Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Iran Continues To Pursue A "Peaceful" Nuclear Program

A few days after talks with 5 other nuclear countries stalled, the Iranians have announced the opening of a new uranium-enrichment plant. This announcement came in what is celebrated as “National Nuclear Day” in Iran. The state run news agency in Iran announced that Iran is opening both a new uranium mine and a processing plant.  As always, the international community is very suspicious about this enrichment, while Iran claims it is acting well within its “nuclear rights” of using it for energy. 

"Enrichment is part of the rights of the Iranian people, whether we're talking about 5% or 20%," said Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili,. However, Arnie Gundersen, a chief energy adviser, said that the difference between 5 percent and 20 percent is exactly the difference between peaceful energy and weapons grade uranium.  The other substance that is needed to enrich uranium is what has been known as yellow cake, which is processed, mined uranium ore (pictured).

                                                         Substance known as yellow cake.

The other nuclear countries, which include the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia and Germany, will continue to impose sanctions on Iran and push for energy inspectors to be allowed access to all of Iran’s facilities. However, Iran continues is stubborn agenda towards the international community, which only makes the standoff much worse. 

One of the big worries of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons (besides the obvious threat to Israel) is what would happen to them in the event of a regime change. Would the nuclear weapons be secure, or could they fall into the hands of those that have the motivation to actually use them, from anything to Israel to terrorism. This fear, along with the questionable regime and an unstable region, could add up to action by the international community if Iran continues its “rogue” nuclear program, be it for peaceful energy or something much more sinister.

Sources: http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/09/world/meast/iran-nuclear/index.html?hpt=wo_c2


  1. The U.S. is "the big bully" that is keeping other countries from having nuclear firepower. But lets really look at the fact that if Iran gets this power we know exactly what country those nukes will be pointed at (Israel). It will be a disastrous future if Iran sneaks a nuclear program past the international community. Hopefully Iran is just pursuing an energy alternative, but energy inspectors should not have any kind of issues understanding what is going on behind the curtains.

  2. I disagree with Shaw about the US being a "big bully" when it comes to nuclear energy. All of the countries that Josh listed who currently use nuclear energy to power a portion of their country are very transparent in their actions. In the US, we clearly and transparency allow the rest of the world to know where our nuclear power plants exist and the status of such plants. As we saw in Japan a few years back, nuclear energy is a complicated and dangerous thing to work with and natural disasters can place a lot of stress on not only the people of that country living near the nuclear plant but also lasting impacts of the rest of the world. If Iran were truly focusing on "peaceful" nuclear programs to fuel the country's need for energy then there would be no reason not to allow the international community to have information about their program as most other nuclear nations do. We do not live in an isolated world. Nuclear energy can have lasting impacts for all of the world's citizens if not handled properly. John, I think your attention to what would happen to the nuclear program in the case of a regime change is quite interesting because with the instability in the MENA region it is quite possible that the current ruling regime in Iran doesn't last as long as predicted before the Arab Spring.