WHY DOES IRAN WANT NUCLEAR WEAPONS?  The US Drops Some Hypocrisy Bombs

Peace Researcher 35 – December 2007

                       

- Joe Hendren

 

Since this was written there has been a major development – in December 2007 it was announced that US intelligence agencies now believe that Iran stopped its alleged pursuit of nuclear weaponry in 2003. Furthermore, that President Bush had known this for several months, but he had continued to inflame the rhetoric about Iran’s “nuclear weapons programme”, saying that it could lead to World War 3. Ed.

 

With all the talk about Iran and the intentions of its nuclear programme it is a shame the West continues to undermine its own position with selective morality and obvious hypocrisy. It seems amazing there can be so much written about this issue, yet so little addresses the obvious question – “for what reasons could Iran want nuclear weapons?”. As Simon Jenkins points out, the answer is as simple as looking at a map. "I would sleep happier if there were no Iranian bomb but a swamp of hypocrisy separates me from overly protesting it. Iran is a proud country that sits between nuclear Pakistan and India to its east, a nuclear Russia to its north and a nuclear Israel to its west. Adjacent Afghanistan and Iraq are occupied at will by a nuclear America, which backed Saddam Hussein in his 1980 invasion of Iran. How can we say such a country has ‘no right’ to nuclear defence?" (Guardian (18/1/07, “The West has picked a fight with Iran it cannot win”).1

 

In January 2007 the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, told the BBC that the West is partly to blame for the Iran nuclear crisis for allowing Israel to develop a nuclear arsenal (BBC News, “Iran nuclear bid 'fault of West'”)2. He said nuclear weapons benefited no-one, and called for a nuclear-free zone in the Gulf. It would be good to see al-Faisal get some strong support for this idea, as a weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-free Middle East ought to be the goal of any sane policy. Better still, existing United Nations Security Council Resolutions go a significant way towards putting such a ban in place already, which should make it easier to put in place.

 

In 2003 George Bush and Tony Blair attempted to use Security Council Resolution 687 as a justification for the invasion of Iraq. While 687 provided no such authorisation, it did call for the elimination of Iraqi WMD and delivery systems as a step towards "the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all other missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons" (Article 14). So if 687 is really to be upheld, then pressure must be put on Israel to disarm.

 

On September 20th, 2007 the Minister of Defence, Phil Goff “abstained” on behalf of New Zealand while voting on an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution that aimed to create a nuclear free Middle East. This act of cowardice was no doubt influenced by the fact the resolution included an implicit criticism of Israel. Nevertheless, the resolution was adopted, with 53 countries in favour, 2 voting no, and 47 abstentions.

 

How can Israel be disarmed? A good start would be for the US and the UK to publicly recognise Israel's possession of nuclear weapons (as far as I know they have never officially recognised this) and ask Israel to agree to arms reduction talks. This would have the advantage of greatly increasing the diplomatic pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear programme, as it would be much more difficult for Tehran to claim they need nukes for defensive purposes, although it must be noted that Iran is yet to make this claim. Many Arab states feel threatened by Israel's nuclear status, especially as Israeli nuclear armed submarines have been known to patrol the coasts of Iran and Pakistan.

 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims Iran “does not need nuclear arms” and that his country is only asserting its right to peaceful nuclear technology, as allowed under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Unfortunately, countries such as Israel made similar denials in the mid-1960s when they were developing nuclear weapons, so any such denials ought to be taken with a grain of salt, unless said country is happy for the IAEA to make unhindered inspection visits.

 

Iran's Nuclear Programme Began With US Assistance

 

The history of Iran's nuclear programme began in the 1960s when Iran was a client state of the US. American corporations associated with the nuclear industry saw Iran as a potential market for expansion. In 1967 the Shah built the Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC), based on a five megawatt (MW) research reactor - supplied by the US. The TNRC was run by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI).  In 1974 a West German company, Kraftwerk Union (a subsidiary of Siemens, of West Germany) began construction of two 1,200 MW reactors at Bushehr, and a French company gained a contract to build two smaller 900 MW reactors. In 1975 the Shah made a nuclear cooperation treaty with India. The AEOI also signed an agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), so that the first generation of Iranian nuclear engineers could have the benefit of education and training from a leading US university. On July 10th, 1978, the US-Iran Nuclear Energy Agreement was signed, providing Iran with more access to American technology and help in sourcing uranium. A mere seven months later, Ayatollah Khomeini launched the 1979 revolution that would overthrow the government of the Shah.

