Regarding Shahriar Zanganeh's “Nuclear Roulette“, I thought it be necessary to voice some comments:
He is making the right arguments for the wrong reasons. No one is happy with Iran's current state of affairs. Yet trying to base a con argument based on Iran's quest to master nuclear technology will hit serious polemical obstacles. Allow me to elaborate:
1. Shahriar keeps putting “peaceful applications” in quotations, as if he really knows for a fact Iran's intentions. As I stated in my last article, “Cool it“, trying to cover-up a clandestine weapons program is incredibly difficult, if not impossible from IAEA inspections. And besides, why go to such pains of concealed enrichment when one has the black market?
2. As far as I know, when the NCR first made their discovery, the IAEA did not have any mandate to do any full inspections in Iran; the IAEA inspectors are very adept at what they do.
3. There is nothing inherently wrong with enriching Uranium by itself. You need enriched Uranium to fuel a reactor anyway. Enrichment to +15%ish values would be weapons oriented. And there is no way in hell you can hide that type of enrichment operation. Therefore the UK's demand that Iran not be allowed mastery of any part of the fuel cycle is simply ridiculous.
4. Shahriar keeps ignoring the fact that Iran is mainly after the technology, not just building a few reactors per se. What can you do with nuclear technology? Food irradiation, law enforcement, even the oil industry, space technologies, archeology, and farmers and manufacturers of common consumer products, all frequently use nuclear technology. Not to mention the advanced imaging techniques and advanced radioisotope products that stem from this technology. (see detailed list here) All in all saving an economy billions.
5. Shahriar mentions the cost analysis argument against nuclear energy for Iran. If nuclear energy today does not seem as a feasible option to many, it's because it is highly politicized, not because nuclear energy is not a competitive source of future energy, which it definitely is. For example, president Carter's restriction on spent fuel reprocessing puts heavy restrictions on efficient waste managemnet methods.
In fact, an MIT study recommends that despite the unattractive cost obstacles of nuclear energy, “nuclear energy could be a vital option for generating electricity in the future”. The study claims: “We believe the nuclear option should be retained, precisely because it is an important carbon-free source of power that can potentially make a significant contribution to future electricity supply.” (source: e11th-hour.org)
Thus to dismiss the nuclear option and its associated myriad of beneficial tchnologies is plain shortsighted, if not reckless for a developing country like Iran. To NOT invest, obtain, and use such technologies would be a disaster to future generations of Iranians, not the other way around. For the many benefits of nuclear technology, see: nei.org.
6. Shahriar mentions the supposedly “environmental dangers” of nuclear plants. Surprisingly, nuclear plants are the safest plants in the world by record, especially when it comes to global warming. How many nuclear plants do we know in Japan that have been adversely affected by Japan's famous 7 richter tremors? See here. OK, so a Russian reactor is not Japan. But isn't that what Iran is in fact asking for? Access to such safe and advanced civilian technologies?
7. Shahriar's statement that “the current fundamentalist regime's priorities do not suite the needs of the nation or the security of the world” is however one worth reflecting. I too can't help think how a regime change in Iran would help us all (Iranians, Americans, Islam, and the world).
Everytime I hear news about Zahra Kazemi, the apathy and treason of officials in Iran on the theft of cultural heritage artifacts, or when I see the latest supermodern developments of Iran-hating Dubai, or some incredibly stupid economic move by the incompetent conservative establishment that continues to bestow Iran “pas-raft” (regress) instead of “pish-raft” (progress). God, I don't wanna even get into that.
1. Nuclear technology is vital to the FUTURE. No ands, ifs, or buts.
2. Iran's current authorities however, dont have any idea or dont seem to care an epsilon about the meaning of FUTURE, as demonstarted by their miserable conduct of political/socio/economic affairs in the past.