AlterPolitics New Post

New IAEA Report To Be Harsh On Iran, But WikiLeaks Doc Exposes IAEA Dir. General Subservience To U.S. On Iran Nuclear Program

by on Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm EDT in Iran, WikiLeaks, World

On March 5, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will release a follow-up report on Iran’s nuclear program, and it is expected to be even harsher than its November 2011 report — which ultimately led to the current international sanctions and oil embargo against Iran.

The upcoming follow-up report from the IAEA will apparently include new details about the effort by Tehran to develop a nuclear warhead for a ground-to-ground missile. Last week an IAEA delegation visited Tehran for another round of talks with Iranian authorities. Western diplomats told news agency reporters in Vienna, where the organization is based, that the Iranian visit was a total failure.

The diplomats told the Reuters news agency that the delegation again asked the Iranians to give inspectors access to visit the military facility at Parchin, southeast of Tehran, but the Iranians refrained from responding to the request. Parchin is thought to be a main site of the weapons program. According to the same sources, after two days in which there appeared to be some progress in the talks, the Iranians began deliberately stalling – under the guise of changing the rules for the discussions – and he visit accomplished nothing.


IAEA chairman Yukiya Amano said in an official statement that the agency is “committed to intensifying dialogue” with Iran over its nuclear program.

But in December 2010, the Guardian published a WikiLeaks document which exposed the IAEA Director General-designate Yukiya Amano thanking the United States for their efforts in pushing for his candidacy. It revealed how Amano “took pains” to assure the U.S. Ambassador that “he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision,” including the “handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program”:

In a meeting with Ambassador on the eve of the two-week Board of Governors (BoG) and General Conference (GC) marathon of mid-September, IAEA Director General-designate Yukiya Amano thanked the U.S. for having supported his candidacy and took pains to emphasize his support for U.S. strategic objectives for the Agency. Amano reminded Ambassador on several occasions that he would need to make concessions to the G-77, which correctly required him to be fair-minded and independent, but that he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. 

In other words, under the direction of IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, that agency’s entire credibility, especially with regards to Iran’s nuclear program, should be called into question.

Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern also reminds us that despite the ramped-up accusations, and ever-growing calls for bombing Iran — so reminiscent of the same case made by the very same people who mislead us into Iraq — the actual facts paint a startlingly different picture.

He brings up the January 31, 2012 “Worldwide Threat Assessment” that the top U.S. intelligence officials presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee:

Watching top U.S. intelligence officials present the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” before the Senate Intelligence Committee, I found myself wondering if they would depart from the key (if politically delicate) consensus judgment that Iran is NOT working on a nuclear weapon.

In last year’s briefing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had stood firm on this key point, despite severe pressure to paint Iran in more pernicious terms. On Tuesday [January 31, 2012], I was relieved to see in Clapper’s testimony a reiteration of the conclusions of a formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of November 2007, issued unanimously by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including judgments like this:

“We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; … Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005.”

In stark contrast to what Israeli officials claim about Iran’s nuclear intentions, Clapper stated in his unclassified testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee nine days ago, “We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has scheduled his speech at the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC’s annual policy conference in Washington, DC on March 5, to coincide with the IAEA report’s release. The event will be attended by “more than half of the U.S. Senate, a third of the House of Representatives and countless Israeli and American policymakers and thought leaders.”

How The U.S. Has Undermined Its Own Vital Interests To Appease Israel At The UN

by on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm EDT in Middle East, World

Yesterday, the Palestinians’ bid for full membership at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was approved by a vote of 107-14, with 52 abstentions.

This move will help to prevent the Palestinians’ cultural-heritage sites and artifacts from being plundered, as Israel continues its efforts to Judaize the occupied territory. 

But what might come as a surprise to many in the United States, is that the U.S. Congress created virtual ‘UN poison pills’ in past legislation that automatically damages the U.S.’s own strategic interests the moment Palestinians gain membership at any UN agency:

Legislation dating from 1990 and 1994 mandates a complete cutoff of American financing to any United Nations agency that accepts the Palestinians as a full member. State Department lawyers judged that there was no leeway in the legislation, and no possibility of a waiver, so the United States contribution for 2011 and future years will not be paid.