 

The first President of the AEOI, Dr Akbar Etemad, revealed that between 1974 and 1978 the TNRC carried out experiments to extract plutonium from spent fuel using chemical agents. According to Mohammad Sahimi, a lecturer in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles), the only use for plutonium is for a nuclear bomb. In June 1974 the Shah declared that Iran would have nuclear weapons, “without a doubt and sooner than one would think”. If we are concerned about Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb, there was actually more evidence this was happening in the 1970s than there is now.

 

Ironically, the man who prevented the development of an Iranian bomb at this point was Ayatollah Khomeini.  Following the downfall of the Shah, the new Prime Minister, Mehdi Bazargan, decided Iran did not need nuclear energy, even though, at this point, the first reactor at Bushehr was 90% complete. The installations were later bombed during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Following the end of the war Iran expressed greater interest in nuclear energy, and approached Kraftwerk Union to complete the Bushehr project. Under strong US pressure, Kraftwerk refused, as did others approached by Iran. In refusing to participate in the completion of the Bushehr installations, Sahimi believes the West lost an opportunity to significantly influence the development of the Iranian nuclear programme, and to contribute to greater ongoing safety of the plants, and hence, influence over their operations. Attempts by the US and other Western powers to drum up fears about the Iranian nuclear programme are not just about nuclear weapons and nuclear power. To many of the people living in the Middle East, this debate can only be seen in the context of nearly a century of efforts by the Western powers to maintain their interests and influence over the oil-rich region.

 

Following a coup in February 1921, a Cossack Army officer named Reza Khan was appointed as Iran's new monarch, taking the name Reza Shah Pahlavi. The Shah sought to balance the influence of Britain and Russia by developing links with other European powers, but his links with Germany alarmed Britain and the former Soviet Union, who feared the Shah would align with Germany during World War II, despite Iran adopting a neutral stance in the conflict. In August 1941 an Anglo-Soviet force occupied Iran and forced the Shah to abdicate in favour of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. 

 

In 1951 the elected Parliament of Iran voted unanimously to nationalise the oil industry, led by the nationalist movement of Dr Mohammad Mossadegh, who was soon proclaimed Iran's Prime Minister. Nationalisation was a threat to the immensely profitable Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), the mantle of British economic and political influence over Iran. In 1953, egged on by anti-Communist jingoism, the American President, Dwight Eisenhower, gave the go ahead to Operation Ajax, a covert plot of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and British Intelligence to remove Mossadegh. 

 

It worked. The first and only government of Iran to be democratically elected was removed, and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi came back to rule as a trained despot. The AIOC came back in 1954, under the guise of the British Petroleum Company (BP) and operated as part of an international consortium, of which 40% was owned by BP, and another 40% held by the five major American oil companies. For its backers, the Anglo-American coup paid handsomely, but the people of Iran paid a heavy price. Iran's democracy was broken, and the Shah's secret police became infamous throughout the world for their widespread use of torture and detention of political prisoners. If Iran still had a Government sympathetic to US interests it is doubtful the Bush Administration would be making so much noise about Iran's nuclear ambitions. 

 

Why Does Iran Need Nuclear Power?

 

In Iran's case, Ahmadinejad needs to be asked why it is so essential for Iran to gain nuclear power stations when the country is sitting on one of the most plentiful gas supplies in the world. The US is fond of this line of argument. These claims are disputed by Mohammad Sahimi. While he acknowledges that Iran has vast oil and gas reserves Sahimi argues there are strong economic, social and environmental reasons for Iran to develop alternative energy sources. All oil exporting countries, perhaps with the exception of Norway, rely heavily on oil revenue. Sahimi says that developing countries such as Iran may face “social instability or even revolution” if the “oil price stays too low for two long”.

 

Sahimi also asks what would happen to the West's huge chemical industry, an importance source of jobs, if the world's oil and gas reserves were depleted too quickly. As Western governments look to develop alternative energy sources in order to allow the remaining world oil and gas supplies to be used for more useful things, “why can Iran not use this argument?”. Even for those who are adamantly opposed to nuclear power and the risks it entails, Sahimi raises a question that ought to be considered. “Why is it that the US and her allies believed, in the 1970s, that Iran needed nuclear reactors and nuclear energy, when Iran's population was less than half of the present and her oil production was much more than now, but they argue that Iran does not need nuclear energy?”.

