Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Archive for October 3rd, 2007

IAEA-White House Split Over Iran

Posted by K.E. White on October 3, 2007

Proliferation Press blogged earlier on the split between the White House and ElBaradei over Iran. A September 29th Associated Press article by George Jahn probes the same topic.

What is the source of the White House-IAEA divide? Is it a debate over IAEA authority of IAEA, or the Bush White House silencing dissident voices on Iran?

The AP article presents the views of IAEA Director General ElBaradei, the White House, UN inspector David Albright, and CAP fellow Joseph Cirincione:

“It is not only the core of my mandate to clarify Iran’s nuclear history — it is a central Security Council demand,” he told The Associated Press in comments e-mailed Friday defending his work plan and indirectly countering U.S. criticism that key IAEA members should have been consulted on it first.

“I continue, publicly and privately, to urge Iran to suspend,” he added, countering arguments that he is giving short shrift to Security Council demands. “I continue to call for a ‘double time out,’ which is actually the very same concept laid out in Security Council resolution: If you suspend enrichment, we will suspend sanctions.”

But discontent remains, said a senior U.S. official who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to express his views to the media.

“It’s frustrating that he is assisting the Iranians in delaying tactics and helping them do what they want to do,” he said.

David Albright, a former U.N. nuclear inspector, also was critical, saying that “because of the political sensitivity of the issue the board should have been consulted.”

“I think what the U.S. is objecting to is that ElBaradei is trying to use the IAEA to do international diplomacy,” he said. “ElBaradei doesn’t have that mandate.”

Suggesting the cooperation plan is flawed, Albright said that by embracing it, ElBaradei was “fitting the facts on the ground” to try to prevent armed conflict over Iran in a similarly selective way that the Bush administration did to justify the invasion of Iraq.

But Joseph Cirincione, director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, said those critical of ElBaradei “should take a deep, hard look at their own role and record for the war in Iraq.

“We have an American government seemingly itching to go to war, and we find that those who are proposing negotiations and inspections instead of war are themselves coming under attack,” he said.

Posted in Bush administration, David Albright, ElBaradei, George Jahn, IAEA, Iran, Joseph Cirincione, White House | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mearsheimer On The Colbert Report

Posted by K.E. White on October 3, 2007

Prominent international relations scholar John Mearsheimer went on the Colbert Report last night. Anyone who has taken a class explaining the concept of “realism” has probably brushed across his name. His particular contribution in the field of IR theory has beenJohn Mearsheimer offensive realism.

He’s gained attention for writing the Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, a work that explores the influence of the “Israel Lobby” on American foreign relations. From the title, controversy over the book is easy to see. (This controversy has been protracted: while published this September, the book has been in development for years)

Mearsheimer’s recent book does bring up an interesting question for IR theory: why did this luminary of realism–a theory which holds that states are unitary actors with set interests–opt to study how an interest-group affects American foreign policy?

“Is Anybody Still a Realist?” Jeffrey Legro and Andrew Moravscik asked in 1999. (They argue for a new realist lens, so yes—somebody is still a realist)

Colbert, all jokes aside, did (lightly) critique Mearsheimer’s thesis buy bringing up American arm-deals to Arab nations like Saudi Arabia. And Colbert gave Mearsheimer ample time to explain/plug his book.

From the interview:


Mearsheimer: “Jews do not control out foreign policy. The lobby is a powerful influence on American foreign policy especially in the Middle East—nothing more, nothing less.”

Mearsheimer: “Our argument is that the United States should support the survival of Israel. If Israel’s survival is threatened, we should come to its aid. But otherwise we should treat Israel as a normal country. The way we treat Britain, France, India—other democracies.”

Colbert: “If we’re not going to cut off aid to them, should we at least stop sending them Christmas cards? Because they never send them back.”

Posted in Andrew Moravcik, international relations, IR, Is Anybody Still a Realist, Jeffrey Legro, John Mearsheimer, realism, Stephen Colbert, theory | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Security Council Iran Resolution Marked for November

Posted by K.E. White on October 3, 2007

Expect a new Security Council resolution on Iran in November, after reports from the IAEA and the European Union.

From the Voice of America:

Six major powers – Germany, France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and the United States – have agreed to continue discussions on the text of a new United Nations Security Council resolution concerning Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. Since December 2006, the Security Council has unanimously adopted two resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran for failing to suspend all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. Highly enriched uranium can be used to make nuclear weapons.

The P-5 plus one countries agreed to postpone until November adopting new sanctions on Iran, pending reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency, or I.A.E.A, and Javier Solano, the European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the I.A.E.A., will report on whether Iran has complied fully with its recent agreement to resolve all questions concerning its nuclear activities, especially its P-1 and P-2 centrifuge programs.

Posted in Iran, Security Council | Leave a Comment »

North Korea Diplomacy Rolls Forward

Posted by K.E. White on October 3, 2007


North Korea has signed onto the second-phase of six party negotiations, possibly disabling their nuclear facilities by December 2007.

But this success is still partial: with Christopher Hill making it clear that North Korea’s “complete, full denuclearization” a 2008 goal.

From Reuters:

North Korea could disable its nuclear facilities by the end of this year under a tentative accord reached in six-party negotiations over its atomic programmes, diplomatic sources said on Monday.

Talks in Beijing between the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia ended on Sunday to allow delegates to discuss a joint statement, which includes details on the next phase of the denuclearisation plan, with their governments.

Under the draft agreement, North Korea would disable three facilities at its Yongbyon nuclear complex and declare its nuclear programmes — including its uranium enrichment plans — by the end of the year, diplomatic sources in Tokyo told Reuters.

Read the full text of the agreement here.

The Guardian gives great coverage the story, focusing on US Envoy Christopher Hill’s view of the agreement:

Christopher HillOnce there is a six-party agreement, Hill said on Tuesday in New York, the U.S. expects the process of disabling the reactor to get under way “in a matter of weeks.” The U.S. wants the dismantling process so thorough that a nuclear facility could not be made operational for at least 12 months.

“We will then be able to move to what we hope will be a final phase,” Hill said. “That is in the calendar year 2008 which will deal with the actual abandonment of the fissile material.”

Hill said the North – officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK – has about 110 pounds of fissile material harvested from the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, and will have to declare exactly how much. The U.S. also wants to resolve concerns about the North’s uranium enrichment program, he said.

Posted in Christopher Hill, North Korea, Second phase, Six Party Talks | 2 Comments »