Middle East if they [Iran] get a nuclear weapon,” Bush said after their April 14 meeting.

There doesn’t seem to be much doubt in Washington that the Iranian programs have to be “taken out” – safeguarded or not. Recall that the Iraqi programs that Israel “took out” back in 1981 – using U.S.-supplied fighter bombers – were also safeguarded.

A decade later, then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney thanked the Israelis for having done so. But the rest of the world didn’t thank the Israelis then, and they won’t now.

Here are excerpts from U.N. Security Council Resolution 487 (1981), condemning the Israeli pre-emptive strike.

Fully aware of the fact that Iraq has been a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons since it came into force in 1970, that, in accordance with that treaty, Iraq has accepted IAEA safeguards on all its nuclear activities, and that the agency has testified that these safeguards have been satisfactorily applied to date;

Fully recognises the inalienable sovereign right of Iraq – and all other states, especially the developing countries – to establish programmes of technological and nuclear development, to develop their economy and industry – for peaceful purposes – in accordance with their present and future needs, and consistent with the internationally accepted objectives of preventing nuclear-weapons proliferation;

Strongly condemns the military attack by Israel – in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct;

Calls upon Israel to refrain in the future from any such acts or threats thereof;

Further considers that the said attack constitutes a serious threat to the entire IAEA safeguards regime, which is the foundation of the non-proliferation treaty.

For the record, no non-nuke NPT signatory subject to the IAEA Safeguards regime has ever developed nukes. Israel, Pakistan and India have never been NPT signatories. China and South Africa were not NPT signatories at the time they developed nukes. Iraq, Libya and North Korea may have tried to develop nukes, but they didn’t succeed.

During the past year or so, Iran has given IAEA inspectors unprecedented and unlimited access to go anywhere and see anything thought suspicious. The IAEA has found no evidence that Iran now has – or has ever had – a nuke development program.

Nevertheless, on May 6, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by an overwhelming margin (376-3) a resolution that said – among other things – that Congress:

  1. Condemns in the strongest possible terms Iran’s continuing deceptions and falsehoods to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the international community about its nuclear programs and activities;

  2. Calls upon all State Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), including the United States, to use all appropriate means to deter, dissuade and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, including ending all nuclear and other cooperation with Iran (including the provision of dual use items), until Iran fully implements the Additional Protocol between Iran and the IAEA for the application of safeguards;

  3. Declares that Iran, through its many breaches for 18 years of its Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, has forfeited the right to be trusted with development of a nuclear fuel cycle, especially with uranium conversion and enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technology, equipment and facilities.

So what’s going on? Rep. Ron Paul, R, Teaxas – one of the three who voted against the resolution – thinks he knows:

I find it incomprehensible that as the failure of our Iraq policy becomes more evident – even to its most determined advocates – we here are approving the same kind of policy toward Iran.

With Iraq becoming more of a problem daily, the solution as envisioned by this legislation is to look for yet another fight. And we should not fool ourselves: This legislation sets the stage for direct conflict with Iran.

The resolution “calls upon all State Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), including the United States, to use all appropriate means to deter, dissuade and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. …”

Note the phrase “… use all appropriate means …”

So, will U.S. pilots – or Israeli pilots “under contract” – “take out” the Iranian Safeguarded facilities? Stay tuned.

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