 

While the US may claim its refusal to allow Iran to develop a nuclear industry is to stop the ayatollahs from getting a nuclear bomb, it is also consistent with the aim of weakening the long term political and economic development of the country. Iran is currently sitting on gas reserves that will last for at least 200 years. As gas replaces oil as the major source of energy over the next 40 to 50 years, Iran will be in an excellent position to be the major supplier to Asia and Europe. America may have geopolitical reasons to prevent this. As we saw above, the US encouraged Iran to expand its non-oil energy base in the 1970s, and suggested to the Shah that he needed not one but several nuclear reactors to acquire the electricity that Iran would require in the future. This is based on confidential US Government documents that have now been declassified (Sahimi).

 

A look at the electricity generation profile of Iran also demonstrates there is little room for burning more gas and oil. As of 2004, 75% of Iran's electricity generation came from natural gas, 18% from oil and 7% from hydroelectric power. Iran opened its first wind and geothermal plants in 2004, with a solar thermal plant due to come on line in 20093. Demand for electricity is growing at the same time the dilapidated state of Iran's distribution network is causing a lot of power wastage.  With annual growth in demand for electricity around 5 to 8% a year, Sahimi says Iran will not be able to produce enough electricity using its oil and gas reserves, even under the best possible circumstances, including among other things, the end of the economic embargoes currently imposed on the country. More recent estimates of the annual growth of electricity use in Iran put the figure at 10%4.

 

There are also serious environmental reasons why Iran should not be encouraged to depend on oil and gas for its electricity needs. Many of the costs of consumption of oil and gas are not reflected in the price. To give one example, the American Lung Association estimated the “hidden” costs of air pollution to be around $50 million a year, including health costs and lost potential income. Levels of air pollution in Tehran and other major Iranian cities has been described as being “catastrophic”, with elementary schools having to close on some days as a result. In Tehran, the long term health effects of air pollution are cited as the cause of death for 17,000 citizens in the capital city alone. Overall carbon emissions have risen from 33 million metric tonnes in 1980 to more than 85 million metric tonnes in 2003.

 

On January 24th, 2007, Ahmadinejad appeared on Iranian TV (IRNA) to once again argue for the right of his country to develop nuclear power plants. In this same interview he also stressed the importance of privatisation in achieving the country's energy goals. There are plans to sell seven power plants to the private sector, with 22 agreements reached with the private sector to construct power plants5. “If peaceful nuclear energy is good it must be good for everybody and if it is bad why do certain powers enjoy it?”.

 

Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), making it subject to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) while Israel is a rogue state outside of the NPT. Under the NPT Iran is allowed to enrich uranium for civilian fuel programmes. Iran claims to be able to produce uranium to a 3.5% level of enrichment, whereas a bomb or a warhead requires around 90%. Once Iran perfects the enrichment process, a significantly greater number of centrifuges would be required to make a weapon, many more than the 164 it claims now to have in operation6.

 

Many other oil-exporting countries, such as Britain and Russia, rely on nuclear power for a significant portion of their energy needs.  Unlike these two countries, Iran claims it does not need nuclear weapons.  The best way for Iran to demonstrate that its intentions in this regard are honourable would be to offer the IAEA full disclosure and access to its nuclear facilities, above and beyond what it is required to do under international law. If inspectors find nothing, this could provide a strong rebuke to US claims about the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), a sequel to the findings of the UN weapons inspectors who failed to find evidence to support US claims about Iraqi WMDs in 2003.

 

Why Might Iran Want Nuclear Weapons?

 

In a January 2005 article “Iran's nuclear posture and the scars of war”7, Joost R Hiltermann raises some relevant background to the current debate surrounding Iran. In going to war with Iraq, Hiltermann says the Bush Administration sought to prove that President Clinton’s policy of dual containment – a decade of sanctions, threats, military action, and UN-led disarmament had failed to stop Iraq from developing WMD. But Iraq, it turned out, had no WMD in March 2003, and probably did not have any for most of the preceding decade. Hiltermann points out: “Iraq, of course, was not the only target of dual containment. So was neighbouring Iran, which likewise was suspected of having secret programmes for building weapons of mass destruction and was seen as a destabilising force hostile to US interests”.

