If you had a chance to ask Hans Blix a question, you know, the former UN Weapons Inspector to Iraq, the man who told President Bush that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction, what would you ask him?
I was in Alexandria earlier this year together with a group from Sweden and we were in luck because Hans Blix had decided to go there for his vacations as well as hold a lecture at the Bibliotheca Alexandria on his WMD report. So the Swedish Institute in Alexandria were kind enough to host us together with Blix for a lunch and a small lecture/discussion.
He talked about the importance of not claiming to have the truth but rather be in search of it, pointing towards the US Administration's persistent claims (backed by both CIA and MI5) of the existence of WMD's contrary to the finds of the UN. Also Blix described how sophisticated the techonology has become in detecting if there is nuclear action in a country through what is called environmental sampling, just by analyzing water samples.
Iran is the latest name on the Nuclear discussion agenda. I decided to play it dumb and ask Blix, why exactly everyone is on Iran's back and is there any law or resolution or agreement that would prohibit Iran from developing nuclear power for energy purposes?
In 1968 a non-proliferation agreement was established which meant that those who signed the agreement were not to posess, produce or fight with nuclear weapons. Iran signed this agreement. The agreement does not say anything about forbidding refinement of Uranium or using that nuclear energy for energy purposes. Even Sweden uses that.
-"No you are right," Blix answered, "there is no agreement or resolution that prohibits Iran."
-"So why does the international community hold one tone with Iran whilst other countries remain in posession of fully developed nuclear weapon capabilities? How do you justify it legally?"
-"Well", he continued, "legally we cannot, however we do not want the region to become destabilized and also there are concerns that if Iran posesses the capability to refine Uranium they can also produce nuclear weapons. I do not think they will and we haven't found enough evidence to prove they are hosting illegal activity."
-"But don't they have a right to deliver energy resources to their growing population just like Sweden does?"
-"Yes of course, we are not against Iran having nuclear energy. We have been presenting a solution where Iran can purchase the Uranium at a low cost from a controlled market and then use it for its nuclear energy plants."
I do not wish to see yet another country with nuclear weapons or capabilities however, I cannot help but see the absurdity in the rhetoric against Iran. There is clearly no international law or agreement to restrict Iran yet one has chosen to use another tone and treatment against Iran that I see will inspire nothing but a disrespect for International Institutions and the world community at large. How do you tell Irani youth (and all other Arab and Muslim youth who have been drilled with the idea of a "western" conspiracy and double-standard against them) that one set of laws apply to them because they are Iranis (or whatever else is the fashion to dislike at the moment) while Israel, Pakistan, the US and India have fully developed nuclear weapons?
This is the challenge all of us who wish to work for a more balanced and peaceful world face. Peace Organisations, International Institutions and world leaders wont be able to convince people to follow international law when they adjust it to whatever winds are blowing at the moment.