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Iran Again Threatens NPT Withdrawal

Iran has, once more, threatened to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in a letter sent from the Iranian Mejlis to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The Iranian parliament wrote that withdrawal will occur if Annan and the Security Council “fail in their crucial responsibility to resolve differences peacefully.” Via ABC News, AP’s Ali Akbar Dareini correctly notes in his article the difference between Western usage of the word ‘peacefully’ and the Iranian Mejlis in this instance. For the Iranians, peaceful does not simply infer the absence of military strikes, as sanctions are considered by them an act of war.

Remember that the Iranian Mejlis suspended IAEA inspections earlier in the year after being referred to the UN Security Council. Also, in February, Ahmadinejad telegraphed Iranian withdrawal from the NPT. He said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has continued its nuclear drive within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the NPT, but if we see that you want to deprive us of our right using these regulations, know that the people will revise their policy in this regard.”

Iran was in fact dragged kicking and screaming to the IAEA framework only after its clandestine nuclear program was revealed in detail three years ago. Further, any suggestion that Iran “continued its nuclear drive within the framework of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty” is laughable considering Iran’s own admission that its primary source of technological advancement was from the network of the notorious nuclear proliferator, AQ Khan, including its current operating centrifuge designs. Khan is known as the ‘Father of the Islamic Bomb.’

At a GCC Summit Saturday, Sunni Arab states openly raised concerns about Iran’s nuclear intentions, fearing a nuclear armed revolutionary Shi’ite power in the region. In response, Iran made efforts to calm Gulf Cooperation Council states about its nuclear activities, assuring the council that the Bushehr nuclear plant nearing completion on the Persian Gulf coast is safe. But the questions from the Arab leaders and the Iranian reply are veiled references clearly understood by both sides. Neither Saudi Arabia nor Qatar nor the UAE fear a nuclear power plant upwind. They do, however, fear nuclear warheads downrange. Both sides understand this with absolute clarity.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan also expressed concerns over a Shi’ite-dominated government in Iraq and its potential relationship with and manipulation by Iran, saying, “If there is Iranian intervention in Iraq, let it be only to bring Iraqi points of view closer together.” Of course, Iran’s involvement in Iraq has been to bring the Shi’ite and Sunni sects to open warfare internally and to bring insurgents and terrorists closer to sophisticated and deadly Iranian-made IEDs.