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August 05, 2003

Chernobyl, Harrisburg, Hiroshima ... Bushehr
Kaveh Khodjasteh  [info|posts]

chernobyl1_gif.jpgI was shocked for a few seconds after hearing that a bunch of Sharif University Students supported Iran's nuclear programme by writing a letter to the Iranian president [in Persian]. It is alleged that the letter is signed by many elite figures (yeah right) and winners of medals in international scientific competitions.

After dismissing Iran's oil and gas resources as a source of energy, the letter insists that most countries are trying alternative sources of energy, most importantly the nuclear energy and that Iran has to do the same, even under the international pressure that is mounting against it. In the end it wishes for honour, prosperity and freedom [independece] for Iran.

I love my country and really want to see her people prosper. I also think that those enemies of the Iranian government that have been spying and clamouring on Iran's nuclear threat are simply traitors to Iran's people and resources, but from a less emotional point of view, let me distance myself from those "elite" students:

Energy crisis? I would say major environmental crisis! With the degree of discipline in effect in Iranian organizations, leakage or even meltdown is simply a matter of time, should Iran have a large-scale "working" nuclear plant. Who would then be responsible for the unfading damage that would be done to the most precious resource in Iran, its people? Do these "elite" students know about the untold effects of nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl? That it is still taking its toll on the genetic material of the children of its victims? Take note that besides the US, Canada and the UK * most of western countries are either closing down or down-scaling their nuclear facilities, just because it is not worth the risk.

Yes, the technological expertise obtained in the process of building a nuclear plant might be unique, but not when someone else (Russia) manufactures it as a black box that eats enriched uranium and produces electric power and nuclear waste. I should say that there are many safer ways of education.

Besides, let these students think about the political dangers that have made the path to nuclear energy a diplomatic minefield for the Iranian government. It is not surprising that traditional enemies of the Iranian government are all accusing Iran of trying to obtain nuclear weapons through its nuclear plants. They all see this as a firm grip on the back of war-drivers in the US adminstration. Looking inward and considering the capital and energy already allocated to the Bushehr nuclear plant, these "elite" students should think twice before seeking to encourage its destruction the other way round. Aren't they encouraging a worthless confrontation?

* All the three countries incidentally having easy access to vast amounts of water.

yahya at August 5, 2003 08:03 PM [permalink]:

Students who signed that petition have acted quite irresponsibly. They simply supported a policy that could be very destructive Iran. But I believe that most of them where not presented with facts(such as the concern of international community about military use, lack of economical justification of atomic energy for Iran, and the deal about the additional protocol, lack transparency by Iranian government). They simply thought they were signing an innocent petition about supporting Iran's right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purpose.

Grand Vizier at August 5, 2003 08:05 PM [permalink]:

Not thinking about what they did doesn't make them innocent.

yaser kerachian at August 5, 2003 11:25 PM [permalink]:

Those who have signed the letter are indirectly supporting US military attack to Iran and nothing else. The problem is that some us would never want to believe that US is a superpower and our country has no power to face US. Sorry, but we should believe that we are nothing. Not joining NPT means sooner or later US or Isreal would destroy our nuclear power plant. Then why all the effort to build it??

Pouria at August 6, 2003 12:16 AM [permalink]:

A more serious long term concern for Iran is that if the present regime does eventually develop nuclear weapons it will become more firmly established.

Niayesh at August 6, 2003 01:22 AM [permalink]:

You know, this looks more like a set up by the right wing parties (or their associates) which seeks to immitate our letter to Khatami. How could there be exactly 500 endorsers, not one more, not one less?

anonymous at August 6, 2003 03:11 AM [permalink]:

The dillema about this power plants is very bitter.... we have made these mistakes a lot through history
I think you do live in west so you should have felt what I mean ..
You need to control people, to shape people,because you wish them luck and Salvation, and you dare to know - religion, science ,your intelligence gives you the right to decide for other .

You choose two ways :

to make them satisfied,and to make them satisfied you should make them as stupid as you can, this is what is happening in west, and in U.S. supported countries (american Model , american life)

to suppress them,to avoid any kind of facilities they need , and to make them beg for what is their right ( this is what is happening in colonized countries , named as english model) Of course in this model you also want to salvate people !! The only thing is that you think you can only salvate them by making them poor, humiliated , uneducated. Because these slaves, monkeys, lower race , whatever will not thank God for the extra gifts they are given and they will ruin it !

