A few years away
Are we closer than ever in developing The Bomb?

March 14. 2003
The Iranian

Since the explosion of the first nuclear bomb in Hiroshima in the 1940s and the witnessing of the sheer devastating power of this weapon, nations around the globe are in pursuit of acquiring this weapon. Iran is certainly among many nations who has joined this race.

In the early 1970s the Shah of Iran, backed by the Soviet feared United States, started the Iranian nuclear program. The Shah sent many of the country's "brains" who specialised in nuclear physics to the West. Contracts were signed with KWU of Germany and Alsthom in France to build four nuclear power reactors, a precursor to developing the "bomb".

The Shah also signed a follow-on MoU with France in 1975, to build a nuclear research centre in Isfahan, complete with two research reactors. In all, he had devised a plan to build as many as twenty nuclear power stations across the country.

After the 1979 revolution, Iranian nuclear scientists were encouraged to return home with promises of lucrative salaries. In 1986, Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, Dr. Abdel Qader Khan, secretly visited Bushehr, opening early collaborations of both countries in developing Iran's nuclear program.

It is believed that in 1987, Pakistan signed a nuclear co-operation agreement with Iran that involved the training of Iranian nuclear physicists at the Institute for Nuclear Sciences and Technology in Islamabad, and at the Nuclear Studies Institute in Nowlore.

In the early 1990s, China and Iran signed a second nuclear co-operation agreement that is believed to have called for the construction of a 27 MW plutonium production reactor in Isfahan. Since then, Iran has been reported to have the collaboration of China, Pakistan, Russia and North Korea in both knowledge or equipment of making a nuclear plant or a nuclear weapon.

On the brink of war with Iraq news has emerged that Iran is in the process of enriching uranium, an active ingredient in making of a nuclear bomb. While futile measures and resources are spent in Iraq, a country with a defunct army and limited resources, Westerners are fearing that Iran, who has had twelve years of building it's military may be much closer to acquiring nuclear weapons.

The presence of variable range surface to surface missile within the Iranian arsenal of weapons has made this threat more worrisome. Iran's sudden invasion by Iraq as well as the presence of nuclear armed neighbours in the region has prompted the Iranian government to acquire a competent nuclear arsenal.

It is estimated that as early as few years, Iran will join the elite nuclear armed countries around the world.


Dr. Etminan is a pharmaceutical researcher in Montreal, Canada

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