by Radio Netherlands –
(July 23, 2003) – As the US, EU, and other Western nations increase pressure on Iran to allow weapons inspectors spontaneous access to nuclear sites, some analysts have pointed out the arrogance of a stance which they say is hypocritical.
While the reported International Atomic Energy Agency discovery last week of enriched uranium at an undisclosed site in Iran has been viewed with alarm, most nations are ignoring the regional presence of a nuclear-armed state which has not signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty at all; Israel.
Phyllis Bennis from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington delves deeper into the double standard in this interview with RN’s Josh Maiyo:
Phyllis Bennis: “We don’t know any of the details of what has been found [in Iran]. What we do know is whatever it was, it was traces. It was not a functioning weapons system, it was not something about to become a weapon.
“The danger, of course, is that the Bush administration has shown itself willing to use exaggerated or even outright false, forged, evidence to bolster their claim. Rather than using intelligence information to come to a decision, they make a decision that is ideologically driven, and based on that decision they go and find evidence, whether it’s true or not, and claim it as a way of bolstering their position. We need to be very cautious that they not be allowed to repeat that around Iran.”
RN: “But is there any real evidence that these traces of enriched uranium actually do exist?”
PB: “So far all we have is the initial report of the IAEA, there are no details being made available. The question is, it comes back to the ‘what if’ test. What if there are traces of enriched uranium? That would be problematic, and we would hope that the IAEA would engage seriously with the Iranians to open up for more inspections. But more significantly, it goes to the question of the enormous hypocrisy of the US and its nuclear allies, who under the terms of the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) are obligated not simply to monitor other countries’ agreements not to create nuclear weapons, but to move on their own to complete nuclear disarmament of their own weapons. The refusal of the US to even consider nuclear disarmament, while making these kinds of allegations about countries that may consider some sort of creation of a nuclear programme, regrettable though that may be, simply reeks of hypocrisy.”
RN: “Iran continues to deny these allegations, but America’s chief ally in the region, Israel, has already warned that Iran’s nuclear ambition is a global threat. Do you think we may start seeing a lot of reports like this hinting at Iran’s nuclear weapons programme?”
PB: “There certainly have been indications before when US, and Israel, and other US allies have made such allegations. I hope that this does not escalate into a new roundabout of unsubstantiated allegations. We should point out Israel’s uninspected, unapproved, and illegal nuclear weapons. Israel is the fifth-largest nuclear power in the world, illegally, not a signatory to the NPT. Israel has consistently refused, with US support, to put those weapons under international inspection, and to sign the NPT. So we should be very sceptical about taking seriously Israel’s claims about others in the region. Israel’s nuclear arsenal represents an ongoing instability in the region.”