The Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), between China, France, Russia, UK and USA, represented a crowning moment of international diplomacy and stopped the US and its allies from going to war with Iran. Donald Trump’s decision to break the deal threatens to return the world to that precipice. Scott Ritter, a former Marine intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector in Iraq discusses the implications of the lost deal with On Contact host and journalist, Chris Hedges.
Fmr. UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter Warns Against “Politically Motivated Hype” on Iran Nuke Program
Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter joins us to discuss what he calls “politically motivated hype” over Iran’s nuclear program. The Obama administration has warned of sanctions unless Iran allows inspections of a newly disclosed nuclear site. Iran insists the site has been used for peaceful purposes. The row comes just after Iran’s test-firing of medium- and long-range missiles and before Iranian officials are due to hold talks with the US and five other nations in Geneva. [includes rush transcript]
By Scott Ritter
ICH, November 14, 2008
“Truthdig”, November 13, 2008
The American people have spoken, and the next president of the United States will be Barack Obama. Running on a platform of change, the president-elect will be severely tested early in his administration by a host of challenges, be they economic, military, environmental or diplomatic in nature. How Obama handles these issues will define his tenure as America’s chief executive, and there will not—nor should there be—a honeymoon period. The challenges of these times do not permit such a luxury, something the president-elect had to know and comprehend when he chose to run for office. John McCain and Hillary Clinton, Obama’s defeated rivals, were both correct when they noted that the next president would need to be ready to govern on day one. Barack Obama has until the 20th of January to get his policies in order, because at one minute past noon on that day, he becomes the most powerful man in a volatile world. While the problems he will face are many, I will focus on what I believe are the four most critical issues that will need to be addressed in the first weeks and months of the Obama administration: Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Russia. This will be done in a series of articles, the first of which will deal with Iran.
Fmr. UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter on the RNC, Joe Biden and the Possibility of an Attack on Iran
In these last few months of the Bush administration, as we continue to discuss the war in Iraq and the possibility of an attack on Iran, we turn to a man who was a UN weapons inspector inside Iraq in the 1990s: Scott Ritter. We speak with Ritter about Iran, Joe Biden’s role in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion and much more. Despite being a registered Republican, Ritter is backing Barack Obama.
In the past two decades I have had the opportunity to participate in certain experiences pertaining to my work that fall into the category of “no one will ever believe this.” I usually file these away, calling on them only when events transpire that breathe new life into these extraordinary memories. Ron Suskind, a noted and accomplished journalist, has written a new book, “The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism,” in which he claims that the “White House had concocted a fake letter from Habbush [Tahir Jalil Habbush, the director of the Mukhabarat], to Saddam [Hussein], backdated to July 1, 2001.” According to Suskind, the letter said that “9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta had actually trained for his mission in Iraq—thus showing, finally, that there was an operational link between Saddam and al Qaeda, something the Vice President’s Office had been pressing CIA to prove since 9/11 as a justification to invade Iraq.”
The war between the United States and Iran is on. American taxpayer dollars are being used, with the permission of Congress, to fund activities which result in Iranians being killed and wounded, and Iranian property destroyed. This wanton violation of a nation’s sovereignty would not be tolerated if the tables were turned and Americans were being subjected to Iranian-funded covert actions which took the lives of Americans, on American soil, and destroyed American property and livelihood. Many Americans remain unaware of what is transpiring abroad in their name. Many of those who are cognizant of these activities are supportive of them, an outgrowth of misguided sentiment which holds Iran accountable for a list of grievances used by the U.S. government to justify the ongoing global war on terror. Iran, we are told, is not just a nation pursuing nuclear weapons, but is the largest state sponsor of terror in the world today.
There can no longer be any doubt about the consequences of any U.S. and/or Israeli military action against Iran. Armchair warriors, pundits and blustering politicians alike have been advocating a pre-emptive military strike against Iran for the purpose of neutralizing its nuclear-related infrastructure, as well as retarding Iran’s ability to train and equip “terrorist” forces on Iranian soil before dispatching them to Iraq or parts unknown. Some, including me, have warned of the folly of such action, and now Iran itself has demonstrated why an attack would be insane
Thanks to Josh for posting this speech. This is a great speech, Ritter is very personable, goes into the Iraqi WMDs and also talks about those who have little yellow ribbon stickers on their cars to “support the troops”. ~ Lo
I am a former U.N. weapons inspector. I started my work with the United Nations in September 1991, and between that date and my resignation in August 1998 I participated in over 30 inspections, 14 as chief inspector. The United Nations Special Commission, or UNSCOM, was the organization mandated by the Security Council with the implementation of its resolutions requiring Iraq to be disarmed of its weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities. While UNSCOM oversaw the areas of chemical and biological weapons, and ballistic missiles, it shared the nuclear file with the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA. As such, UNSCOM, through a small cell of nuclear experts on loan from the various national weapons laboratories, would coordinate with the nuclear safeguards inspectors from the IAEA, organized into an “Action Team” dedicated to the Iraq nuclear disarmament problem. UNSCOM maintained political control of the process, insofar as its executive chairman was the only one authorized to approve a given inspection mission. At first, the IAEA and UNSCOM shared the technical oversight of the inspection process, but soon this was transferred completely to the IAEA’s Action Team, and UNSCOM’s nuclear staff assumed more of an advisory and liaison function.
In August 1992 I began cooperating closely with IAEA’s Action Team, traveling to Vienna, where the IAEA maintained its headquarters. The IAEA had in its possession a huge cache of documents seized from Iraq during a series of inspections in the summer of 1991, and together with other U.N. inspectors I was able to gain access to these documents for the purpose of extracting any information which might relate to UNSCOM’s non-nuclear mission. These documents proved to be very valuable in that regard, and a strong working relationship was developed. Over the coming years I frequently traveled to Vienna, where I came to know the members of the IAEA Action Team as friends and dedicated professionals. Whether poring over documents, examining bits and pieces of equipment (the IAEA kept a sample of an Iraqi nuclear centrifuge in its office) or ruminating about the difficult political situation that was Iraq over wine and cheese on a Friday afternoon, I became familiar with the core team of experts that composed the IAEA Action Team.
As someone who has been urging focused citizen activism for some time now, I find it heartening that there are those in the United States who put action to words and seek to lead by example. This is the case with Chicago Alderman Joe Moore, who, together with seven of his 49 colleagues (Toni Preckwinkle, Sandi Jackson, Eugene Schulter, Robert Fioretti, Freddrenna Lyle, Ricardo Munoz and Mary Ann Smith), has prepared a resolution for the Chicago City Council opposing war on Iran. By itself, this resolution most probably will not serve to alter the policies currently being pursued by the Bush administration. But when a great American city such as Chicago takes the lead in expressing its rejection of irresponsible national policy, other cities should, and will, take notice.
I have been asked to be a witness, together with other experts on Iran and U.S. Middle East policy, before the City Council as it considers this resolution. I think it is of great importance that the representatives of the people of Chicago vote to adopt it in its entirety. I would also encourage other municipalities to consider similar resolutions opposing war on Iran, and to express their concern through the adoption of resolutions which, collectively, might serve as a notice to the United States Congress, as well as the administration of President Bush, that a war with Iran would not be supported by the citizens of this land.
In preparing for my role as witness, I carefully considered the Chicago resolution in its entirety, and offer my analysis of its content as a primer for interested parties. I sincerely hope that the leadership and courage exhibited by the Chicago council members can be replicated across America in a timely fashion, and that the resultant will of the people is recognized by the Congress in time for effective legislation to be drafted and passed which reduces the threat of U.S.-Iranian conflict.