Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Obama "is technically and legally wrong"

Barack Obama should have gone into theater. His delivery is pitch perfect. His dramatic pauses, that somber mien, as he shovels out pile after pile of manure, is just awesome. As John Caruso said of his performance at the UN "if hypocrisy was fatal in large doses, Joe Biden would be president now. " The whole thing would be comical if only the consequences were not fatal for so many.

Obama's latest venture into drama was his breathless announcement of the "secret" Iranian nuclear facility. Iran had informed the IAEA about this "secret" facility and the IAEA had in turn informed the US. Those Iranians need to borrow Dick Cheney's man safe and learn how to do secret. Scott Ritter in the Guardian (h/t Finkelstein) has shredded any argument that what the Iranians did was, in Obamaspeak "breaking rules that all nations must follow":

The "rules" Iran is accused of breaking are not vague, but rather spelled out in clear terms. In accordance with Article 42 of Iran's Safeguards Agreement, and Code 3.1 of the General Part of the Subsidiary Arrangements (also known as the "additional protocol") to that agreement, Iran is obliged to inform the IAEA of any decision to construct a facility which would house operational centrifuges, and to provide preliminary design information about that facility, even if nuclear material had not been introduced. This would initiate a process of complementary access and design verification inspections by the IAEA.

This agreement was signed by Iran in December 2004. However, since the "additional protocol" has not been ratified by the Iranian parliament, and as such is not legally binding, Iran had viewed its implementation as being voluntary, and as such agreed to comply with these new measures as a confidence building measure more so than a mandated obligation.

In March 2007, Iran suspended the implementation of the modified text of Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part concerning the early provisions of design information. As such, Iran was reverting back to its legally-binding requirements of the original safeguards agreement, which did not require early declaration of nuclear-capable facilities prior to the introduction of nuclear material.

While this action is understandably vexing for the IAEA and those member states who are desirous of full transparency on the part of Iran, one cannot speak in absolute terms about Iran violating its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. So when Obama announced that "Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow", he is technically and legally wrong.
The media as well as the "liberal" interventionists who so fervently supported Obama are backing the Iran-is-the-new-evil theme with the same enthusiasm that their brethren the neocons (and the media of course) supported George W. Bush's many glorious adventures. Glenn Greenwald who seems increasingly isolated among the liberals tries to inject some sanity into the conversation

I think the number of his invitations to speak at "progressive" venues is about to take a nosedive.

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