President Obama’s Nuclear Opportunity

By Eileen Fleming

The wind from Iran changed on September 12, 2009, when Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced that he welcomes broad talks with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council [America, Russia, France, Britain, China, and Germany] and he offered the olive branch of ‘comprehensive, all-encompassing and constructive’ talks on a range of security issues, including global nuclear disarmament. [1]

The U.N. Security Council has issued resolutions requiring Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment, which is a possible pathway to nuclear weapons.

On September 7, 2009, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated that Tehran will neither halt uranium enrichment nor negotiate over its nuclear rights; but Mottaki’s comments opened the door, "Should the conditions be ripe, there is a possibility of talks about the nuclear issue with the West, given the new package we have presented." [Ibid]

While the West’s key demand is for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, Tehran is in the right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel.

The NPT/Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, was created in 1968, and maintains that nuclear weapons proliferation can only be curtailed if nuclear countries move toward disarmament while the rest of the world is allowed to access civilian nuclear technology. The five nuclear powers that signed the NPT agreed to get rid of their nuclear weapons.

In the latest report from, the International Atomic Energy Agency it states that "Iran now has, at a minimum, 1,430 kilograms (3,153 pounds) of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride. Iran insists its program is peaceful."[Ibid]

In 2005, Mordechai Vanunu, the Whistle blower of Israel’s WMD Program told me, "President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons. Prime Minister Ben Guirion said, ‘The nuclear reactor is only for peace."

"Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. He wrote letters demanding that Ben Guirion open up the Dimona for inspection.

"When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to ’69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them.

"Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year." [2]

Paul Reynolds, World affairs correspondent for BBC News wrote how Iran will have to stop threatening Israel but also that, "The US position now diverges quite strongly from the Israeli. The Israelis have recently been making increasingly worried statements about Iran’s potential nuclear weapons capacity, suggesting that while diplomacy might come first, military action might come second.

"Israeli President Shimon Peres has also broadcast to Iran, on the Farsi service of Israel radio. His tone was much sharper, appealing to the Iranian people but dismissing the leadership as "religious fanatics." He commented: "You can’t feed your children enriched uranium." [3]

In 2006, Virginia Tilley, Professor of political science wrote:

"In his October 2005 speech, Mr. Ahmadinejad never used the word ‘map’ or the term ‘wiped off.’ According to Farsi-language experts like Juan Cole and even right-wing services like MEMRI, what he actually said was ‘this regime that is occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.’

"In this speech to an annual anti-Zionist conference, Mr. Ahmadinejad was being prophetic, not threatening. He was citing Imam Khomeini, who said this line in the 1980s-a period when Israel was actually selling arms to Iran, so apparently it was not viewed as so ghastly then.

"Mr. Ahmadinejad had just reminded his audience that the Shah’s regime, the Soviet Union, and Saddam Hussein had all seemed enormously powerful and immovable, yet the first two had vanished almost beyond recall and the third now languished in prison.

"So, too, the "occupying regime" in Jerusalem would someday be gone. His message was, in essence: "This too shall pass." [4]

Indeed, "All things must pass, all things must pass away. Sunset doesn’t last all evening. A mind can blow those clouds away. Now the darkness only stays the night-time; in the morning it will fade away. It’s not always going to be this grey; all things must pass, all things must pass away."-George Harrison

The BBC reported from the IAEA governors’ meeting in Vienna, that International  Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei said he had been dismayed by the "politically motivated and totally baseless accusations" reiterated from France that "key information was left out of the latest IAEA report.

"I am dismayed by the allegations of some member states, which have been fed to the media, that information has been withheld from the Board. These allegations are politically motivated and totally baseless. Such attempts to influence the work of the (IAEA’s non-proliferation inspectorate) and undermine its independence and objectivity are in violation of…the IAEA Statute and should therefore cease forthwith."

Mr. ElBaradei also summed up the situation between Iran and the IAEA as a "stalemate" and urged Tehran to "substantially re-engage" with the UN body. [5]

Reuters reported on an interview that was conducted in July but released on September 8, 2009, that Mr. ElBaradei stated, "Many people are talking about how Iran’s nuclear program is the greatest threat to the world. In many ways, I think the threat has been hyped…But the idea that we’ll wake up tomorrow and Iran will have a nuclear weapon is an idea that isn’t supported by the facts as we have seen them so far." [6]

"In that interview, ElBaradei said there was an urgent need to follow up on U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposal for a dialogue between Washington and Tehran, but that resorting to harsher sanctions against Iran if it does not engage would achieve little [and that he] had gleaned from experiences dealing with North Korea and Iraq that dialogue was a more effective tool than sanctions. [Ibid]On April 5, 2009, President Obama stood on the world stage in Prague and admitted, "As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act…When we fail to pursue peace, then it stays forever beyond our grasp. We know the path when we choose fear over hope. To denounce or shrug off a call for cooperation is an easy but also cowardly thing to do. That’s how wars begin. That’s where human progress ends…the voices of peace and progress must be raised together…Human destiny will be what we make of it…Words must mean something." [7]

"The passive acceptance and complacency with regard to the existence of nuclear weapons anywhere on earth is the disease of society today…This struggle is not only a legitimate one – it is a moral, inescapable struggle…no government, not even the most democratic, can force us to live under this threat. No state in the world can offer any kind of security against this menace of a nuclear holocaust, or guarantee to prevent it.

"Already now there are enough nuclear missiles to destroy the world many times over…This issue should unite us all, because that is our real enemy…Any country, which manufactures and stocks nuclear weapons, is first of all endangering its own citizens. This is why the citizens must confront their government and warn it that it has no right to expose them to this danger.

"Because, in effect, the citizens are being held hostage by their own government, just as if they have been hijacked and deprived of their freedom and threatened…Indeed, when governments develop nuclear weapons without the consent of their citizens – and this is true in most cases – they are violating the basic rights of their citizens, the basic right not to live under constant threat of annihilation.

"Is any government qualified and authorized to produce such weapons?"- Mordechai Vanunu, 1987 from Ashkelon prison. [8]

President Obama’s opportunity for dialogue and diplomacy with Iran, must include blowing Israel’s ineffective nuclear ambiguity.

– Eileen Fleming is the Founder of A Feature Correspondent for The Palestine Telegraph and She is also the author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory" She produced "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" because corporate media has been MIA all during Vanunu’s Freedom of Speech Trial in the ‘democracy’ of Israel. She contributed this article to



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