Iran; Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: NPT; North Korea

15 Sept 2005 by Bill Rowe


All sovereign nations have the right and responsibility to its citizens to pursue and develop whatever defense systems are necessary to protect it from potential aggressors. This is inherent and not a privilege granted by the United Nations (UN) , the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), or any other organization.


However, due to the extreme danger associated with nuclear weapons, it has generally been agreed that all peoples of all nations would be safer if all such weapons were mutually agreed to be forsaken. The spirit of the NPT is based on that premise. Under NPT all signatories agree not to develop nuclear weapons AND the five nuclear weapons states agree to pursue a program of weapons de-nuclearization. In addition the nations with nuclear technology agree to help those NPT signatories without to develop civilian non-weapons nuclear capabilities. That is the grand bargain. Complementarily, those non-NPT signatories receive no nuclear development help, and also might be subject to various economic sanctions by NPT states, in an effort to convince them to join the common good by becoming NPT states.


Unfortunately there have been several "devils" at work to undermine the NPT basis. First, the western world led by the United States has effectively denied help to NPT signatory states not in-step with the US political agenda. Thus it uses NPT as a political "weapon" to deny or mete out nuclear technology as it deems in keeping with US political interests. Second, none of the original five nuclear weapons states has seriously engaged in de-nucleariation. In fact they steadfastly even refuse to engage in discussions about their NPT responsibilities with other NPT states. They are therefore in serious and perpetual violation of the basis of the NPT and their treaty obligations. Last, the US under the Bush administration has even gone further in publicly stating its right/even intent to use nuclear weapons pre-emptively against any nation or terrorist organization (nation or not) it judges a threat to the US. For these reasons nations like India, Pakistan, and Israel have not signed the NPT and developed the nuclear technology basically on their own. And in addition taken the additional step of transferring that technology to nuclear weapons. North Korea can be added to the list of nations abandoning the NPT to pursue nuclear weapons primarily as a defense against NPT nuclear weapons states and their allies.



So I applaud Iran's breakout of the NPT political stranglehold on the development of nuclear technology. It is an example of the long overdue ending of the west denying modernization to poorer countries in it's own interests.


Beyond Iran's development of civilian nuclear technology, they will by such development also acquire most of the technology and materials to develop nuclear weapons rather quickly. That is what the US is primarily concerned about, not because of any great military threat posed by Iran, but because such a robust capability to protect its political interests severely limits US capability to summarily impose its agenda on Iran, and presumably other nations in that region. For example nearly all nations with robust civilian nuclear programs have the necessary skills and materials to develop bombs---Japan is the most poignant example. But, the US does not worry about Japan "pre-natal" nuclear  capability because Japan is a US political ally. Most civilian nuclear capable countries have opted not to develop nuclear weapons, because it is not in their economic or security interests. However, those threatened by otherwise superior military powers, like Iran can be expected to crossover and develop some limited nuclear defense capability. With the US openly threatening use of nuclear weapons at its own discretion, such crossover is not only to be expected ,but a responsible action of those countries as it reduces the chance of ( Iraq) irresponsible, illegal, and unnecessary pre-emptive war initiated by the US executive.


The world will be safer when Iran (and possibly other responsible Arab countries) has a limited nuclear defense capability. Today, even the limited capabilities of North Korea have probably prevented the US from turning the Korean Peninsula into another horrendous misadventure of the US neo-conservative script.


In the longer term, hopefully the US and other nuclear weapons states will see the folly of using the NPT and nuclear capability as a political weapon, support   robust International organizations such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations with truly independent enforcement capability even against formidable individual states such as the US, revitalize the NPT, live up to its obligations, and eliminate nuclear weapons on the basis of fundamental precepts accepted by all world citizens and governments, instead of by political agendas masquerading as pseudo-legal treaty obligations.

Bill Rowe

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