 

As the Bush Administration failed to find their proof of the failure of dual containment in Iraq, will they force a similar method of “proof” onto neighbouring Iran? According to Hilterman, Iran sued for peace from the 1980-88 Iran/Iraq War at the end of the 1980s because Iraq’s escalating use of chemical weapons made Iranian “human wave” assaults ineffective. Following Iraq’s use of chemical weapons in 1983 Iran asked the international community for assistance.

 

"...Tehran’s repeated remonstrations with the United Nations fell virtually on deaf ears. For six years, Iranian diplomats wrought ever more sophisticated legal arguments to persuade the UN that it should have an institutional interest in upholding the relevant precepts of international humanitarian law. In particular, the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which prohibits ‘the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices’, was directly on point. The UN’s failure to uphold such precepts, the Iranians said, would undermine its credibility and impartiality, while giving rise to a regional arms race” (Hilterman).

 

Yet the US continued to offer Iraq significant support in its war with Iran. A steady stream of unofficial US “advisers” visited Iraq from the first days of the war, and the US supplied Iraq with satellite imagery of the Iranian battle lines, which must have been very useful when deciding where to deploy the chemical weapons. Donald Rumsfeld, (who went on to, as George Bush’s Secretary of Defense, mastermind the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq) acting as Special Envoy for President Ronald Reagan, visited Iraq in December 1983 and late March 1984, seeking ways to improve US-Iraq relations. In between these visits by Rumsfeld, the Iraqi military issued a statement declaring that “the invaders should know for every harmful insect there is an insecticide capable of annihilating it whatever their number and Iraq possesses this annihilation insecticide”8.

 

According to Iranian records Iraq first used chemical weapons on January 13th, 1981. From December 21st 1980 to March 20th 1984 Iranians suffered 63 separate gas attacks9. It took until March 1984 for the US to acknowledge and condemn Iraq's use of chemical weapons, and even then this statement also implied Iran held greater responsibility for ending a war it did not start. And where did Iraq get these weapons come from? From West Germany, and as it turned out, the US, as was revealed in a 1994 US Senate committee report: “United States Chemical and Biological Warfare Dual-use exports to Iraq and their possible impact on the Health consequences of the Persian Gulf War”10 .

 

This report detailed Government approved shipments of biological agents from American companies to Iraq from 1985 or earlier. It stated:

 

“The United States provided the Government of Iraq with 'dual use' licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological, and missile-system programmes, including...chemical warfare agent production facility plant and technical drawings (provided as pesticide production facility plans), chemical weapon filling equipment...” (p260).

 

During the Iran-Iraq war, Washington conducted a disinformation campaign that sought to equally blame Iran and Iraq for the use of chemical weapons, a campaign that helpfully took the pressure off Iraq, then a US ally. Faced with journalists asking questions about Iraq’s use of chemical weapons the US slapped on a ban on the export of chemical precursors to both Iran and Iraq in the spring of 1984, despite internal documents showing US officials had been aware of Iraq’s conduct for at least six months.

 

Hiltermann: “It is generally accepted that toward the end of the war Iran had gained the capability to field its own chemical weapons. Parliamentary Speaker (and future President) Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani declared two months after war’s end that “chemical bombs and biological weapons are poor man’s atomic bombs and can easily be produced. We should at least consider them for our defence…. Although the use of such weapons is inhuman, the war taught us that international laws are only drops of ink on paper”. Hiltermann concludes: “[T]he world’s ability to challenge Iran on any programmes it may have today is reduced dramatically by the Iranian perception that it has nothing to protect it from WMD in the hands of a regional power, such as Israel, but its own WMD deterrent. The current standoff over Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons programme is a graphic illustration of the problem”.

 

US attempts to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons would have far more force and credibility if they applied the same standards to Israel. In the case of the Middle East it was ‘I’ who cast the first stone. If calls for Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons were combined with a genuine call for a nuclear free Middle East and an unequivocal call on Israel to disarm, the US message would have far more moral force and credibility. Otherwise, it just looks like more US hypocrisy.

