Is the Iran Agreement a Precedent for Nuclear Export Controls Generally?Posted: December 6, 2013
That’s what this piece by Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski asks over at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. They argue:
The plan states that after the agreement is finalized “the Iranian nuclear program will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty).” Turn the language around, and it says that the rules that apply to Iran’s nuclear program will be the ones that apply to all other NPT parties.
We, the authors, cannot emphasize too strongly that in view of the joint plan’s promise of equivalency between the rules for Iran’s nuclear program and “that of any non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT,” the negotiation is not just about Iran. It is about the rules for nuclear power programs throughout the world.
I think this entire thesis by the authors is just frankly erroneous, and seems rather transparently bent on scaremongering in order to undermine further agreement between the P5+1 and Iran. There’s no interpretive reason, in my view, to turn the text they refer to on its head as they have done, in order to give it more expansive meaning. I think it’s clear that this provision simply means that in the commonly envisioned end state, and pursuant to a future comprehensive agreement, Iran’s nuclear program will be treated for purposes of nuclear exports, and generally by the P5+1, just as the nuclear programs of other NNWS have been treated.
I do not think, as the authors seem to, that this is some grand new declaration by the P5+1 about general standards for nuclear exports. The fight over general nuclear export standards by supplier states wouldn’t happen in this forum. It would happen, as it always has, in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which back in 2011 did decide on new guidelines relevant to export of enrichment and reprocessing technologies. I wrote about this here at the time.
So in my opinion, this piece by Gilinsky and Sokolski should be filed away in your “Disregard” folder.