There are also two ways to gain power for a system :
1. Power coming from people's , that power can not be broken ,conquered. Look at Vietnam !
2. Power coming from technology, power plants,armies ..

Yess Yaser , you are right. Without People we are nothing. With People we are everything. Vietnam could stand against U.S. , and Iraq couldn't... Because Vietnam had Houshimin and Iraq had Saddam..

I don't know the intention of politicians : I can imagine that this debate could be an opportuinity to break the bans U.S. has imposed upon us. But on the other hand i am frightened that such technologies dares the politicians to think they can bypass people's need and request, because they are powerful enough..and in that respect they will do the same mistake shah did.Shah had the fifth great army in the world ... but he failed , just because he didn't listen to his own people, although he wanted them comfort and happiness. but lack of participation and navigation cannot make them happy.

I can only pray , to ask for a bit of wisedom, for a bit of knowledge. and I can only wait, by protesting, by writing even as a comment here , even if I am ignored , I can only wait for the presence of the absent by not acknowledging whatecver suppression in whatever name happens, if my blood is the price , let my blood and my meat feed these wolves, maybe by eating it they could be nearer to humanity , they could be forgiven ....

Ghazal at August 6, 2003 11:07 AM [permalink]:

does anybody know any of the students on the list?
May be we can contact one of them and ask why on earth they did it. I could imagine
for some reason they like the nuclear plant project to continue working but I don't see
the necessity that has made them to write the letter. if it is about signing the new
protocol, the reason about not signing the protocol in this situation seems irrelevant
since the new protocol is not about stopping the plant if I remember right.

Hooman at August 6, 2003 11:21 AM [permalink]:

These 'brilliant' student should be awarded for keeping their eyes and minds closed. Nuclear energy may be hip among the third world countries, but other countries are phasing it out, since it has more damaging impact to the environment than fossil fuels than the maintenance of nuclear plants proved to be skyrocketing after 10-15 years.

Germany has already set a date to phase out its plants altogether.

Onatrio is thinking about alternatives.

US is arguing over switching to other alternatives too.

Yashar at August 6, 2003 11:27 AM [permalink]:

has anyone seen a list of the signatories to this notorious letter? i agree with Niyayesh's guess. on the issue of nuclear plants, i think it can be justified econimically, (i'm not saying that they're not seeking weapons - i dont know about that) even 'the economist' thinks it makes sense as a alternative energy source for iran. but i also believe that it is not probably worth the risk, and the greater risk i think, is what kaveh has mentioned: the risk of an iranian Chernobyl. the risk of posing a threat to US and israel is only secondary to this i believe.

Niayesh at August 6, 2003 12:30 PM [permalink]:

The list of the signatories is on the same link
in Kaveh's note.

Grand Vizier at August 6, 2003 01:26 PM [permalink]:

I happen to know a couple of the people on the list, PhD candidates at Physics. I wasn't surprised to find their names there.

yahya at August 6, 2003 02:24 PM [permalink]:

Ali Mostashari has written a nice article about pros and cons of Iranian nuclear program in "Iran Analysis Quarterly" published by MIT Iranian Studies Group. He concludes that it is unwise for Iranian national interest to pursue such a strategy.

S.S. at August 6, 2003 11:40 PM [permalink]:

Is there anybody there who can guarantee that Israel wouldn't nuke Iran in the next 10 years or so?!! I think Iran should have a plan to get nuclear "weapon" not just nuclear energy. Once you get it, everybody becomes quite!

Coward at August 7, 2003 12:40 AM [permalink]:

The_fact is that the_only_country that has_used nuclear_weapons before is US, and the_only_country who got_nuked was Japan, and that was during the_final_stages of a world_war. S.S., are you saying that Iran and Israel are going to be in war in 10 years if Iran does not have a nuclear_weapon? Is israel going to share borders with Iran then, or the war could be over some non-land issues? Unless you have some grand_plans_for_Iran_vs_Israel, I do_not see how your_scenario is gonaa happen. i.e., the_chance of Iran getting nuked during the attempt to obtain the nuke is much higher.

anonymous at August 7, 2003 02:40 AM [permalink]:

The fact is that fundamentalism needs blood to survive,in whatever name,Zionism, or Alquaeda... brutality is what they need to face....!Read 1984 scenario. a scenario written for our region, re edited and colored with religion, race.That is something which just exists! Just look, why non of you ever asks about Israel's power plant ..Israel didn't sign any treaty. Why ? Are they so democratic, or are Arabs so wild, as Indians were . and we should be proud just because we are not Arab enough , dirty enough so the gate of great civilization is still open for us !We-should-be-ashamed-to-hide-the-other-half-of-truth-by-declaring-or-shaouting-the-other-half-of-truth-In-court-you-swear-to-tell-the-truth-all-the-truth-even-hiding-half-of-it-is-a-form-of-lie-until-when-United-states-has-a-dual-policy-in-the-region-turmoil-won't-stop-brutality-will-not-end-This-is-a-trick-for-those-who-want-to-write-more-than-100-words!