 

If Iran is successful in developing nuclear arms - this will be yet another dismal failure for the foreign policy of Bush. North Korea, is named in Bush’s “axis of evil” speech, continues its nuclear weapons programme and withdraws from the NPT. Iran is named in the “axis of evil” speech, and “breaks the seals” on its three nuclear facilities. It worried UN Chief Inspector, Hans Blix, that in invading Iraq, Bush may have sent precisely the wrong message - the US only attacks countries that cannot defend themselves11.

 

And like most policy questions - it all comes down to who we want to help. Simon Jenkins again: "All the following statements about Iran are true. There are powerful Iranians who want to build a nuclear bomb. There are powerful ones who do not. There are people in Iran who would like Israel to disappear. There are people who would not. There are people who would like Islamist rule. There are people who would not. There are people who long for some idiot Western politician to declare war on them. There are people appalled at the prospect. The only question for Western strategists is which of these people they want to help".

 

Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford and Global Security Consultant to the Oxford Research Group, picks up a similar theme:  “What also needs to be borne in mind is that the strong US rhetoric on Iran is singularly useful for the Ahmadinejad government. There are serious economic problems affecting the country, with many of them affecting the poorer sections of the population that were largely responsible for Admadinejad's surprising election in 2005. The decrease in his own popularity is reflected in the poor performance of associates in municipal elections earlier in the summer and it is therefore to his advantage that Iran is facing such an antagonistic mood in Washington” (Oxford Research Group, August 2007, “Iraq After The Surge” http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications/monthly_briefings/index.html ).

 

Iran has a poor human rights record and little respect for civil liberties. While elements of the Iranian Left helped to bring down the Shah in 1979, most were rounded up by Khomeini and his goons. By 1982 Iranian socialism could be described as almost literally “dead”.  In recent years there has been a resurgence among the Iranian Left. In 2005 members of an Iranian trade union, the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, left the lights of their  buses switched on to show support for union leaders arrested by the regime. Bus drivers also refused to collect fares from passengers. The leader of the union, Mansour Osanlou, was sent back to the notorious Evin prison in July 2007, and is currently being held without charge.  An international trade union campaign now seeks his release. Attempts to demonise Ahmadinejad are counter productive for two reasons. He is likely to gain more popular support than he deserves. More importantly, the focus on Ahmadinejad overstates his importance in the Iranian political system. Significant power lies with the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei and other clerical leaders. The fall of Ahmadinejad by itself is not likely to lead to significant change.

 

US Looking For Excuses To Attack Iran

 

In May 2007 the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran had failed to suspend its nuclear enrichment activities and heavy water related projects. Plans to proceed with fuel enrichment and construction of an underground enrichment plant had continued12. Given the existence of undeclared nuclear related activities in Iran over the previous 20 years (these were revealed in 2002), the IAEA stressed the importance of Iran adopting the required “transparency measures” to allow the Agency to construct an accurate history of Iran's nuclear programme. Unless long standing verification issues could be addressed, the IAEA could not be in a position to provide assurances about the “exclusively peaceful nature” of Iran's nuclear programme. The IAEA also warned its knowledge of the Iranian nuclear programme was “deteriorating”. While it had seen no evidence of Iran attempting to “weaponise” nuclear material, or of undeclared nuclear facilities in the country, the head of the IAEA, Mohamed El Baradei estimated that Iran was three to eight years away from producing a nuclear weapon if it chose to do so13.

 

In August 2007, following another inspection visit, the IAEA was able to announce significant progress. The IAEA accepted Iran's explanations regarding plutonium experiments as being “consistent with the Agency's findings. The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran and has therefore concluded that it remains in peaceful use”. It also reported Iran as being unusually cooperative, “[t]his is the first time Iran is ready to discuss all the outstanding issues that triggered the crisis in confidence”. In October 2007 El Baradei urged the world to give Iran more time to prove its nuclear intentions were peaceful (Associated Press, 4/10/07, “IAEA chief urges patience with Iran, warns against confrontations”).

 

The reasons why Iran may want, or be developing, a nuclear weapon can be summarised, broadly speaking, into four arguments. The first might be called the proximity hypothesis – Iran wants a bomb because it is surrounded by nuclear capable neighbours. Secondly, Iran may feel it needs WMD to defend itself, as it remembers how the international community failed to act when Iran was subjected to widespread use of chemical weapons during the Iran/Iraq War. The third is to deny Iran's claims it has no interest in developing such a weapon because it would not to be able to complete its programme if the rest of the world knew about it in advance – it is true to say that all current nuclear capable states kept developments secret or made flat out denials before they exploded their first bomb. While there is some rational basis for each of these arguments, it should be noted that all three are based on circumstantial evidence. Having reasons for developing a bomb and actually developing can be two different things.

