When U.S. officials appeal to the Iranian people over the heads of its regime, they like to assume that Tehran’s defiance on the nuclear issue reflects only the extremist position of an unrepresentative revolutionary leadership. Plainly, they haven’t met Dr. Akbar Etemad, who ran the nuclear program of the Shah’s regime, which was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The scientist who first launched Iran’s nuclear technology program under a U.S.-backed regime in 1974 today urges the regime that stripped him of his job to reject any international demand that it halt uranium enrichment.
Dr. Etemad told an academic conference in Toronto last weekend, “Iran already stopped nuclear enrichment at the behest of Europe for more than a year [a reference to Tehran’s suspension of enrichment between late 2003 and mid-2005, to allow negotiations with the European Union]. And what happened? Nothing.”