The United States Helped Iran Set up Its Nuclear Program

This article below is from ABC Radio National Australia.  I felt inspired to check Iran.

My question:  How can the United States cite nuclear weapons programs as a threat when it is responsible for selling nuclear reactors? (in addition – in the case below in awareness of a nuclear weapons program).

In the case below they were aware of the research into a nuclear weapons program when Iran was an ally. So it seems nuclear weapons are okay if an ally if an enemy not okay. This is what happens when commercial interests infiltrate government policymaking. What the United States has to do is have a clear separation between business interests and governance. It is a similar idea to the Separations of Powers Doctrine in the Westminster system of government.  This is governance whereby the Bureaucracy, the Executive (elected representatives) and Judiciary (all courts are independent) are separated so checks and balances are in place. This is to prevent corruption and nepotism keeping the pillars of government independent so they work in the highest interests of the people they represent. If they overlap we get politicisation or interference of government bureaucratic agencies/departments and the judiciary (politically appointed Judges with specific leanings).  This is how democracy is subverted and dictatorship quietly slips in under the mask of national interests.  Citizens and employees of government have to be vigilant and able to whistleblow when corruption is clearly happening. They have to be protected.

It seems the United States in its own strategy to expand its corporate interests is creating security problems in the world when it doesn’t like the current regime.  What has to happen from a peace perspective is that they have to approach international relations from only the perspective of the national interest of its citizens (not special interests) and ensure diplomacy has no vested interests.  That they have a blueprint of engagement with other nation states that is lived in integrity and ensure that corrupt interests do not take over the agenda of what is in the interests of the people.  This behaviour transfers across to other governments in the world who realise that business interests are number 1 over human rights. In this case the right to security and safety.  The country is put at risk when governments are directly involved in creating the problem they say they want stopped. It is the aggression that is problematic and hypocritical if the goal is international peace and real security.

Truth must arise at this time before lethal mistakes are made that affect humanity.

Lao Tzu said in 600BC ‘it is the responsibility of those that know to tell the blind horseman on the blind horse that he is heading towards the abyss’.  Thus it is extremely important that people speak up if they know corruption is taking place. No matter where they are placed. They ultimately do this for their own children and grandchildren as this is how a Hobbesian scenario is birthed. Thomas Hobbes is a 17 century philosopher who spoke of the world of tooth and claw.  It was John Locke who spoke of libertarian worldview and the importance of the rule of law.  Both reflected the Nature of Man from differing perspectives. Refer

Therefore if you create more fear and insecurity in the world you will end up in the Hobbesian scenario. If you pursue life, liberty and equality then a Lockean world arises. We all get to choose. That is why seeking and living truth is what turns the tide of apathy.


How the United States helped Iran set up its nuclear program

First published:
Wednesday 15 July 2015 5:19PM

As Iran reaches a historic deal with six major world powers on its nuclear program, Rear Vision takes a look back at how the country’s nuclear industry first began—with help from the United States.

The story of Iran’s interest in nuclear technology goes back to the 1950s.

Iran was then being led by the young shah, who had been installed in power in 1953 after a CIA-led coup against the elected government of Mohamad Mossadeq. The then US president, Dwight Eisenhower, who had sanctioned the coup, introduced a program called Atoms for Peace.

Mohammad Sahimi, an expert on chemical and petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California, says the United States intended, through this program, to share its nuclear technology with developing countries like Iran for peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

There are documents that indicate that the shah of Iran was secretly doing some research on how to use plutonium to make a nuclear bomb. The US actually was aware of it, but did not protest or mind at that time.

Professor Mohammad Sahimi, University of Southern California

‘At that time the government of the shah of Iran and the US administration signed a treaty by which the US would help Iran to set up a nuclear program,’ he told Rear Vision in a 2006 interview.

‘Then in the 1960s the United States sold Iran a research nuclear reactor, a five-megawatt reactor that was installed at Tehran Nuclear Research Centre at Harass Tehran University. That was in 1967 and that’s how Iran’s nuclear program actually started.’

It was two decades till the program took off. Professor Sahimi says the Arab-Israeli war in 1973 was one factor in Iran’s search for alternative sources of energy.

‘After that war, the oil price went up dramatically and therefore Iran’s income from its oil exports increased dramatically. At that time the shah of Iran declared that oil was too expensive and too good to just burn it to generate energy, and he wanted to look for other types of energy sources,’ he says.

