“Mediating in the Nuclear Weapons Proliferation Crisis in Iran”: Ambiguous Appeal by NGOs and Nobel Laureates

The Appeal to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan signed by Nobel Laureates and NGOs (see below) tacitly places the blame on Iran.

It describes the showdown with Tehran as a “Conflict between Iran and the West”. While the Appeal focuses on Iran’s non-compliance, the role of the United States and Israel, which are preparing to bomb Iran goes unmentioned.

“The Commission would request the Iranian government to suspend enrichment of uranium and other research activities relating to the field of nuclear technology during the period of its deliberations, in the sense of a moratorium. All conflicting parties would be called upon to desist from making any kind of threats aimed at each other.”

The Appeal somehow suggests that the threats are in a sense “symmetrical” between the “conflicting parties”. While Iran is identfied as a “conflicting party”, the names of other “conflicting parties” go unmentioned.  The Appeal demands a Moratorium on the part of Iran, but it fails to call on the US to implement a moratorium in its Middle East war agenda.

It does not envisage any meanignful actions within the Commission’s terms of reference pertaining to the proposed US led aerial bombing of Iran. Nor does it address the fact that Washington has not ruled out the use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iran in retaliation for its “non-compliance”. 

The terms of reference of  the proposed UN sponsored Mediation Commission are one sided. They do not address the dangers of US sponsored nuclear war. 

The Appeal is endorsed by the International Physicians for the Prevention of of Nuclear War (IPPNW) , (on its website). Several other non-governmental organizations have endorsed the appeal.

I have high regard for the IPPNW, which has been at the forefront of the campaign against nuclear weapons.  Having participated in IPPNW activities, I can safely say that the text of this Appeal does not reflect the position of a large sector of the IPPNW membership, which views the Bush Administration as a threat to World Peace. 

Instead of endorsing an ambiguous statement, the signatory organizations including the IPPNW should address in a meaningful way the plans of the Bush administration to use tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. These plans, if carried out could result in a Middle East nuclear holocaust. 

The matter should be debated within the IPPNW, with a view to developing a coherent and informed position. the latter should ultimately be geared towards preventing a  US sponsored nuclear war against Iran.

Michel Chossudovsky, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), 19 February 2006

The Centre for Research on Globalization has developed an archive of articles and documents focusing on Iran and the dangers associated with a US-led military operation. The issue of tactical nuclear weapons in conventional war theaters is also reviewed in a number of key articles. 

Text of  Statement  (IPPNW website)

IPPNW has joined with other NGOs and Nobel Peace Laureates in an appeal to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to create a High Level UN Commission to mediate the nuclear weapons proliferation crisis in Iran.

The text of the appeal and a list of initial signatories, follows.

Appeal to Kofi Annan February 16, 2006

For a moratorium and a high level UN Commission to mediate in the conflict over Iran’s nuclear programme, and to break the cycle of escalation.

The conflict between Iran and the West has become alarmingly more acute since mid January. Threats and counter-threats have been stepped up. Soon, the confrontation could take another course and lead to sanctions or the use of force, seriously affecting world peace. In order to prevent further escalation, there has to be a break in the conflict for the conflict parties to be able to carefully reconsider their aims and patterns of behaviour, in order to develop new proposals and procedures. To achieve this, we suggest that the UN Secretary-General exercise his right to call a UN Commission into being at any time.

We request the UN Secretary-General to set up, as soon as possible, an international UN Mediation Commission made up of personalities of an outstanding and broad reputation. The Commission, chaired by the UN Secretary-General, should develop proposals for a peaceful solution to the conflict and present them to the world public within half a year’s time.

Members of the Commission should be experienced politicians that are no longer in office, as well as personalities of outstanding moral authority.*

The Commission would request the Iranian government to suspend enrichment of uranium and other research activities relating to the field of nuclear technology during the period of its deliberations, in the sense of a moratorium. All conflicting parties would be called upon to desist from making any kind of threats aimed at each other.

The proposal of a moratorium, combined with such a high-ranking Mediation Commission, should be acceptable for all parties since in this time period no further threatening factors would arise.

Our proposal is linked to the hope that this process would not only result in a solution for the Iranian nuclear conflict, but also would open up possibilities for multinational consultations on the whole region of the Greater Middle East that go far beyond the scope of the present nuclear conflict.

Thus the signatories of this appeal request UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to take the initiative in favour of a moratorium and for mediation.

* We have named a few examples here of personalities that in our opinion could be called upon to serve on such a Commission.

Martti Ahtisaari (former President of Finland) Gro Harlem Brundtland (former Prime Minister of Norway) William Jefferson Clinton (former President of the United States of America) Mikhail Gorbachev, (former President of the Soviet Union) Sayyid Mohammad Khatami (former President of the Islamic Republic of Iran) Nelson Mandela (former President of South Africa) Avi Primor (former Ambassador of Israel to Germany) Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland) Michel Rocard (former Prime Minister of France) Gerhard Schröder (former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany) Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani (Shiite Leader in Iraq)

Signatories (more to be added)

Individuals:

Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister of France William W. Monning, JD, Professor of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Senator emeritus Douglas Roche O.C. , former Ambassador for Disarmament, Canada

International Organisations:

Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Duerr, Global Challenge Network, Regina Hagen, International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation (INESAP), Alfred L. Marder, President, International Association of Peace Messenger Cities, Dr. Gunnar Westberg/Dr. Ron McCoy, Co-Presidents of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Susi Snyder, Secretary-General, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

National Organisations

Jean-Marie Matagne, Association Citoyenne pour le Désarmament Nucléaire (ACDN), John Hallam, Friends of the Earth, Australia, Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, UK, David Krieger, President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, USA, Kathleen Sullivan, Coordinator, Nuclear Weapons Education and Action Project, USA.


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About the author:

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America's Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at [email protected]

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