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Nuke mullahs
A nuclear future may be inevitable, tyranny is not


May 10, 2005

Uranium will always be in Iran's future, after all Iran has considerable uranium reserves. Although Iran did not even rank on OECD's list of countries with reasonably assured uranium reserves (RAR), and even though Iranian reserves have not been fully mapped, Iran does have at least 10 uranium mines (according to public statements by the government). And, just two shafts in one mine alone in Saghand (near Yazd, in the middle of the dessert) has proven reserves of over 1.58 million metric tons of uranium ore, which translate into 842 Metric tons of uranium. This reserve alone (in Saghand) would rank Iran 27th on the OECD's list!

And then consider that 2 of the top ten nations with uranium reserves are in Central Asia. And Turkey is 15th on the same list. It really is not a far stretched to imagine that Iran might have substantial untapped reserves. No one can deny that and no one can take this resource away. It is a resource with economic value, in a world where uranium like other precious raw material is traded. So there will eventually be economic pressure to exploit these resources.

It's also interesting that before 1979 while the Shah reigned, France's sale of nuclear plants and technology to Iran was supported by the United States. The Shah had announced plans to build 30 nuclear power plants by the year 2000, with possible purchases from other European and U.S. manufacturers. Now the Russians are completing those same plants that were left unfinished (due to the revolution). And now suddenly it's not kosher.

But much like the uranium deposits, the existing installations won't go away. And isn't it ridiculous to consider that Iran with its own minerals, and with its own power plants will somehow send its uranium out to another country for enrichment for additional cost, and then buy it back for importation to use in its plants. Especially when the enrichment process is simple and well established.

Then there is this other simple truth that Iran's current economic growth rate will mean increased diversion of oil from exports for internal consumption. This of course will diminish Iran's foreign currency revenues. If this trend continues, much like the U.S. today, Iran will be a leading oil producer only to import more oil! So there is a logical case for diversifying energy production upon other natural resources the country has -- such as nuclear power based on Iranian uranium. A solution that the U.S. government has itself chosen in order to meet the electricity needs of the American people.

No one admits it in the U.S. media, but these are the simple truths. And focusing on whether or not Iran is, or will be, can be, or should be a 'nuclear club' country is simply misplaced. It's simply inevitable.

The issue, quite frankly is not Iran's nuclear future. The real issue is that somehow, the mullahs might cheat and instead of using their enrichment process to produce low-grade fuel for the plants, they might use it to produce high-grade fuel for bombs. This really is an indirect way of saying that no one has faith in Iran's government. Yes, it's the regime... stupid!

So why not do something about the regime -- instead of focusing on the nuclear issue? If they have no faith in Iran's government, then why do they have regular secret meetings with them, negotiate with them, and align with them to invade Afghanistan or Iraq? The U.S. should just come straight out and push for regime change, rather than impede Iran's nuclear future. Let's stop playing games.

If the U.S. and its allies go to the Security Council this summer and propose sanctions against Iran but leave the regime in place, it will be a real disservice to Iran and Iranians. The mullahs have withstood sanctions before. They will find a way to retain power and keep their grip on the nation.

Iranians clearly will need nuclear power, and have every reason to embrace it. A stable, democratic, secular, globally engaged Iran will be and can held accountable both domestically and internationally for its nuclear programs. The greatest deterrent to a nuclear disaster or nuclear abuse is democracy itself.

The mullahs have only served their personal interests. They would use any military capability to promote their private agenda of holding onto power at all costs. This is the same group that sent human waves and young children into battle and minefields during the Iran-Iraq war, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths. They have proven their zero regard for human life or dignity.

It is therefore more critical than ever before to accelerate regime change in Iran. Iran's nuclear future is inevitable. Tyranny is not. The sooner Iran's nuclear future is placed in responsible hands, the better off Iran and the world will be.

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To Jalil Bahar

Jalil Bahar



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