Hans Blix, Robert Kelley, Colin Kahl Oppose Attack on Iran
February 23, 2012 • 9:54AM

About 200 people attended a meeting of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) on Feb. 21 to hear Hans Blix, Trita Parsi, former UN WMD inspector in Iraq Robert Kelley, and former DoD official for Obama, Colin Kahl. Trita Parsi asked a question about the Nov. 2011 IAEA report and the fact that allegations were contained in it that came from national intelligence services that were not verified by the IAEA.

Kelley elaborated on an article/analysis that he wrote about the IAEA report. On Feb. 21 he said that he could not comment on what the national intelligence services provided, because that information is secret, but the thing that he could comment on was information that former IAEA chief ElBaradei refused to use it, because it was unsubstantiated and maybe forged. Kelley said the recent information used against Iran looked like the 1995 forgeries in Iraq that were used to screw up the inspections regime. He said that the information against Iran was slanted, spun.

Blix said that when the IAEA could get back to inspections in Iraq in 1991, they saw that the Iraqis had cheated them in their disclosures. He pointed out that after the Israelis destroyed the Osirak reactor in 1981, Iraq did not allow inspectors in until they had admitted to having lost the Gulf War I. So, the Israeli strike on Iraq actually permitted them to escalate a secret nuclear weapons program.

Inspectors have information based on inspections, and then intelligence services give information to the IAEA but not evidence. This is dangerous, and he pointed out that when he was heading the Iraq WMD (not nuclear) inspections, he had come very close to telling the UNSC that there was a large supply of anthrax in Iraq, based on intelligence reports he had received. But then he decided against it, because he had never seen the evidence behind the reports. Mohammed ElBaradei was very cautious and refused to use information provided by intelligence services. If we have not seen the real evidence, Blix said, the IAEA should be cautious.

Blix, Kahl, and Kelley all said that the AIPAC/Senate resolution for preventing a nuclear-capable Iran was really a problem. Kahl called it a position OBE, i.e., overtaken by events, which is tantamount to saying that Iran is already nuclear capable, therefore Israel could strike at any time, and the US knows full well that that is their position.

Blix was very clear that there is no such thing as nuclear capable when it comes to having a weapon, because the knowledge to enrich is essentially the ability to become a nuclear weapons power should the decision be made to do so. He said that Japan has lots of plutonium stockpiled, and never built a weapon. North Korea has conducted nuclear explosive tests, but they have not been classified as a nuclear power by the international community. So the term is not useful, and the only condition that Israel will accept is NO ENRICHMENT at all, and that is something that Iran will not agree to.

Trita Parsi said that the best way to have Iran build a bomb is to bomb Iran. Kahl said that the worst thing for an Iran bomb is to have an ineffective Israeli, strike because that would only have Iran reconstitute its nuclear sites into places that were not vulnerable to attack (e.g., deep in mountains, etc.), and Iran would also then throw out IAEA inspectors; so, the world would be nowhere in even knowing what Iran were doing.

Parsi asked if sanctions could put Iran over the edge in deciding now to build a bomb, which would certainly be the case if there were a bombing.

Blix said that it is clear that if a bombing were to be carried out, it would UNITE Iran behind building nuclear weapons, and would consolidate the leadership that is not inclined to negotiations. But even more, an Israeli attack (or any other one) would not be compatible with the UN charter provision requiring a resolution, nor the other condition of the UN Charter that a country can attack in self-defense against an armed attack; Iran has not attacked Israel or any other country. The Iran statements against Israel cannot be considered a threat of imminent attack, and if anything, the Israeli statements against Iran might be considered closer to a threat of imminent attack.

Blix also mildly attacked Obama. He said, remember, even at his Nobel speech, he said that he would prefer to act on the basis of international rules, but could NOT guarantee that he would restrict himself to international rules for his decisions.

Kahl said the biggest near-term threat of war is an Israeli attack.