This means the U.S. (as confirmed by the State Department) will withhold its $80 million annual commitment to UNESCO’s funding (with a $60 million portion of this total being stopped immediately). The U.S. is responsible for 22% of the organization’s total funding.

The Palestinians are reported to be seeking membership in other UN organizations as well, which too would face U.S. funding cuts. These include: UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Health Organization (WHO), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and others.

How will this damage U.S. strategic interests? 

President of the UN Foundation and former U.S. Senator (D-CO) Timothy Wirth writes that the U.S. will lose its leverage over these international bodies, and with it, the ability to advance America’s interests and ideals around the world. He believes some of America’s global rivals might even volunteer to cover America’s reneged financial commitments, filling its leadership void in the process.

Sen. Wirth explains the significance of UNESCO’s work:

To Americans, UNESCO is best known for designating World Heritage Sites. It also leads global efforts to bring clean water to the poor, promotes educational and curriculum building in the developing world, and manages a tsunami early warning system in the Pacific, among other important tasks. This critical work would be jeopardized if UNESCO’s top funder stops paying its bills.

UNESCO’s director general, Irena Bokova, reveals that the U.S. funding cut will directly impact America’s security interests in Afghanistan and Iraq, where UNESCO is “helping governments and communities prepare for life after the withdrawal of U.S. military forces.”

Sen. Wirth details how U.S. economic interests abroad will be negatively impacted when it cuts its funding for WIPO:

This is a lesser known UN agency that serves American businesses and brands by setting global standards for copyrights and adjudicating cross border patent disputes. In the last year alone, dozens of major American companies brought cases before WIPO — the American Automobile Association, Apple, The North Face, Costco and Facebook to name just a few. If Palestine joins WIPO, the United States will have to pull out, limiting its ability to steer policies in ways that advance American economic interests and create jobs here at home.

He explains how IAEA is critical to U.S. national security interests:

In recent years the IAEA has been a critical part of American attempts to constrain the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea. In 2006, the Bush administration successfully lobbied other members of the IAEA executive board to refer Iran’s nuclear program to the Security Council for sanctions. Should the United States stop paying membership dues to the IAEA–which it could be forced to do under current legislation if Palestine is admitted as a member — the United States would give up our vote on the executive board. It would literally lose a seat at the table during the next nuclear crisis.

And he stresses the importance of WHO:

The WHO works closely with the United States–particularly the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — to keep infectious diseases like the Avian Flu from reaching our shores. If the Palestinians are admitted to the WHO, that cooperation would have to stop under the current law.

Here is the irony: These legislative ‘poison pills,’ so harmful to U.S. interests, were passed entirely for the benefit of Israel, and yet Israel has no similar legislation of its own to trigger a cut in funding for UNESCO (Israel contributes 3% of the organization’s funding). In fact, while U.S. international interests have been marred by this automatic funding cut, Israel is rationally mulling over what it might do. Because, of course, only a fool would rush to action, and risk harming his own vital interests in the process.

When the U.S. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland was asked why the Administration felt it was even necessary to vote against this Palestinian membership bid at UNESCO, she stated that it undermines the ‘peace process.’

The peace process?

The U.S.-lead Israeli-Palestinian peace process was effectively buried in December 2010 after Benjamin Netanyahu refused Obama’s unprecedented offer of an additional $3B in military aid, plus a guarantee that the U.S. would veto any UN Security Council Resolutions against Israel for 1 year, regardless of what Israel might do; all this for a mere 3-month extension of a partial moratorium on Israel’s illegal settlement expansions. 

This rejection made it clear to the entire world that Israel has no intentions of ever ceding any part of the occupied territories to the Palestinians to foment peace. No one, outside the Obama Administration, pretends the U.S.-led Middle East peace process is still a legitimate undertaking. Yet, this is the only excuse the Administration can come up with to explain why it continues to sabotage America’s own vital interests in the name of Israel.

Just as banking lobbyists have seized control of our political establishment, making it impossible for politicians to regulate them, or to hold them to account for bringing the entire U.S. economy to its knees, the Israel Lobby has effectively hijacked our political establishment with regards to U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Will it take an #OccupyAIPAC movement to ensure that U.S. politicians put the national security interests of American citizens — all 100% of us — above the interests of a foreign country?