Iran is Not Biggest Nuclear Cheater–Guess Who Is?

Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson / Wikimedia adapted by WhoWhatWhy
Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you think Iran presents the greatest danger of nuclear war today, think again.

It is none other than the United States that has consistently violated the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—and it’s these violations that are one of the main drivers of the spread of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war across the world.

While some worry about inspecting Iran’s nuclear facilities, Americans should be pushing first for inspecting something nearer to home: the embarrassing and dangerous record of nuclear treaty violations committed by the US and its fellow nuclear states.

And there’s something else that bears closer inspection: how the mainstream media’s misreporting about  nuclear armaments played a key role in justifying the Iraq war and other recent conflicts.

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Mainstream reporting on the Iran nuclear deal shows just how successful the United States has been in getting its nuclear narrative across. Iran is depicted as a rogue state that the civilized P5+1 nations—the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, plus Germany—must curb.

In a recent article, The New York Times cited a US nuclear expert skeptical of the deal because, as he put it, the untrustworthy Iranians “are practiced at cheating.” One can find many similar statements repeated by mainstream news outlets like the Times.

But the Iranians are not the nuclear cheaters the world should be afraid of primarily–rather, it is Iran’s negotiating partners, especially the US.

The Have-Bombs Versus the Have-Not-Bombs

The major legal document establishing international cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy is the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It recognizes five nuclear nations: the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia. Briefly put, it establishes a strict quid pro quo: in exchange for promises by non-nuclear states not to pursue nuclear armament, the nuclear powers will undertake nuclear disarmament.

But even as the the West faults Iran for allegedly attempting to develop a nuclear bomb in secret, none of the nuclear powers are holding up their end of the deal.

Nuclear warheads are becoming ever more potent. Although the number of warheads since the height of the Cold War has gone down, those warheads have become far more deadly, as the nuclear states continue to research and implement upgrades on weapons and delivery systems.

Washington will spend an average of $35 billion a year for the next decade to modernize and maintain the nation’s nuclear force, according to the United States Congressional Budget Office estimates. Some in government, including Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tx), call for large increases in response to perceived threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And, of course, if the US upgrades its arsenal, so will Russia. And vice versa.

These states, under international obligation to disarm, on one hand make statements about their desire to move towards a nuclear-free world, and on the other continue to perfect their stockpiles.

Spreading the Danger Far and Wide

The US has placed nuclear weapons in many other nations as part of NATO’s “nuclear sharing” program. These nations not only store US nuclear weapons, they practice handling and delivering them. Under this system the United States has nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

Many see this as a violation of NPT, which bars nuclear states from delegating “the control of their nuclear weapons directly or indirectly to others.”

The US also has a history of selling nuclear secrets to friends. In the 1980’s the Department of Energy provided Saddam Hussein’s Iraq with information important to the construction of nuclear weapons and materials. In 1989, the DOE went so far as to invite three nuclear engineers from Iraq’s Al-Qa’qaa’ weapons facility to a conference on detonation physics.

According to Article I of the NPT, nuclear states may not “assist, encourage, or induce”–in any way—a non-nuclear state to manufacture or acquire a nuclear weapon.

The Have-Not-Bombs Versus the Have-Bombs

Not surprisingly, the non-nuclear states see the current situation as inherently unfair. Barred from creating nuclear weapons by the NPT, they can’t help but notice that the nuclear powers are actively enhancing their own nuclear arsenals.

The Non-Aligned Movement, a group of 120 states, has repeatedly called on nuclear states to live up to their commitment to disarm, stressing that disarmament remains the organization’s “highest priority.” As the Non-Aligned Movement’s representative said in an address to a 2015 review conference of the NPT:

The Group reiterates its deep concern over the slow pace of progress towards nuclear disarmament, and the lack of progress by the nuclear weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear weapons in accordance with their legal obligations and undertakings.

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These are just a few ways the US has acted to spread nuclear weapons and secrets throughout the world; it is by no means an exhaustive list.

With this historical perspective, the Iran deal may be seen in a very different  light.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Map of nuclear weapons states (Bourgeois/ Wikimedia)

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0 responses to “Iran is Not Biggest Nuclear Cheater–Guess Who Is?”

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  2. michellevictoria says:

    Not to mention the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons and is not a signer to the NPT!

  3. Robert Kennedy says:

    I wonder whether 47 Republican faux Senators will email Obama telling him what the laws of this nation are. Like the Irani foreign minister he also knows them better than Cotton and his comrades in ignorance.

  4. Walt “Joe” Hartmann says:

    I completely agree. Israel having nuclear weapons has been called, ‘ the biggest open secret. ‘ Now that fanatic they elected goes ballistic when any nuclear power plant is proposed by Iran. Should this deal go through, at the very least, several countries will be able to monitor anything the Iranians construct. They have the right to build what they wish. It’s primarily Israel that objects. I’m a bit tired of these folks trying to dictate policy to the U.S.

