This is arguably the first time in history of the Security Council that an entire nation is being punished based not on actual violations of international law, but on pure speculation on the part of some powerful countries, regarding its hypothetical future conduct. As Seymour Hersh reported in The New Yorker, both the CIA and the Israeli intelligence have been unable to substantiate any nuclear weapons program in Iran.
Without the slightest evidence presented by the IAEA that indicates the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, the US and the UK have successfully maneuvered to take Iran’s legitimate rights away and to label Iran a “violator” for resisting this transgression. Let us not forget the lessons of the illegal Iraq invasion, the justification for which followed the same path through the UN Security Council only four years ago.
This is an insult to the institution of the UN and the idea of international diplomacy in general. Peace-seeking people everywhere should recognize this for what it is: a manufactured crisis leading to a military strike and a first step toward a new and even more devastating war in the Middle East.
Sanctions are being justified as a "security concern" of the United States and a handful of other nations, not as being the will of the world community. Even at the Security Council level a unanimous vote has only been made possible after unprecedented political pressure was brought to bear by the US. As the Observer reported last Sunday, the US is giving up to 270% more foreign aid to Security Council members as incentive for them to support US positions.
The token sanctions agreed upon by the UNSC members today will have almost zero chance of obtaining their ostensible objectives on their own. As we have noted elsewhere, the point of such sanctions is hardly the nuclear weapons program for which no evidence exists; the real purpose is to pave the way for the forceful imposition of severe economic sanctions and to justify military enforcement by US and UK. The sanctions are imposed simply to undermine the entire diplomatic process and to conclude that military intervention is a viable option for this manufactured problem.
Indicative of this frame of mind is the inclusion of Iran’s “missile programs” in the UN resolution. The explicit mention of conventional missile (which are not WMD and clearly legal under international law) is reminiscent of the UN supervised destruction of Iraq’s al-Samoud missiles before the 2003 invasion. In retrospect, the strong US/UK opposition to these conventional arms was just an excuse to eliminate Iraq’s defenses in order to better facilitate the subsequent planned invasion.
The point is to create some international legitimacy for striking Iran, just as the 2002 UN resolution did for Iraq. Despite no authorization for the use of force, President Bush still claimed that US is “enforcing the UN resolution” and “the will of the international community” by invading Iraq.
In this light, we note that there may actually be no way for Iran to comply with the UN demands, as any such compliance will have to be subjected to intrusive “verification,” which is designed to remain inconclusive. Just as the repeated American demands for more and more intrusive inspections, for opening up of Saddam’s palaces and interviewing Iraqi scientists did not satisfy America’s suspicions; neither will Iran’s “compliance” with these demands be ever sufficient to “prove” the non-existence of a WMD program. Indeed all Iranian overtures, including the allowance of full and frequent inspections to ensure Iran’s compliance have so far been ignored by the Bush Administration. Iranians may now conclude that since they are unable to show their innocence, they may as well not cooperate at all.
Sanctions can not destroy non-existent nukes or fictitious weapons programs, but they can destroy peace. We maintain that honest, ethical dialogue with mutual respect, free from hostile threats, is the only path to a peaceful resolution.
In support of Kofi Annan’s request for a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue last Tuesday, CASMII renews its call for immediate and unconditional negotiations with Iran as requested not just by the overwhelming majority of the international community including the non-aligned movement (NAM) but also by the bipartisan commission headed by James Baker and Lee Hamilton. The Bush Administration should not be allowed to once again defy the will of the world and sabotage the chances for a peaceful settlement in this nuclear standoff.
Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII)