30 January, 2010

The 2010 Question: Iran

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The 2010 Question

This phrase, used by Tony Blair in his evidence on Friday 29th January to the UK's Chilcot Inquiry raises the spectre of future problems with Iran. The fear is that they are working to acquire a nuclear weapon capability. Since 2006, a number of United Nations Security Council Resolutions have been directed against Iran with a view to preventing proliferation of nuclear weaponry. None of these, as yet, use the words “all necessary means.”

The legality of military action against Iraq – (if indeed it was legal) – was based on Resolution 678 stating that “all necessary means” could be used. The issue in 678 was the eviction of Iraqi Forces from Kuwait in 1990. Nevertheless, 13 years later, 678 was used as the basis for the coalition action against Iraq.

Blair stated that world leaders may have to face up to the Iran issue – the “2010 question.” If some resolution is passed saying “all necessary measures” might it then be used even years later to justify military action. If the chain of resolutions relating to Iraq is any guide then it would seem that it could be. In essence, that was the view taken by Britain's Attorney-General at the time and was adopted by the British government.

Resolutions relating to Iran: 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), 1835 (2008), 1887 (2009).

UN Resolutions raise interesting questions of interpretation. Sir Michael Wood QC - who gave evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry - wrote about such interpretation. Sir Michael considered the Iraq War to be unlawful as did his Deputy at the time Elizabeth Wilmshurst. Both gave evidence to that effect at the Chilcot Inquiry.

A blog returns

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This blog is now back in use. On 25th August 2006 I discontinued using this blog. I have now brought it back into use and there will be occasional posts on human rights and the fascinating subject of international law.