The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 70/No. 7           February 20, 2006  
Imperialist powers succeed in referring
Iran to UN Security Council
(front page)
WASHINGTON—At a special meeting in Vienna February 4, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) decided in a 27-3 vote to refer Iran’s nuclear program to the UN Security Council. The step was a victory for Washington and its allies, particularly in the European Union. These imperialist powers claim Iran is secretly building nuclear arms and have been threatening Tehran with new economic sanctions and military attacks if it doesn’t stop developing atomic energy.

The U.S. government and its allies in the EU succeeded in cajoling Moscow and Beijing to go along. Only the governments of Cuba, Syria, and Venezuela voted no. Five governments—those of Algeria, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya, and South Africa—abstained.

“This decision does not contribute to opening new paths of negotiation, but rather to confrontation,” Gustavo Marquez, Venezuela’s delegate to the IAEA, said in a government news release. “There is an effort by nuclear powers, such as the United States, to develop a monopoly on nuclear energy, thus creating an economic and political dependence.”

The government of Iran responded by announcing it would resume “commercial-scale uranium enrichment,” a step necessary in the production of fuel for nuclear power, and halt surprise visits of its nuclear facilities by UN “inspectors.” Tehran insists nuclear power is necessary to meet its energy and development needs and denies it is trying to build an atomic bomb.

Many U.S. allies in Europe have closed ranks with Washington on the matter. “We must prevent Iran from developing its nuclear program further,” Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, said in a speech to the annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, held in the German city with the same name, as the IAEA was holding its meeting in Vienna.

Merkel said Iran’s government has “blatantly crossed the red line,” not just with its nuclear program but with its president’s statements against Israel. “A president that questions Israel’s right to exist, a president that denies the Holocaust, cannot expect to receive any tolerance from Germany,” she said.

“The Iranian regime is today the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” declared U.S. secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld at the Munich conference, adding that Washington and its allies must work together to “prevent a nuclear Iran.”

The imperialist powers succeeded in getting most of the 16 members of the Non-Aligned Movement represented in the IAEA—including Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, India, and Ghana—to vote for referring Iran to the UN Security Council. To save face, a number of these regimes rationalized their vote by pointing to a clause that they argued be included in the IAEA resolution. It states: “A solution to the Iranian issue would contribute to global non-proliferation efforts and to realizing the objective of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, including their means of delivery.”

Washington succeeded in watering down this clause to avoid explicit reference to nuclear arms, since Tel Aviv, the strongest U.S. ally in the region, has such weapons without admitting it publicly.

The IAEA resolution says there is an “absence of confidence that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.” It demands that Tehran “re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the Agency.” It also orders the Iranian government to give UN snoops additional powers to investigate Iran’s nuclear program, including “access to individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, [and] certain military-owned workshops.” And it instructs the IAEA director general to report to the UN Security Council in March on whether Iran adhered to these demands.

Javad Vaidi, deputy secretary of Iran’s National Security Council, said his government would resume uranium enrichment and stop cooperating with UN inspectors.

Appealing for support to other countries oppressed by imperialism, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said that a few nuclear states, “the hegemonic powers, assume if they would manage to block Iran’s path, they would also succeed in blocking other nations’ path.”

Tehran says it must develop atomic energy to meet the country’s growing needs. In an article in the January 19 New Zealand Herald, Iran’s ambassador to New Zealand, Kambiz Sheikh-Hassani, made the case succinctly. He pointed out that Iran’s nuclear program began under the U.S.-backed regime of the shah, which was toppled through a popular revolution in 1979. Since then, he noted, “The Iranian population has more than doubled, from 32 million to nearly 70 million…. Iran’s installed electrical capacity is 30,000 megawatts and the country needs additional generation of 2000 megawatts each year, which under the best possible circumstances, including the immediate lifting of U.S. sanctions and a flow of vast investment capital into Iran, cannot be produced by oil and gas alone.” The Iranian official said if current trends don’t get reversed, Tehran will become a net importer of oil by the end of this decade. The country today relies on oil for 80 percent of its foreign currency and 45 percent of its annual budget.  
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