Perhaps, devoid of any actual evidence, Kuperman simply takes as a matter of faith that the Iranian government is intent on and committed to acquiring nuclear weapons. Maybe he’s just worried about supposed apocalyptic ideologies of modern governments which blend theocracy and republicanism and agrees with war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu, who warned during his September 24 speech at the UN, in what may have been the single most ironic and self-unaware statement since “Let them eat cake”, that “the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction.” This amazing statement came from the designated (not elected) Prime Minister of a self-described “Jewish State” which currently has upwards of 400 nuclear warheads yet has never signed the NPT and is therefore not subject to inspection and monitoring.
But if faith really is a consideration, due to the fact that Iran is a deeply religious society and a constitutionally mandated Islamic Republic, perhaps Mr. Kuperman should be aware that, on August 10, 2005, Iranian nuclear negotiator Sirus Naseri informed an emergency meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors that a religious decree unconditionally prohibiting the acquisition of nuclear weapons was in effect. He stated,
“The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued the fatwa that the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who took office just recently, in his inaugural address reiterated that his government is against weapons of mass destruction and will only pursue nuclear activities in the peaceful domain.
“The leadership of Iran has pledged at the highest level that Iran will remain a non-nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT and has placed the entire scope of its nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards and Additional Protocol, in addition to undertaking voluntary transparency measures with the agency that have even gone beyond the requirements of the agency’s safeguard system.”
Furthermore, Congressional foreign policy advisor Gregory Aftandilian, speaking at a Center for National Policy event titled “A Nuclear Middle East” in October 2008, stated rationally that Iran is “not stupid” and “has a long history, thousands of years, of statecraft…Tehran is not suicidal.”
Even more to the point, the government and military of Iran has a strict “no first strike” policy, something that countries like the United States and Israel obviously don’t have. Iranian government and military officials have long stated that they will act in self-defense only if their country is attacked and have never issued threats about initiating aggression against another nation. As General Hoseyn Salami, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Air Force, remarked on an Iranian news program on September 28, 2009, “As long as our enemies act within a political domain, our behavior will be completely political. However, if they want to leave the domain of political action and enter the domain of military threat, then our action will be exactly and completely military.”
Whereas Iran operates legally with defensive consideration for its own security in the face of constant bellicose rhetoric and aggressive posturing from both Washington and Tel Aviv, Mr. Kuperman’s advice to the US government directly contravenes international law. In fact, even the threat of attack is prohibited by the Charter of the United Nations, which states, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” (Article 2, paragraph 4)
In July 1946, Robert Jackson, the chief US prosecutor at Nuremburg after World War II, stated in his Closing Argument of the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal that of all Nazi war crimes, including invasion, occupation, mass displacement, concentration and extermination camps, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, “the central crime in this pattern of crimes, the kingpin which holds them all together, is the plot for aggressive wars.”
When the judgment of the IMT was delivered a few months later, it maintained that “To initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
The Nuremburg judgment had a profound influence on subsequent international law; its findings and conclusions served as the framework for UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), The Geneva Convention on the Laws and Customs of War (1949) and its additional protocols (1977), The Nuremberg Principles (1950), The Convention on the Abolition of the Statute of Limitations on War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity (1968), and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998).
Considering Mr. Kuperman has a Masters degree in international relations and international economics from the Bologna-based Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, one might assume he would have a strong grasp on these governing principles of international law. Alas, as his policy suggestions seem based upon myriad misunderstandings of simple information and are tantamount to the supreme war crime of aggression, it appears that his higher education is not the only thing about Kuperman that’s bologna based.
Kuperman begins his OpEd by declaring that the recent draft agreement proposed by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (all of them nuclear weapons states) and Germany (which engages in “nuclear sharing” with the United States, widely seen as a major breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty itself) was defective from the outset and would have aided Iran on, as Kuperman would have us believe, its nefarious quest to build nuclear bombs. He claims that the proposal, which called for roughly 70% of Iran’s accumulated low-enriched uranium to be sent to Russia and France for further processing before it was returned (sometime in the future) for use in a medical reactor core in Tehran, would have “rewarded [Iran] with much-coveted reactor fuel despite violating international law” and “fostered proliferation” because “the vast surplus of higher-enriched fuel Iran was to get under the deal would have permitted some to be diverted to its bomb program.”
The Western proposal was met with considerable and understandable skepticism from all segments of Iranian establishment who see the offer as being a way to permanently stop Iran’s enrichment capabilities, which are legally guaranteed by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran has been a signatory for over 40 years. Iran’s Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani warned on October 24 that “Westerners are insisting to go in a direction that suggests cheating.” Iran’s head-of-state Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaking on November 4, also cautioned against the deal, stating, “When we carefully look at the situation, we notice that [the United States and its allies] are hiding a dagger behind their back.”
Even Mir Hossein Mousavi, presidential challenger and leader of the current opposition movement, criticized the proposal in late October when he declared, “If the promises given [to the West] are realized, then the hard work of thousands of scientists would be ruined.” Mehdi Karroubi, another opposition leader and presidential hopeful, accused Ahmadinejad’s administration of abandoning national interests by negotiating with the IAEA.