nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Iran’s nuclear programme was created by America

Born In The USA: How America Created Iran’s Nuclear Program, npr, STEVE INSKEEP, 18 Sept 15  “……..”The Iranian nuclear program has deep roots. In fact, it is four years older than President Obama,” says Ali Vaez, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Iran. Vaez grew up in Iran, which means the nuclear program is a personal story for him.

“It started in 1957,” he says, “and ironically, it is a creation of the United States. The U.S. provided Iran with its first research reactor — a nuclear reactor, a 5-megawatt nuclear reactor that is still functioning and still operational in Tehran.”

The U.S. built that nuclear reactor on the campus ofTehran University. It also provided Iran with fuel for that reactor — weapons-grade enriched uranium.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was part of President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peaceprogram, an initiative to provide countries with peaceful, civilian nuclear technologies in the hope that they wouldn’t pursue military nuclear programs.

The beneficiaries included Israel, India, Pakistan — and Iran, then ruled by a U.S.-backed monarch, Shah Reza Pahlavi.

Under the program, many countries received what Iran did: their own small reactors, their own dollops of fuel. But, says Vaez, “as a result of the oil boom of the 1970s, that [Iranian] nuclear program morphed into a full-fledged civilian nuclear program.”

The Iranians had money to exploit the knowledge they were given, and to develop scientific minds. Iran provided the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a $20 million endowment in the 1970s to train Iranian nuclear scientists, Vaez says.

“The majority of people who returned to the country and started running the nuclear program were trained at MIT,” he notes.

The trainees have been central to Iran’s nuclear program ever since.

There was a moment in the 1970s when American officials thought they might be making a mistake. They feared Iran would become one of the nations seeking nuclear weapons.

U.S. diplomats began negotiating to limit Iran’s nuclear program. They ran into a problem familiar to diplomats today: Iran under the shah insisted it had the same right to nuclear power as any nation.

“The shah famously said that unless it was clear Iran was not being treated as a second-class country, he would look for alternative vendors and he would not work with U.S. companies to acquire nuclear technology for Iran.”

Iran bought nuclear plants from West Germany and France. The research reactor at Tehran University kept working. And then the campus became famous for something else.

After the shah was overthrown in 1979, under the new Islamist government led byAyatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, thousands of people gathered at the university every Friday and angled their prayer mats toward Mecca.

“Tehran University is at the epicenter of Friday prayer ceremonies,” Vaez says. “And [it] is also infamously known to be [the] epicenter of ‘Death to America’ chants that are heard every Friday during the prayer ceremonies.”

The clerics in power did not initially embrace the country’s existing nuclear infrastructure, Vaez says.

“In many ways, Iran’s nuclear program encapsulates Iran’s struggle with modernity,” he says. “During the shah’s time, it was the symbol of the country’s march towards modernity. After the revolution, it came to symbolize the kind of rapid modernization that was riddled with corruption and ‘West-toxification.'”

“West-toxification” was a term Iran created and used to denote pernicious Western influence that was to be rejected.

“Ayatollah Khomeni famously said the unfinished nuclear power plants in Bushehrshould be used as silos to store wheat,” says Vaez. Ultimately, “they were abandoned as a costly Western imposition on an oil-rich nation.”

This attitude lasted into the 1980’s. But by then, Iran was fighting a brutal war against neighboring Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein. As part of that war, Saddam repeatedly bombed the Bushehr nuclear facility, which was not operational at the time.

The war, which lasted from 1980 to 1988, also created severe power shortages in Iran.

Eventually, Iran’s leaders decided to revive the nuclear program, though the precise reason was not clear…….

Iran has consistently denied that it wants a weapon, though the U.S. and many others argue otherwise. In the early 2000s, Iran offered to discuss the future of its nuclear program. It even reached a deal with European powers. But the U.S. under Bush did not sign on. The efforts to reach a deal fell apart, and Iran began building thousands of centrifuges that are used to enrich uranium.

Ali Vaez says at this point, the meaning of Iran’s nuclear program was “mutating.” Iran under Khomeini had rejected the program as a symbol of the corrupt West — but now, more than a decade after his death, it was becoming a symbol of Iran’s defiance of the West……http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/09/18/440567960/born-in-the-u-s-a-how-america-created-irans-nuclear-program

September 18, 2015 - Posted by | history, Iran

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: