Is John Bolton responsible for IAEA chief inspector quitting?
John Bolton appears to be drumming up support for a war with Iran. A year before the invasion of Iraq, Bolton forced the OPCW chief to resign. This week the IAEA chief inspector quit suddenly. The reason for his departure remains a mystery.
Published: May 13, 2018, 9:24 am
In early 2002, the Bush administration put intense pressure on José Bustani to resign as director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Bolton — then serving as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs — travelled to the OPCW headquarters in the Hague personally to issue a warning to the organization’s chief.
According to Bustani, Bolton was direct: “[Dick] Cheney [the then-vice president of the United States] wants you out. We can’t accept your management style.”
Bolton said: “You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you.” He paused. “We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York.”
José Bustani had successfully negotiated to get OPCW inspectors back into Iraq where they would have found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
Their findings would have contradicted the US propaganda campaign to wage war on Iraq. When Bustani did not leave voluntarily, the US threatened to cut the OPCW’s budget and “convinced” other countries in the executive council to get rid of him.
This week, the chief of inspections at the IAEA resigned suddenly, the agency said on Friday but gave no reason for his resignation.
The departure of Tero Varjoranta comes only three days after the United States announced it would be withdraw from the world powers’ nuclear accord with Iran, Reuters reported.
Varjoranta, a Finn, had been a deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and head of its Department of Safeguards, which verifies countries’ compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, since October 2013.
Another casualty is the State Department official who certified Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal.
One of the State Department’s top experts on nuclear proliferation resigned this week after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, in what officials and analysts say is part of a worrying brain drain from public service generally over the past 18 months.
Richard Johnson, a career civil servant who served as acting assistant coordinator in State’s Office of Iran Nuclear Implementation, had been involved in talks with countries that sought to salvage the deal in recent weeks, including Britain, France, and Germany — an effort that ultimately failed.
The office Johnson led has gone from seven full-time staffers to none since Trump’s inauguration.
John Bolton was also behind a campaign to fire the IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei. ElBaradei’s phone was tapped and rumors were launched against him to oust him from his office.
As with Iraq, it appears that Bolton – now serving as the National Security Advisor to President Trump – wants to once again discredit the current system of international inspections. Bolton has called the inspection efforts established by the Iran nuclear deal “fatally inadequate” and declared that “the International Atomic Energy Agency” is “likely missing significant Iranian [nuclear] facilities”.
The Iraq fiasco is not stopping John Bolton either.
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