    • Robert Kennedy says:

      And under the non-proliferation treaty Iran is allowed to have nukes and Israel is NOT allowed to have them. So NetandYahoo should be complaining about himself.

  5. desertspeaks says:

    I really enjoyed how the entire article completely ignored the fact that ISRAEL REFUSES to sign onto the nuclear non proliferation treaty, OR how ISRAEL REFUSES IAEA inspection, OR that ISRAEL HAS BETWEEN 300 -700 NON DECLARED ILLEGAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

    • editorsteve says:

      Strictly speaking they are not illegal, as Israel has not signed the NPT. Evil, yes. But not necessarily illegal. Israel DID convert a French-supplied reactor to produce bomb materials, in violation of the original sales agreement — and fooled inspectors with a fake control room 40 years ago. Whether or not a country signs a treaty is up to the country, obviously. It is up to the international community to make the conditions possible for countries to be willing to sign/participate and so forth. But as long as Bibi and the growing right wing in Israel is in charge, I don’t expect much progress.

    • desertspeaks says:

      So if Israel isn’t doing anything illegal THEN all Iran has to do is disavow it’s npt signing and all is well ACCORDING TO YOUR INTERPRETATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, right??

  6. My gun’s bigger than your gun, my gun’s bigger than yours, my gun’s bigger than your gun, my gun’s bigger than yours! What a world we’ve created. Just like a bunch of snotty kids playing ‘war’ but unfortunately, this game is DEADLY. And guess who the big boy on the block is. I’ll give you a hint. They already used their ‘gun’ and it killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and made a tropical island where natives lived, unsafe to ever return home. SICK!! Disarm now, just like all you NUKE jerks agreed too!

  7. JM says:

    But the US is not a theocracy that has openly stated that a nuclear war will set the stage for the return of the mahdi. IRan has. Saddam never really embraced the jihad thing and just wanted to be a secular leader on par with nebuchadneezer. The Iranian mullahs main goal is shia domination and world rule of the 12th imam. Even north Korea doesn’t have an agenda like that. The Iranians are Persian and not Arab so they approach things from a slow methodical mindset. War is not the answer but the sanctions were biting them. The sanctions should remain until they cry uncle.

    • King Shapour says:

      Do nt talk crap mate

    • Isaac says:

      But the US has already dropped two nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The problem is not Iran but the Zionist Israel who are working hard on their hegemony, domination supremacy in the Middle East. With the blood and money of the American people Israel has gotten away with taken out most of her adversaries Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Uganda, Eritrea and the list keeps going. Egypt and Jordan have been bought so they do not say any thing when they see Israel committing crimes against humanity in Lebanon and Palestine and slaughtering 2,300 innocent civilians like in the last summer in Gaza.

    • WOrkingTaxpayer says:

      DING Bat Read WWII …history
      How many more would have died if US had not dropped it on Hiroshima?
      Can you answer that?
      Did your family heritage DIE for this nation or Japan?

    • lucy says:

      We know for a FACT that YOU don’t know “How many more would have died if US had not dropped it on Hiroshima”
      That hoary old argument is nothing more than a self-serving copout.
      Sort of like the one Moses used to justify the slaughter of the Canaanites ~ men, women and children ~ along with all their animals ~ “without mercy” as Deuteronomy puts it.

      Further, if US politics hadn’t forced the Japanese to war none of it would’ve happened at all.
      But it was standard US policy. From forcing Hitler to declare war on the US, to the coercion/provocation of dividing Korea, to the ‘The Gulf of Tonkin Incident’ (as well as vetoing a democratic election in the whole of Vietnam), to the WMD lie, etc. etc. etc.
      The US has invaded, bombed, and created more murder, misery and mayhem than any other nation on earth. Or maybe ALL other nations.

      ps… and apart from the nukes, fire-bombing of Dresden, etc., let’s not forget the chemical weapons they deployed ~ AND distributed. eg. Saddam Hussein’s gas cannisters came directly from the US. Remember the famous photo of McNamara and other US diplomats warmly sealing the deal with a handshake…one week away from the gassing of the swamp-dwellers? I do.
      http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/

    • saturnx311 says:

      all nations….the numbers are not even close

    • fredd says:

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42537.htm
      Lies My History Teacher Told Me

      Why Americans Believe That Bombing Hiroshima Was Necessary

    • Steve O'Rourke says:

      I can answer that: no one knows. Different numbers were given at different times, from several thousands to half a million or more – not unlike Joe McCarthy’s list of alleged “communists” in the State Department.

    • lucy says:

      Indeed… “But the US is not a theocracy”
      Perhaps that’s why they’re such a self-righteous murderous gang.

