Rouhani’s Nuclear Thoughts in 2006

Now that Rouhani is the President of Iran, we’re all trying to figure out exactly who he is and what his views are on the nuclear issue, and that makes his prior writing and speeches on the subject quite important. Here is a very insightful piece he wrote for Time magazine in 2006. I really encourage you to read the whole thing. I find it very thoughtful and well expressed. I think you can see his legal training coming through in his thought process – which of course I like. Here’s an excerpt:

Iran is not accused of having the bomb. There are no indications that Iran has a nuclear weapon program. If Iran were to have a weapons program, the alarmists in the U.S. and Israel have reportedly said that it would take at least another seven to ten years for Iran to make the bomb. What is often cited by American officials as 20 years of Iranian secret nuclear military program turned out to be, as declared by the IAEA, nothing more than the failure to declare, in a timely manner, some experiments and receiving some material and equipment. Such failures to declare are not uncommon among the NPT members. Remedial steps are envisioned in the Safeguards Agreement to address them, and Iran has done so. Moreover, it was no secret that we were in the European, Russian and Asian markets to purchase enrichment technology in the late ’80s and ’90s. Therefore, an Iranian secret weapon program is only hype, and the sense of urgency about Iran’s nuclear program is rather tendentious. The world should not allow itself to be dragged into another conflict on false pretenses in this region again.

Iran is intent on producing nuclear fuel domestically for reasons both historic and long-term economic. The U.S. and some Europeans argue that they cannot trust Iran’s intentions. They argue that they cannot accept Iran’s promise to remain committed to its treaty obligation once it gains the capability to enrich uranium for fuel production. They ask Iran to give up its right under the NPT, and instead accept their promise to supply it with nuclear fuel. This is illogical and crudely self-serving: I do not trust you, even though what you are doing is legal and can be verified to remain legal, but you must trust me when I promise to do that which I have no obligation to do and cannot be enforced. It is this simple and this unfair. There must be a better way out of this than to top this travesty with threatening Iran in the Security Council with possible sanctions and perhaps even use of force. This path can potentially cause harm and suffering at differing degrees to all parties to the conflict.


2 Comments on “Rouhani’s Nuclear Thoughts in 2006”

  1. Don Bacon says:

    I do not trust you, even though what you are doing is legal and can be verified to remain legal, but you must trust me when I promise to do that which I have no obligation to do and cannot be enforced.

    Ayatollah Khamenei made a similar argument on March 21:

    I would say, we have told you many times that we are not after nuclear weapons and you say that you do not believe us. Why would we believe your statements then? When you are not prepared to accept a rational and sincere statement, why would we accept your statements which have been disproved many times?

    We’re dealing with illogical positions because nuclear is a bogus issue, the real issue being ME hegemony. Iran has it and the US wants it.

  2. Christian D'trich says:

    Interesting piece over at AlJazeera on Rouhani’s nuclear credentials and who’s ‘really’ to blame for the nuclear ‘issue’ being an issue to begin with. Not entirely one-sided. To some extent, it strikes me as one possible political extension of the argument you tend to make, Dan.

    Might this go a bit too far though? ‘The Iranian nuclear crisis is no crisis at all. It is a fabricated issue, a red herring, instigated by Israel and its Zionist propagandists in US and Europe to distract attention from their systematic thievery of Palestine.’

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