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Read the Treaty!

The United States’ attack on Iran has begun.  The administration of George W. Bush, merely the latest demagogue in charge of domestically marketing the unchanging policies of our outdated, reactionary ruling class, has commenced its media campaign accusing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the newly seated president of Iran, of being merely the latest demagogue in charge of domestically marketing the unchanging policies of Iran’s outdated, reactionary ruling class.  One of those Iranian policies, claim Bush and the corporate media, is Iran’s violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Everybody who is worried about these dire developments should read the text of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  It is available on the internet at <http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Treaties/npt.html>.

Now, I don’t know whether Iran, like our allies Israel and Pakistan, has or is violating the treaty’s ban on diverting nuclear fuels into weapons programs.  That question, of course, is perfectly answerable by the very inspections designated in the treaty.

What I do know from reading the treaty is two facts I believe we need to do as much as possible to publicize.  These are:

Fact #1: Iran Has the Right to a Non-Military Nuclear Program

Clause 1 of Article IV of the NPT reads:

“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.”

I’ve been closely reading newspapers and carefully watching CNN on this issue for a week, and not once have I seen this simple treaty clause reprinted, paraphrased, or even admitted as a true fact.  I don’t think the reason is mysterious:  The American people are now being brainwashed to believe that this treaty language does not exist.

Fact #2: The United States Is in Flagrant Violation of the NPT

Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty reads as follows:

“Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

This is NPT language.  The United States is an NPT signatory.  The United States has long thumbed its nose at this Article, and continues to do so, while simultaneously seeking to use the NPT as a club against another nation-state, against which it is now talking about using “tactical” nuclear weapons, if and when it once again decides to launch an illegal “preemptive” war.

Tell everybody you know about these two facts, and beg them to read the treaty themselves.  The clock is ticking.


Michael Dawson works for pay as a paralegal and sociology teacher in Portland, Oregon.  He is presently writing a book, Automobiles Ueber Alles: Corporate Capitalism and Transportation in America, forthcoming from Monthly Review Press. He was a member of the Nuclear Freeze Movement of the early 1980s.


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