Monday, September 22, 2008

Anatomy of the Current Conflict over Iran’s Nuclear Program

(843 words)

By Joseph Gerson

Iran’s nuclear program has a complex history. It began in the 1950s with President Eisenhower’s offer of training and technologies as part of his Atoms for Peace program, when it was widely believed that nuclear power could produce electricity “too cheap to meter.” In 1974, the Shah of Iran stated his belief that Iran’s oil reserves would eventually be depleted, and with German help initiated plans for the construction of the Bushehr nuclear reactor.

Building on the Nixon Doctrine, in which Iran became an enforcer of U.S. interests in the Middle East, in 1974 President Ford offered to build a nuclear reprocessing plant capable of producing plutonium at Bushehr. At the time, Dick Cheney was President Ford’s Chief of Staff, and Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense. Following Iran’s “Islamic Revolution”, the U.S. and several European nations ceased nuclear cooperation with Iran, and Ayatollah Khomeini’s government suspended the nuclear program as an unnecessary continuation of the Shah’s policies.

Today, Iran’s nuclear program includes ...[for the full text, contact]

Dr. Joseph Gerson is Director of Programs of the American Friends Service Committee in New England.

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