    • Robert Kennedy says:

      Religion makes people self righteous murderous people. That’s why the Republicans who think they are religious are such warmongers.

    • old golfer says:

      Actually the Dim’s have been responsible for more wars than the Repub’s.

    • Robert Kennedy says:

      The Repub’s are the dims. What wars did the Democrats start?

    • old golfer says:

      WWii, Korean war, Viet Nam, Bosnia and a few flares around the globe.

    • saturnx311 says:

      Not to mention that they both vote to continue their reign of terror around the world. Neither has called for the dismantling of JSOC, have they?

    • Robert Kennedy says:

      It’s been over 300 years since Iran has started a war and aren’t looking to start one now. Except in the fevered minds of ignorant people.

    • Jonn Mero says:

      “But the US is not a theocracy”
      Oh no? And the evangelist loonies that are setting the agenda are exactly what??

    • saturnx311 says:

      Can you cite the quote by the President of Iran please? He presumably said this, “a nuclear war will set the stage for the return of the mahdi.”, correct?

    • JM says:

      He has spoken numerous times about the return of the mahdi. Shia believe that his return will be sped up by a large holocaust like war. I have been personally effected/ targeted by shia militias in Iraq with overt links to Iran and the revolutionary guard. I have seen hizbollah flags all over east Baghdad. What is your experience with peaceful Iran?

  8. Josh says:

    Well put….should have mentioned the FACT that Israel also has Nuclear Weapons (estimated at 250-400 missiles)…Again, another State or Country for which is crying Wolf when in FACT they are in Violation of the NPT & IAEA

    • WOrkingTaxpayer says:

      Israel is surrounded…so with Pakistan, India, Russia, China etc having NUKES…now Iran…who is in danger especially when IRAN daily news is DEATH to AMERICA…
      Tune in…to reality! A Califate is what their goal is thinking they will die for Allah! READ the KORAN..too!

    • Monte George Jr says:

      Israel is surrounded because they chose to invade and occupy a land which lies in the heart of the arab/muslim/persian part of the world. Their choice ( they had many others available), so they are NOT victims. they ARE invaders, ethnic cleansers, apartheid racial supremists, liars, thieves and mass murderers. DEATH TO IRAN… would certainly be the cry of Americans if Iran had overthrown our democratically elected government, installed a brutal dictatorship, supported our enemy in a war which cost a million American lives and shot down an American airliner in broad daylight in American airspace… NO? The typical american is an ignorant hypocrite who can, like a vampire, look in a mirror and see everyone but himself. Read the Koran, you say? try reading Dueteronomy, levitcus , numbers and the Talmud if you really want to frighten yourself. Muslims dying for Allah you say? No. They simply choose to die on their feet rather than live on their knees. You will soon find out (the hard way) that the Russians have a similar philosophy. Will you die as bravely and honorably as they?

    • saturnx311 says:

      Very well said

    • saturnx311 says:

      You have not read it properly, if at all.

    • lucy says:

      lol. If you have a swag of nukes (and especially if you’ve shown willing to use them) you can violate anything you like.

  9. Isntlam says:

    How dare they depict Iran as a rogue state ! Just because they want to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth, and just because they chant “Death to America” ? And just because they’re a major sponsor of terrorism ? I’m outraged !

    • lucy says:

      I’m sure the state of your brain very closely resembles the state of your face.

    • JM says:

      I’m sure you haven’t had to pick up the pieces and body parts of fellow Soldiers from Iranian factory manufactured EFP IEDs.

    • lucy says:

      The bastards had NO legitimate right to be where the EPF IEDs were going off. The murderous scum go halfway around the world to murder complete strangers minding their own business in their own country. They’ve got NO reason to bitch if people shoot back..
      It’s an American addiction, and the more of the junkies that get blown away the better off everybody else is.
      ,,,,and usually on the basis of DIY-manufactured ‘threats’. eg The Gulf of Tonkin ‘Incident ‘ (aka ‘CIA conspiracy’) and George W. Shrub’s ‘WMD’ bogey-man.

    • JM says:

      I am one of your bastards. I am not a policy maker just a person with emotional baggage due to Iranian attacks on me and my friends. I did a heck of a lot more in the way of aiding and protecting Iraqi civilians than actual fighting. Thanks for the empathy.
      In fact most of the fighting i was involved in was Iraqi sunni and shia violence killing each other. I personally was involved in the direct saving of sunni lives from Iranian backed shia death squads (even police) and received some of the deepest heartfelt thank yous from sunni civilians I have ever experienced.
      What have you ever done for humanity other than blog your opinion?

    • lucy says:

      yeah yeah yeah…..heard it all before. Kinda like bashing kids (or wives) ‘for their own good’, right? Even the original nazis used similar copouts.

