Giving Israel the Green Light
Cheney's remarkable comments prefigured similar remarks by the president. When asked if the U.S. would back Israeli attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities, the president said, "Clearly, if I was the leader of Israel and I'd listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs that regarded the security of my country, I'd be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon as well. And in that Israel is our ally, and in that we've made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if her security is threatened."
OK, so while Israel refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and does not allow inspections of its weapons facilities, Iran has been a signatory of the NPT since 1970, subject to intrusive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Gordon Prather notes that in the wake of American zaniness in Iraq, the Iranians have gone out of their way to avoid being attacked. Prather writes:
More than a year ago, after watching what Bush did to Iraq, Iran voluntarily subjected itself to an intrusive go-anywhere, see-anything Additional Protocol to their IAEA Safeguards Agreement. Under the Additional Protocol, activities and sites that either did not need to be declared at all, or needed to be declared only shortly before operations involving "special nuclear materials" began, must now be declared while still in the planning stage. Iran volunteered to temporarily freeze its gas-centrifuge research, development, and production program.
Any past or present violations of Iran's Safeguards Agreement was to be reported to the IAEA Board of Governors. If and only if the Board decided the violations amounted to a violation of the NPT itself was the Board to refer the matter to the UN Security Council for possible action.
The IAEA has now visited every site the Iranians have declared under the Additional Protocol, as well as at least two sites the U.S. suspected should have been declared but weren't. Iran had also given the IAEA permission to review its import and export records going back at least a decade.
Of course, those pinkocommielibs at IAEA weren't convinced that Saddam had a burgeoning weapons program, either.