Saeed at August 8, 2003 12:53 AM [permalink]:

US to hold secret meeting on developing 'mini-nukes'. You may find this link interesting:
[Modified by author, long urls cause breaking of the main page, sorry!]

Coward at August 8, 2003 02:53 AM [permalink]:

The main threat for Iran on nuclear weapons is US and not Israel. First, Iran does not (and will not have) ways to target US. But US can do it in many ways, and without fear of retaliation.
If Iran gets the nuke, it is not about Israel or
US or Muslim world, but, it simply gives Iran more diplomacy power at the end, the same way that N. Korea, Pakistan and India have now. Having said this, I still think it will be more beneficial to Iran if they spend more time and resources for non nuclear military purposes, perhaps non miltary purposes.
I think neither of the aforementioned countries who gained the nuke tech are a good model for the future of Iran. Even if they really want to do so, they should join NPT and develop it under international scrutiny, that is, they should demonstrate to the world that they have the technical/intelligence/military power to develop and deploy the nuke even under all the problems.

Joe Katzman at August 8, 2003 03:07 PM [permalink]:

S.S. is making a big - possibly fatal - mistake. Iran's possession of nuclear weapons would RAISE, SHARPLY, the odds of nuclear weapons being used against Iran, by Israel. These odds would be low, but they'd be there. And it could happen over something as stupid as an accident.

Rafsanjani has (in a feat of amazing idiocy) already threatened to use Iranian weapons against Israel, and said he could accept the retaliation because Iran would die but Islam would live. That can't be ignored. What it means is that Iranian possession of nuclear weapons forces Israel into a hair-trigger mode. Travel time for missiles is short, the country is very small, and so there is no margin for error. For Israel, it's "use them or lose them" once the alert is given.

Now, contemplate further that the USA and Soviet Union both had false alerts during the cold war. Neither pressed the trigger, because they both had countries large enough, and spread-out facilities secure enough, that they b elieved they could afford to wait and be sure. As I've noted, Israel does not have that luxury.

Imagine that one day the "Green Pine" radars of Israel pick up a set of Iranian missiles launching on a trajectory toward Israel. Let's imagine that this happens during a period of considerable tension for some other reason, so everyone is already on edge. Finally, let's imagine it's really a glitch of some kind, a mistake.

The Israelis now have minutes to decide - and if they decide the wrong way, we just kissed how many million Iranians goodbye (and most of Israel in the ensuing retaliation) for a software glitch? At that point, the excuse of "but having nuclear missiles made Iranians feel better, and gave us a sense of power" will be rather cold comfort, no?

Is a false sense of foolish pride really worth placing all Iranians under that risk?

Now, you may note that Israel has these weapons, why doesn't the same logic apply to them? Of course, it does. They have nuclear weapons because they believe, with good reason, that losing a war means their wholesale murder and destruction anyway. If you're already playing for annihilation stakes, nuclear weapons can't raise them any further.

Iran is NOT playing for those stakes now. Even if it declared war on the U.S.A. it wouldn't be playing for those stakes. But if it gets nuclear weapons, it would be.

I haven't even brought the U.S. reaction into play, or the possible response of Russia to having its own cities in range of Iranian missiles. On regional grounds alone, possession of nuclear arms by Iran endangers Iranians more than it makes them secure.

I see too many people treating these weapons like they're some kind of game, or an expensive toy like buying a Ferrari or something. It isn't just a game, and they aren't just toys. The only things being played with here are the lives of Iranians.

The only way to win that game, is not to play in the first place.

Pinocchio at August 17, 2003 07:08 AM [permalink]:

By the way, I love that letter, because it was some how the first time that an answer was given to a letter by another letter. I hope it was not the last of this kind and I hope they understood that they can play in this way. I wish some gain (rewards) for them to encourage this action.