Plus, just last week, Iranian Intelligence Ministry announced that a number of MEK members have been arrested for violent activity and destruction of public and private property at recent anti-government protests in Tehran.

American involvement, both overt and covert, in Iranian affairs is beyond doubt, thereby making Mr. Kuperman’s blow-off of Iran’s “fears of Western manipulation” completely absurd.

In a June 24, 2009 interview on Al Jazeera reporter Josh Rushing asked former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft if the US has “intelligence operatives on the ground in Iran,” to which Scowcroft simply replies, “Of course we do.”

The very next day, USA Today reported that “the Obama administration is moving forward with plans to fund groups that support Iranian dissidents” via the US Agency for International Development (USAID) program which has long been known as a cover for the US government to fund regime change operations in various parts of the world.

A few days later, during a June 28 CNN interview with Robert Baer, Fareed Zakaria asked the retired 21 year CIA veteran and former Middle East undercover operative, “Isn’t it true that we do [try to destabilize the regime]? Don’t we fund various groups inside and outside Iran that do try to destabilize the government?” Baer answered, “Oh absolutely,” adding, “There is a covert action program against Iran where the [U.S.] military is running; a covert action against Iran from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

One month later, on July 26, Mr. Zakaria interviewed Seyyed Mohammad Marandi, a North America studies professor and political analyst at the University of Tehran. Mr. Marandi revealed that “Right now you have almost 40 television channels in Persian being broadcast into Iran from the United States and Europe – basically funded by the American government and European governments, or in some cases owned – which have played a very negative role over the past few weeks, turning people against one another… in many cases, they call for riots, and they call for violence.” Mr. Zakaria, for unknown reasons, took it upon himself to deny these widely-accepted and wellevidenced allegations.

The veracity of such claims was confirmed a couple weeks later, on August 9, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared “Now, behind the scenes, we were doing a lot,” Clinton said. “We were doing a lot to really empower the protesters without getting in the way. And we’re continuing to speak out and support the opposition.”

Even John Limbert, embassy hostage turned Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Near East at the US State Department, chimed in during a December 10, 2009 interview with CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour. He stated that the United States government “will not sit silently” and “will not ignore what happens on the streets of Tehran,” continuing that, “we believe, as we have always believed, that the Iranian people deserve decent treatment from their government.”

This is a truly amazing thing for a US official to say, especially one who worked in Tehran during the Iranian Revolution thirty years ago. At that time, the United States government supported, both vocally and materially, the brutal dictatorship of the Shah of Iran, referred to as “an island of stability” by President Carter in 1977. Under the Shah’s tyrannical rule, a Time article from January 7, 1980, tells us, “Dissent was ruthlessly suppressed, in part by the use of torture in the dungeons of SAVAK, the [US and Israeli-trained] secret police.”

Furthermore, the Time article continues,

“The depth of its commitment to the Shah apparently blinded Washington to the growing discontent. U.S. policymakers wanted to believe that their investment was buying stability and friendship; they trusted what they heard from the monarch, who dismissed all opposition as ‘the blah-blahs of armchair critics.’ Even after the revolution began, U.S. officials were convinced that ‘there is no alternative to the Shah.’ Carter took time out from the Camp David summit in September 1978 to phone the Iranian monarch and assure him of Washington’s continued support. [emphasis mine]

Limbert, of all people, should know better than to claim that the US government cares about the rights and desires of the Iranian people. What it really cares about, and has always cared about, is fueling protests of anti-imperial governments and bolstering opposition to administrations that repel American hegemony, hubris, and dominance.

It may also be interesting to note that, whereas the US Department of Defense considers “protests” to be a type of “low-level terrorist activity,” according to one of its 2009 training manuals, State Department official Limbert takes great pride in saluting the “brave people of Iran and who are going out on the street and demonstrating.” One wonders if he also salutes anti-war protesters here in the United States.

But this is all just the tip of Mr. Kuperman’s iceberg of deliberate disinformation.

Insisting multiple times during his piece that Iran is “violating international law” by not responding to UN Security Council resolutions calling for an immediate halt to its enrichment program, Mr. Kuperman again demonstrates his own lack of awareness of the fundamental principles of jus cogens, or peremptory norm, as it applies to the authority of UNSC resolutions and the NPT agreement. Again, this is surprising due to Mr. Kuperman’s current role as director of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas at Austin and his former stint as Senior Policy Analyst for the nongovernmental Nuclear Control Institute.

Mr. Kuperman might first want to review the tenets of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty first. Article IV of the treaty states:

1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty [which prohibit the transfer or acquisition of nuclear weapons].

2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world. [emphasis mine]

As neither the IAEA nor the US intelligence community has found any evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, Iran not only has the legal right to develop and produce peaceful nuclear energy on its own soil, but it has the inalienable right to do so, under the terms of the NPT. Under these terms, no one and nothing – government, agency, council, resolution, draft agreement – can infringe upon Iran’s right to operate power plants and enrich uranium for a civilian nuclear program.