Iran’s Nuclear Program
“…Look at it in the totality of the picture. And the picture is you've got undeclared …nuclear activity, deliberate misinformation on nuclear activity, development of delivery systems, and other technical research that, added all up, paints a very troubling picture.” (Ereli, 2004). These remarks, given by J. Adam Ereli, a
State Department Deputy Spokesman, sums up the nuclear program and intentions of Iran. Although on multiple occasions Iran declared their nuclear development program is only for peaceful purposes, not for weaponization, the reality is Iran has been systematically and clandestinely developing nuclear technology with the intent of creating nuclear weapons. This paper will give a brief history of Iran’s nuclear program, what Iran’s strategic goals of a nuclear weapon program are, why the Europeans and Americans believe a nuclear Iran will create a crisis situation, and what the response of the international community would be if Iran did develop nuclear weapons. The US, under the Atoms for Peace Program, gave Iran its first assistance for a civil nuclear program in the 1960’s. According to Akbar Etemad, the President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) in the 1970’s, by early 1970, Iran was carrying out nuclear research and education at the University of Tehran. The work centered on a five megawatt research reactor supplied by the United States, which began operation in 1967 (Etemad, 1987). Iranian scientists and engineers also conducted research on the nuclear fuel cycle, the exploration of uranium mining and ore processing, and designed plans for a new nuclear research center at Isfahan (Etemad, 1987). By the mid-1970s, according to Etemad, Iran’s nuclear energy program had expanded, with the goal of producing roughly 23,000 megawatts of electrical power from a series of nuclear power stations within twenty years. Etemad acknowledges, however, that the Iranian revolution in 1979 and the war with Iraq in the 1980’s put Iran’s nuclear program on hold. According to Iranwatch.org, by the early 1990s, Iran began to recover from their revolution and war with Iraq. Based on assistance from Russia, China and Pakistan, its nuclear program was also recovering and once again moving forward (Iranwatch.com). Iran and China signed two nuclear cooperation protocols in 1985 and 1990. In 1995, Iran and Russia agreed to build a Russian nuclear reactor in Bushehr, Iran, and agreed to look into building an enrichment plant (Mikhailov and Amrollah, 1995). Due to international pressure, however, the enrichment plant was never completed. Throughout the 1990s, despite public statements against a nuclear Iran, Russia and China continued assist Iran’s nuclear goals (Iranwatch.org). According to a report generated by the 9/11 Commission, Iran is also believed to have received uranium enrichment technology from Pakistani Scientist, and international spy, A. Q. Khan (Cronin, Kronstadt, and Squassoni, 2005). In 2002, Alireza Jafarzadeh, the leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (an exiled Iranian resistance group), revealed the existence of secret nuclear sites within Iran: a uranium mine in Saghand, Iran, a “yellow cake” production plant near Ardakan, Iran, and a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, Iran. Within a year, the world realized that Iran had built or was building everything needed to produce nuclear reactors as well as nuclear weapons (Iranwatch.org). By 2003, Iran had increased its understanding and ability to create the technology needed to make enriched uranium, one of the materials that can be used to fuel a nuclear weapon. According to Iranwatch.org, the secretive nature of their nuclear experiments were conducted in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), signed by Iran in 1970, which guarantees its members the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Due to this, Iran was forced to provide new information...
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