From Socialist Worker, 18 March 2006:
“The US and Britain are nuclear hypocrites
“Iran is being accused of breaking the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) by the West. The NPT is designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. It was originally signed by the US, the Soviet Union and Britain in 1968, and since by over 180 states.
“All of the states that signed the NPT have a number of obligations. There are three parts to the treaty.
“Firstly, the countries that already had nuclear weaponry when the treaty was signed, such as Britain and the US, pledged to disarm.
“Secondly, countries that signed up to the treaty and did not already have nuclear weapons pledged not to build them. The stated aim was to end the age of nuclear weaponry.
“The third part of the treaty is that states complying can develop nuclear power, and will be helped by the other states that have the technology and resources.
“Inspection systems, set up by the International Atomic Energy Authority, are designed to make sure no one cheats. As a signatory of the NPT, Iran is entitled to develop nuclear power.
“It has had a nuclear power programme since the 1970s. It has been helped at times by both the US and Britain.
“Iran maintains that it is pursuing a programme of civilian nuclear power, while the US says it is developing nuclear weapons.
“There is no evidence that Iran is doing anything other than pursuing a programme to develop nuclear power. So why is it being condemned?
“Iran has signed up to a part of the NPT which means that it is subjected to more frequent and more intrusive inspections.
“This an indignity that neither the US or Britain put themselves through.
“These rigorous inspections have found nothing to suggest that Iran is attempting to build nuclear weapons.
“The one area where Iran can be called into question is that prior to 2003 it did not acknowledge the full scale of its nuclear development.
“But that was resolved three years ago. The stories coming out now are pure spin.
“There is a very great danger that this spin over Iran’s nuclear power programme will be used in the same way as the claims about Weapons of Mass Destruction was used over Iraq in 2003.
“Governments are playing on people’s concerns about the regime in Iran.
“But the issue is not really about nuclear weapons. It is about who controls Iran’s oil and gas.
“The spin is part of the US plan for regional dominance.
“I don’t think that the US and Britain are going to invade Iran. It seems more likely that they will use air strikes. Iran is a much stronger country than Iraq was three years ago.
“The external rhetoric has united groups in the country who might previously been divided, and Iran has not suffered years of sanctions.
“It is also possible that the US will use tactical nuclear weapons or that Israel – the only nuclear power in the Middle East – will act.
“Israel is supported by the US. Despite many resolutions being passed by the United Nations calling for an end to nuclear weapons in the region no action has been taken to force Israel to get rid of its nuclear weapons.
“Everything about the current situation is hypocritical. Both the US and Britain have built new nuclear weapons since signing the NPT.
“Tony Blair is currently in the process of deciding whether to replace the Trident nuclear misille system.
“North Korea is now in a position where its government feels that nuclear weapons are necessary.
“We need to pursue a path internationally that will bring an end to the dependance on nuclear weapons.
“The current path that the US and Britain are pursuing could have disastrous consequences for us all.”