Nukes for Iran: A Legitimate Right of the People?

The officials of the Islamic Republic (I.R.) of Iran have mentioned, time and again, that “the Iranian nation has a legitimate right to enrich uranium.”  But every day, the Iranian “people” ask: is it viable and beneficial for a nation rich in oil and gas reserves to produce electricity by way of nuclear fission and to store enriched uranium for numerous nuclear power plants that do not exist but will possibly be built in the future, as claimed by the regime? 

Iranian oil reserves are estimated at 157 million barrels, the fourth largest in the world, and its gas reserves are second in the world, with over 33 trillion cubic meters.  The Iranian petroleum industry was a very effective organization before the Islamic revolution in 1979, with production under the monarchical government exceeding 6 million barrels/day, about three times the current level.  Now international sanctions have ravaged the Iranian economy and oil industry, which provide about 90 percent of the country’s hard currencies.  As long as the Islamic regime insists that its nuclear activities are peaceful but does not allow official international verification, the international community will continue to keep the core of sanctions intact.  With the huge amount of fossil fuel available, especially natural gas, why is the Islamic regime pursuing nuclear energy?

The only existing nuclear power station in Iran is located in southern Iran, in the Persian Gulf coastal city of Bushehr.  After more than 36 years and a cost of over $12 billion, it is still in the hands of Russian contractors to be completed.  According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, this would be one of the world’s most expensive reactors.  However, the Bushehr station would produce only 2% of the electricity the country needs.  Therefore, Iran would need 49 more Bushehr-like reactors with a cost of more than $588 billion and many more years of construction before the I.R. could produce enough electricity for the whole country, and this estimate doesn’t even take into account the annual increase of the Iranian population and international inflation.  Incredibly, at the present time, over 15 percent of Iran’s generated electricity, mainly produced by burning fossil fuels, is lost through obsolete and poorly maintained transmission lines, the result of poor management and corruption within the system.  Therefore, is it logical to insist on enriching uranium?  That is, unless clergymen are dreaming about possession of nuclear bombs.  A history of hiding sensitive nuclear activity from U.N. inspectors has raised international suspicions for a long time that the I.R. is after something beyond producing electricity.

The I.R. insists on the need to diversify the economy and prepare the country for the inevitable depletion of its oil wealth.  Further, it has showcased time and again that “atomic achievement is the Iranian citizens’ desire and legitimately so; the Islamic government must meet their new and ever-increasing wishes.”  And when the traditional commodities “oil and gas” are no more, should the I.R. not strive to meet the necessities of their people?  The I.R. insists that it then has no choice but to search for access to a new, reliable, diversified, and secure source of atomic energy.  Further, the I.R. argues that access to atomic technology and possession of 190,000 centrifuges in motion would also be a cause of pride for Iranians.  Do they not know that the safest, most reliable, and most secure sources of energy that the modern world is aiming for are solar, wind, wave, geothermal, and other renewable sources, of which the Plateau of Iran offers plenty?  As for pride, according to International Amnesty statistics, Iran proportionally has the highest number of executions year after year.  There is no pride in that.

However, all evidence, including nineteen years of clandestine development and black-market purchases, indicates the ostensibly peaceful nuclear weapons would endow the I.R. with the same power of blackmail that North Korea wielded so adroitly to extort aid and concessions from the free world.  Except in this case, the I.R. would become the nuclear godfather of the oil-rich Middle East.  As radical as the Islamist regime in Iran is, if it gains nuclear weapons, it will likely stop at nothing in its aims.  One can imagine the very immense need for concern should the world’s leading state sponsor of Islamic terrorism develops nuclear weapons!  The great threat the I.R. poses to the free, civilized world of the West and to the U.S., if it develops nuclear weapons, is practically immeasurable.  Thus, this may well be the most significant issue in the battle against terrorism.

The enrichment of uranium is not a legitimate right of a theocratic Islamofascistic regime whose nuclear program is a design for ideological expansion and not electrical needs, as the regime falsely claims.  The nuclear program advocated by clergy in Tehran is an agenda for Shiite hegemony rather than a means of enhancing the well-being of the Iranian people.  The legitimate right of the Iranian nation is respect for and upholding of human rights as practiced daily in the free world.

In Iran today, criticism of the I.R. is unlawful, making one subject to immediate arrest and in most cases execution.  Denial of a fair public trial, denial of freedom of speech, denial of freedom of assembly and association, denial of freedom of religion, denial of freedom of political participation, denial of principles of international law and conduct, and invasion of homes and privacy of the Iranian people are the basic criteria of the Islamic Republic.

Practically any basic human rights that are recognized in the civilized world are denied in Iran.  In the last twenty months, under the supposed “moderate” era of elected President Hassan Rouhani, numerous dissidents, writers, publishers, and even poets have been arrested, tortured, and condemned, with many found dead on false charges that would be the equivalent of merely expressing opinions.

Those who question the views of Islamic clergymen are labeled enemies of Islam with links to imperialism.  People are repeatedly warned by the regime that anybody intentionally ridiculing the doctrinaire ruling group would be considered an enemy of Islam and an infidel; therefore, his properties must be confiscated, and he must killed.

Furthermore, under the rule of the regime since 1979, Iran, as a member of the Charter of the United Nations, has systematically violated nearly every provision of these institutions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  I.R. officials have openly opted to ridicule the concept of universal human rights; they brand the principle of human rights a tool of Western imperialism.  This regime was established for the purpose of destruction and genocide, a regime in which unjust persecutions and executions are everyday business, where terrorists train to murder innocent people.

Lack of freedom, injustice, deprivation, tyranny, abuse, indignity, oppression of women, and disregard for human rights are foundations of this regime, practiced daily.  These problems are imposed on the Iranian people by their own tyrannical and oppressive government.  Were they to resist, they would suffer the same fate as the people of Iraq and Syria at the hands of ISIS.

Mansour Kashfi, Ph.D.  He is president of Kashex International Petroleum Consulting and is a college professor in Dallas, TX.  He is also author of more than 100 articles and books about petroleum industry worldwide.  mkashfi@tx.rr.com