Professor Sahimi says a number of those involved became senior figures in the administration of George W. Bush, including Donald Rumsfeld, who later became defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, who became deputy secretary of defence, and Dick Cheney, Bush’s vice president.

‘They all played their role in persuading the shah of Iran to go after a nuclear industry,’ he says.

‘Since the price of oil had gone up and the United States was spending a lot more money to import oil, it would have been very beneficial to the US economy to develop a huge market for its nuclear industry in Iran, because Iran and the United States signed an agreement by which Iran would buy eight nuclear reactors worth US$15 billion, and remember we are talking about US$15 billion [in the 1970s], which means a lot more in present dollars.’

He says there was no concern at that point about any ambitions for nuclear weapons.

‘Since the shah of Iran was a close ally of the United States, the United States did not mind if the shah even went after nuclear weapons,’ he says.

‘In fact, the shah did declare at some point that Iran was going to develop a nuclear weapon and there are documents that indicate that the shah of Iran was secretly doing some research on how to use plutonium to make a nuclear bomb. The US actually was aware of it, but did not protest or mind at that time.’

Read more: Key points of the Iran nuclear deal

But Bennett Ramberg, who served in the state department under the president George H. W. Bush, does not believe the US knew about the shah’s nuclear weapons program.

‘Just before the shah fell, he had created a small group to investigate the possibility of pursuing a nuclear weapons program, and this was done secretly, and he had acquired some technology that would facilitate that, laser enrichment technology, for example. But his regime was overthrown and that ambition of course ended with that at that time,’ he says.

‘I’m not certain if the United States knew. Clearly there ought to have been questions about why he wanted certain technologies, for example this laser technology, which at the time was a rather sophisticated technology. But I haven’t seen any reference to the fact that the United States is privy to the desires of the shah to go forward with a nuclear weapons program.’

After the revolution, Iran initially backed away from any interest in nuclear energy.

‘The first revolutionary government of Iran and the prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan, decided that Iran really didn’t need nuclear reactors and nuclear energy, given all the other problems that Iran had to deal with,’ Professor Sahimi says.

‘Therefore, they cancelled the agreement that they had signed with the United States regarding buying eight nuclear reactors, and they greatly limited Iran’s nuclear research program.’

But, he says, the Iran-Iraq war put a nuclear program back onto the agenda.

‘During the Iran-Iraq war, especially the first year, Iran was totally isolated and no country was willing to sell Iran any weapons like these advanced weapons,’ he says.

‘And given that Iraq has invaded Iran and occupied a large chunk of Iranian territory in southern and south-western parts of the country, it is completely reasonable to think that security aspects played an important role in the thinking of the Iranian government when it decided to restart Iran’s nuclear program.’

Read more: Timeline of Iran’s 13-year nuclear stand-off

Iran’s attempts to revitalise its nuclear program were frustrated by United States sanctions. The distrust had begun with the overthrow of the shah, and intensified with the Iran hostage crisis.

‘The regime defined itself as a revolutionary regime with great antipathy towards the United States,’ Ramberg says.

‘The United States was not willing to deal with such a regime, and the leverage it had, other than the sanctions … in preventing American companies from doing commerce with Iran were imposed, and Iran’s support for terrorist activities in the region also soured relations further.’

Professor Sahimi says the Iranian government tried several other avenues to re-establish its nuclear program: first West Germany, then Czechoslovakia, then Argentina.

‘They tried to get some parts of the reactor from Poland, from Italy, and in each case, the United States actually prevented it.’

He believes this was a mistake that had long-term consequences, hampering the west’s knowledge of the program as it developed in subsequent years.

‘If the western countries at that time had gone back to Iran, had completed Iran’s nuclear reactors in Bushehr and perhaps subsequent reactors, they would have had a big say in how those reactors would be run, and they would have had control of the nuclear fuel for those reactors and also nuclear fuel waste.’

  • Iran’s nuclear industry

    Sunday 7 October 2007

    As background to the recent deal over Iran’s nuclear program, listen to a Rear Vision program from 2006 about the history of Iran’s nuclear industry.


    This [series episode segment] has image, and transcript


Rear Vision puts contemporary events in their historical context, answering the question, ‘How did it come to this?’

Mohandas Gandhi

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”