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Do we really need nuclear technology?
And why such secrecy and lack of transparency if Iran's intentions are peaceful?



G. Rahmanian
September 12, 2006

In "Nuclear IQ" Daniel M. Pourkesali defends Iran's entitlement to uranium enrichment activities. He puts forward arguments that are seemingly valid and has provided some of the articles from the NPT to prove his point. In doing so, he tries to whitewash the threats of a nuclear Iran, and is apparently under the impression that the regime's efforts to enrich uranium are simply aimed at developing peaceful nuclear technology. He also accuses the mainstream mass media in the West of misinformation and biased reporting with regrad to this issue.

Is he an insider? Does he get his information on the matter from sources that others are not aware of? It was interesting to read the part he mentions pertaning to the role of the mass media in brainwashing the people in the West. Pourkesali should know that it is not always the reporting that is to blame, but it is the way we tend to perceive things that determines our reactions to any kind of reporting.

It is our ideological persuasions or simply our views of the world affairs that are responsible for the way we interpret the information we receive. These views or convictions are formed by the amount of knowledge we possess concrning a particular subject and our knowledge is derived from many sources part of which is called the "mass media."

In the case of the ongoing standoff over Iran's nuclear program, all those belonging to the "expanding circle" -- ordinary people -- have to rely on the information that is released by the "inner circle"-officials involved. And one cannot claim to be more knowledgeable about this or any other issue merely on the basis of his/her interpretation of the information.

Here is what he refers to as part of the Western propagnda:

"Iran refuses to suspend its uranium enrichment activity, which can produce among other things, the material for atomic bombs. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is for generating electricity but the West believes Iran wants to make nuclear weapons."

He could have explained how else he would have worded this piece of news that would not have offended any side? But after only saying it was biased reporting he decided to go on to a different topic.

And here is what the IAEA has reported on 31August 2006. In part G. Summary, the last part of the report, it reads as follows:

"28. Iran has not addressed the long outstanding verification issues or provided the necessary transparency to remove uncertainties associated with some of the activities. Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities; nor has Iran acted in accordance with the provisions of the additional protocol.

29. The Agency will continue to pursue its investigation of all remaining outstanding issues relevant to Iran's nuclear activities. However, the agency remains unable to make further progress in its efforts to verify the correctness of Iran's declaration with a view to confirming the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme. The director general will continue to report as appropriate."

Now, let's see how this was interprted by a senior Iranian nuclear official, Mohammad Saeedi. According to BBC, 6 Sep. '06, Mohammad Saeedi said, "The report backed up Tehran's claim that it was pursuing a peaceful nuclear program." Amazing! Could Pourkesali kindly tell us whether Saeedi is telling the truth or not without relating this particular statement to any other issues. And why would an official choose to give a false account of the content of this important document at such a crucial juncture?

In his letter, Pourkesali emphasizes the NPT articles while discounting the threat of a nuclear Iran as sheer propaganda and fabrication. The issue here is not whether Iran has the prerogative to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, the issue is that the Iranian officials are not being trusted. He deliberately ignores this extremely consequential factor, otherwise he would have mentioned something about the position of the U.S. and the EU countries that are against Iran becoming a nuclear power.

He needs to pay closer attention to the threatening tone of the Iranian leaders and the warmongering rhetoric coming out of Iran. What is being said these days about wiping out Israel and conquering "Ghods" may be dismissed as insubstantial slogans by most Iranians, but the rest of the concerned world is certainly disturbed by the use of such language. They find these statements alarming. They see a nuclear Iran as a danger to its neighbors and other countries in the region. And they do not see this kind of rhetoric as independent of the mentality to possess and use nuclear weapons. These are plausible threats that are rooted in the history of Iran after 1979, which began with the idea to export the "Islamic Revolution."

He is certainly aware that the nuclear activities of Iran were kept secret for years and neither the people of Iran nor other signatories to NPT knew anything about those activities until they were exposed by some MEK members. Pakistan's Abdolghadir Khaun's connection was hardly any indication of the peacefulness of such activities. Also the link that exists between the military in Iran and the research centers are of dubious nature. Why such secrecy and lack of transparency if Iran's intentions are peaceful?

Similar to what Pourkesali has done, the Iranian side only argues Iran's right under NPT to be involved in activities condusive to developing enriched uranium for peaceful purposes. They do not seem to be listening to what the other side has to say about the threat that Iran poses to its neighbors. The deadlock is the result of such one-sidedness. How "voluntary" Iran's decisions have been so far can be understood in the context of the secrecry of their activities and the lack of transparancy stated in the IAEA's latest report.

It is important to note that, many European countries (more than a dozen) are in fact purchasing the fuel they need for their already existing nuclear reactors from other countries in the market. Also the fuel for the nuclear reactor the Russians are building in Iran will be supplied by Russia. When a country such as Germany is considering to rid itself of its own nuclear reactors because of the danger they pose, both environmentally and to the people, and are looking at other options, why would Iran, a technologically backward country, want to start building them?

Pourkesali also alludes to the historical fact that atomic bombs were used by the U.S. on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to subdue Japan's Imperial forces. What is missing here are the events that led to such decision. Of course, a lesson in history would have been beyond the scope of his letter.

However, referring to historical facts is one thing and having a thorough grasp of those facts is another. Seeing his immoderate enthusiam vis-a-vis Iran's enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, I doubt Pourkesali is serious about rights and privileges or the breaches by any side. I can only detect another case of misplaced pride by an Iranian individual.

No one in the right mind would condone the use of nuclear weapons. At the same time, in order to argue for or against a historical issue such as the use of atomic bombs that ended the Second World War, one needs to be well-versed in the historical facts and examine the exact causes of such catastrophes in their proper contexts.

The figure Pourkesali provides-214,000 dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki-is a very tiny fraction (0.003%) of the total number of deaths in the Second World War which stands at about 63,000,000. But, are we concerned with statistics here? All efforts, in my view, must be directed toward denuclearization of all the countries involved and the world at large, and not toward adding another name to the list of the countries possessing nuclear technology. Comment


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