Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

In his editorial today, Hossein Shariatmadari, Kayhan's boss, has argued that Iran is no longer a member to the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). In his very ludicrous argument, Shariatmadari refers to Article x(2) of the 1969 treaty which states:
"Twenty-five years after the entry into force of the Treaty, a conference shall be convened to decide whether the Treaty shall continue in force indefinitely, or shall be extended for an additional fixed period or periods. This decision shall be taken by a majority of the Parties to the Treaty".
In Shariatmadari's view, the decision made according to the above provison by the majority of the member states at the NPT Review and Extension Conference in 1995, according to which the NPT was extended for an indefinite duration without conditions, did not create any obligation for Iran, since, Shariatmadari writes, the decision did not go through the 'constitutional channels' for ratification. In other words, Shariatmadari has come up with a new doctrine in international law: when the duration of a multilateral treaty is extended by the decision of the majority of states (and the decision is to be enforced without condtions), for the decision to become legally binding, each and every member state must ratify it, since, Shariatmadari teaches us, the decision renders the already ratified and enforced treaty into an entirely new one! Obviously, his buddy, Mr. Firouz Aslani (a law don at Tehran university law school) has not taught him yet that there is a huge difference between extension of a treaty and its modification. Ultimately, he concludes that Iran has not been a member to the NPT since 1995 and as such its 'cooperation with the IAEA' must have stopped long time ago. He goes on to question the Iranian governments (under Rafsanjani and Khatami) as to why they had submitted to 'the illegitimate demands of the IAEA and the European threats'.

This is not the appropriate place to examine in detail the flaws of Shariatmadari's absurd argument, which simply reflects his lack of knowledge and competence in law and international law (something that I am sure does not surprise anyone). What is worth paying attention, however, is his persistence on urging Iran to pull out of the NPT and resume all uranium enrichment-related activities regardless of the demands of the IAEA (representing the demands of the international community). What objective are Shariatmadari and his fellows in Majlis and Sepah pursuing? What do they mean when they say the new government must give the Europeans a 'categorical and solid response' and teach them (and the US) 'a good lesson'? Jannati (the Guardian Council secretary general) said in Friday prayers last week that 'we' (i.e. him and his fellows in the Brethren) want to enforce our right (to develop the nuclear program) and we will pay the price for that". Would Jannati pay the price of a war? Or the Iranian people? But what benefits would Jannati and Shariatmadari and their likes' make out of another war? To find the answer to this question one only needs to look at how the deliberately prolonged Iran-Iraq war consolidated the pillars of the regime.

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