 

The final, and most crude line of argument, is that Iran wants nuclear weapons because its leadership is evil and has “links” with terrorists. This has become the favourite line of the Bush Administration of late, particularly as the rest of the world shows signs of remaining fundamentally unconvinced of US claims about Iran's nuclear ambitions. Its claims that Iran is backing the Shia insurgency in Iraq also look like an attempt by the US to blame someone other than themselves for the mess it has created in Iraq.

 

During Ahmadinejad’s 2007 visit to New York, his request to visit and lay a wreath at the site of the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks was refused, on the grounds Iran was a “State sponsor of terror” - authorities also cited “security concerns” (Associated Press, 20/9/07,”Iran leader denied on WTC Wreath Request”). The refusal will also help the US to create an erroneous impression that Iran bears some responsibility for the 9/11 attacks – White House spin doctors played the same trick in the lead up to the Iraq War – even now many Americans wrongly believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. If the Iranians banned American Presidents from visiting sites where Iraqi chemical weapons were used, they would be on stronger ground.

 

There are now 168,000 US troops in Iraq, the largest number since the start of the war in 2003. Hans Blix questions the commitment of the Bush Administration to diplomacy. “There are important cards that Washington could play; instead, they have three aircraft carriers sitting in the Persian Gulf,” he said.  Regarding Iran's supposed role in Iraq, Blix said: “My impression is that the United States has been trying to push up the accusations against Iran as a basis for a possible attack – as an excuse for jumping on them” (New Yorker, 8/10/07, Seymour Hersh).

 

Throughout 2007 the White House, under the direction of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff review their long standing plans for a possible attack on Iran (opt. cit.). Instead of targeting Iran's known and suspected nuclear facilities, plans now favour so called “surgical strikes” on facilities associated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, who the Americans claim have been involved in Iraq and which the US Administration has now declared a terrorist organisation . This change in emphasis strengthens the perception that the hawks in the US Administration have decided to launch an attack on Iran – they are now looking for the excuses. Perhaps all that talk about the nukes was never about the nukes after all.

 

Sources

 

The Oxford Research Group

http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/work/middle_east/iran.php

This site includes up to date information and high quality analysis examining the risks of war with Iran and its likely consequences.

 

Dr Farhang Jahanpour has compiled a very useful chronology of Iran’s nuclear programme covering the period between 1957 and the present day.  I have used his chronology as a source for some of the historical points raised in the article above.

http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/work/middle_east/iranchronology.php

 

The quotes from Mohammad Sahimi are sourced from: Sahimi, Mohammad (10/2/03), “Iran's Nuclear Program. Part I: Its History”; Sahimi, Mohammed (10/3/03) “Iran's Nuclear Program. Part II: Are Nuclear Reactors Necessary?” Sahimi, Mohammed (10/6/03), “Iran's Nuclear Program. Part III: The Emerging Crisis”

http://www.payvand.com/news/03/oct/1015.html

 

Footnotes:

1          http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1688777,00.html

2          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4615832.stm

3          Library of Congress (March 2006), “Country Profile Iran”, Federal Research Division, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Iran.pdf

4          Iran Times (31/1/07), “Power Wastage Hits $1.1b”.

5          Http://www.president.ir/eng/ahmadinejad/cronicnews/1385/11/04/index-e.htm#b1 Interview on Channel 11, 24/1/07, IRNA.

6          Guardian (28/4/07), “Q&A: Iran's nuclear programme”.

7          http://www.merip.org/mero/mero011805.html

8          Battle, Joyce (25/2/03), “Shaking hands with Saddam Hussein: The US Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984”, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book Number 82.

9          Fisk, Robert (2006), “The Great War for Civilisation”, p257.

10         Fisk, Robert (2006), “The Great War for Civilisation”, p259.

11         http://informationclearinghouse.info/article3288.htm

12         Guardian (23/5/07), “Iran expanding nuclear activities”.

13         Guardian (24/5/07), “Iran 'three to eight years' from nuclear weapon”.

 

 

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