      Who ASKED to stick your oar in?
      You went there under false pretences, on the say-so of some scumbag politician, butchered people for years ~ after actually providing WMD to Hussein! ~ and then left the Iraqi population MUCH worse off than they ever were under Hussein.

      And all for what? As always the US engineered a war: the bloodiest/longest war ever in the region (induced Iraq to attack Iran because Iran had kicked the US arse and chucked it out), and then took Hussein to task when he claimed his nudge-nudge, wink-wink reward: Kuwait. (part of which was the engineering/support of the Israeli bombing of Iraq.)

      In retaliation Hussein demanded that henceforth the Iraqi oil be paid for in Euros, which the US couldn’t do because no-one would swap Euros for the ever-more-shaky $US.
      But the Good Ol’ Boys needed control of the Iraqi oil, so EUREKA!! ~ they decided there were WMD
      in Iraq. But apart from being a LIE, the object of the invasion was “Regime Change” (aka ‘Control of Iraqi oil); internecine butchery was NEVER an issue.

      How would YOU like it if, say, the Chinese bombed/invaded the US on the same basis because they disapproved of the current US ‘Regime’ ?? (and there’s NO question of a US WMD arsenal, is there?). What would YOU say if your ‘equivalent’ in the Chinese army spouted the same copouts?
      Do you doubt there’d be plenty of americans saying ‘thank you’ for executing you president, no matter who it was at the time?

      There’s NO excuse!..and your copouts are pathetic nonsense. More so if you actually take them seriously.

    • saturnx311 says:

      Hear, hear! Most Americans just have their head buried in the sand and their eyes glued nto their propaganda-box. It’s a really funny thing, watching the mainstream “News” here. You’d laugh yourself silly

    • lucy says:

      ps. ~ the turmoil in (and alleged ‘threat’ from ) Iran is the inevitable result of another interfering, self-interested american (OIL) misadventure.
      Ditto Korea..ditto Libya; ditto Vietnam;ditto Cuba (THRICE! ~ including the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis*); ditto Chile; ditto Argentina; ditto most of Europe.ditto Palestine, ditto….and let’s not forget Pakistan and Afghanistan.

      * remember it was the stationing of nukes right on the Turkish border with the USSR that prompted the Soviets to site missiles in Cuba in a tit-for-tat pissing contest which could’ve killed the whole world.

      You’re probably not old enough to remember a couple (or three!)
      iconic movies that described US adventurism to perfection and helped shape the current world.
      They may not be easily available, but DO try. (or I can send you copies if you like –> dabbbles@gmail.com )

      1…Failsafe. (you’ll like the end!:- a legitimate (!!) reason for a US President to nuke New York!)
      2…Doctor Strangelove : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAeqVGP-GPM
      3… Catch 22 (You’re dead if you do, and dead if you don’t)

      Do yourself a favour ~ and THEN get back to me.

    • JM says:

      Seen all three. Not as young as you think.

    • lucy says:

      Good for you.
      …and you should know better than to defend the ‘policy-makers’ ~ as well as their sole enablers: policy-followers.

    • Robert Kennedy says:

      Not to mention The Ugly American.

    • lucy says:

      Yeah. Though in a weird way US bureaucracy back then was still tinged with an ‘honesty’ of sorts. eg. The Roman Legions made no effort to ‘adapt’ either (let alone impose ‘civilisation’, etc.) ; they just quite directly said:- ‘Toe the line or we kill you’.
      (Not that it ALWAYS worked; but was generally sufficient. Honesty pays, as they say.)

      eg:
      The approach of US diplomatic ‘tact’ (version early-1950s) :-
      ‘Once again you Froggies clearly demonstrate that Europeans can’t fight and need your more competent friends and allies to save you from defeat and disgrace…….er… Can you send us directions from Texas to Vietnam?’

      I know (or at least assume) it’s not really meant to be a historic depiction, but always thought world diplomatic circles should be stocked with Sir Humphrey Appleby clones. (also assuming you could find enough Americans bright enough to make the grade. lol.)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmOvEwtDycs
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNKjShmHw7s

    • lucy says:

      “Who’s they?” He wanted to know. “Who, specifically, do you think is trying to murder you?”
      “Every one of them,” Yossarian told him.
      “Every one of whom?”
      “Every one of whom do you think?”
      “I haven’t any idea.”
      “Then how do you know they aren’t?”
      “Because…” Clevinger sputtered, and turned speechless with frustration.

      Clevinger really thought he was right, but Yossarian had proof,
      because strangers he didn’t know shot at him with cannons every time he
      flew up into the air to drop bombs on them, and it wasn’t funny at all.”


      Joseph Heller,

      Catch-22

    • Isntlam says:

      LOL