No Nukes for Iran!

Those in the Iranian socialist opposition arguing for a nuclear-free Iran have either been absent from the Western left’s discourse or have been getting the short end of the stick from some in the US left. Trapped in a mentality as simplistic as that of George Bush’s, a good part of the US left has been repeating a similar logic, by saying that either you go along with the imperialists’ plans and support Bush or find excuses to support Iran’s government’s pursuit of nuclear energy.

This, in spite of the fact that the same American left-leaning activists and writers have a strong tradition of anti-nuclear stance when it has come to the US society. May E. P. Thompson’s soul rest in eternal peace, but I know that his spirit must be spinning in his grave.

The point of discussion here is not nuclear weapons, but the use of nuclear power for the peaceful purpose of producing energy.

Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a disaster to awaken some people’s deadened auto-responses. The US left has recently been re-sensitized to the dangers of nuclear power as a result of the recent earthquake in Japan, which caused the shut-down of a nuclear power plant. We have consequently seen many insightful articles questioning the wisdom of pursuing the nuclear route for providing energy, most notably by Ralph Nader and Harvey Wasserman, to name only two.

The disaster that gave everybody a wake-up nudge was the earthquake that rocked the western coast of Honshu Island on July 16, causing the shut down of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station, in the Niigata prefecture. More earthquakes as well as several aftershocks kept the area trembling well into the day and night. The resultant shutdown of the power plant has attracted the critical attention of many observers, thereby exposing many problems worrying the government officials, energy-producing company officials, experts, pundits, and ordinary citizens alike.

Increasing number of reports have focused on both the attempted cover-ups by company officials (in the immediate aftermath of the quake) as well as the understatements regarding the real and potential dangers of the radioactive leakage into the atmosphere and the surrounding water, and the its consequent impacts.

The fact that Japan sits atop a very active earthquake zone has meant that, over the centuries and especially over the last century, measures have been taken to design and implement high earthquake-proofing standards for buildings; particularly for nuclear power plants, which provide for some 30 percent of Japan’s energy needs.

We know that it is customary for capital to wish to save costs. Since safety measures cost money, nuclear energy providers are likely to meet building requirements not maximally, but only barely adequately. To make things worse, even if and when standards are devised, enforced and followed, earthquakes have dynamics of their own and may not necessarily limit themselves to the scope wished for by human-made regulations. For example, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant was built to withstand earthquakes of up to 6.5 magnitude; unfortunately, the July 16 quake measured 6.8; hence, the problems that arose.

This particular quake scenario, though, has not escalated to the worst-case scenario, but it very easily could have.

The same occurrence in Iran, however, most definitely and quite easily would have turned into a huge disaster. If an earthquake of such magnitude had erupted in, say, the tectonically active south-southwestern coastal plains of Iran, with the Bushehr reactor having gone live, you can bet your house that cover-up and evasion would have been the only ‘aid’ sent by the government to the people affected there; plus some troops to make sure, much like in New Orleans, that things didn’t get too out of hand.

For one thing, how much can we really trust the seismological surveys carried out to determine how near-or-far major fault lines are from the Bushehr reactor? What about the safety regulations? What about the environmental-impact studies for the best-case scenario? Has any thinking gone into plans for a worst-case scenario? Or, are the gentlemen in Tehran too dependent on good luck and divine protection?

And what about evacuation procedures should the worst happen? Iran’s roads are not exactly extensive or kept in any decent order. We know from New Orleans’ experience with Hurricane Katrina that even in a country with extensive highway systems, evacuating large populations can take very long and therefore be very hazardous at the least, and at worst a murderous deal, even when the effort is demonstrated to have been made. A nuclear accident, by contrast, is capable of precipitating extremely poisonous atmospheric and environmental conditions in less than an hour.

Iran stands atop many very active, large fault lines (see a relatively recent seismicity map of Iran). Of the major earthquakes that do occur in Iran, a good many are stronger than magnitude 6 on the Richter scale (from which point on, major damages increase exponentially). Here are some facts about recent major earthquakes since 1972:

· Dec. 26, 2003: Southeastern Iran, Bam, magnitude 6.5; 26,000 killed.
· June 22, 2002: Northwestern Iran in the Qazvin province, magnitude 6; at least 500 killed.
· May 10, 1997: Northern Iran near Afghanistan, magnitude 7.1; 1,500 died.
· June 21, 1990: Northwest Iran around Tabas, magnitude 7.3-7.7; 50,000 killed.
· Sept. 16, 1978: Northeast Iran, magnitude 7.7; 25,000 killed.
· April 10, 1972: Southern Iran near Ghir Karzin, magnitude 7.1; 5,374 killed.

These casualty figures are very high as it is. In each case, thousands if not tens of thousands more suffered dislocation and complete loss of livelihood, which was never compensated for. Now, imagine the additional casualty and displaced figures if any of these quakes had been combined with the meltdown of a nuclear reactor!

It should be pointed out that the deaths occurring as a result of these quakes are far larger than they should have been, mostly because of lax building codes in Iran. Compared to some of the world’s highest standards for earthquake proofing available in Japan, we can easily state that no such standards exist at all in Iran. Additionally, the building codes that do exist are regularly ignored and violated by unscrupulous contractors, developers and even individual home-builders more inclined to bribe an official than bear the larger costs of building safely.

We would therefore be right to wonder aloud about the building codes implemented in the construction of Bushehr’s nuclear power plant. Likewise, we should be worried about the maximum quake strengths the plant is supposed to be able to withstand, and even more worried about safety and rescue procedures foreseen for a worst-case scenario.

Forget IAEA inspections! In Iran what we really need is a guaranteed right of citizens’ groups consisting of independent scientists, activists, and citizens’ direct representatives, to carry out inspections of nuclear facilities on demand. Transparency and open accountability is the most legitimate demand of any citizenry as regards governmental activities; when it comes to meddling with nuclear power, transparency in accountability becomes absolutely essential.

In Iran, however, there is no accountability for anything the government does. For example, and directly related to this topic, there is no accountability for the fact that in an oil-rich country, refined oil (for the everyday consumption of the people) is mostly imported! Refining oil is not exactly nuclear science (no puns intended, but take as many as you like). This is a century-old technology. Why is it that the Iranian government is not investing some of its vast sums of petro euros and dollars on improving the oil-refining capabilities of the nation, thus reducing the need for importing (much more expensive) refined oil products? Would this not be safer, more logical, more efficient, and a more economically viable short-to-mid-term investment of the national resources?

In Iran, it would be impossible to even bring to justice any government official who plays with peoples’ lives and livelihoods on a daily basis, and yet there are thousands of them who should be sued in a really existing legal system. Alas, there’s the rub! We do not have the most rudimentary legal structures in place guaranteeing the citizens’ right of oversight over anything the governmental does.

As any Iranian could tell you, there is only one branch of government in Iran, the Executive branch; the other two stems (sic; the legislature and the judiciary) merely decorate that one branch so it doesn’t look too bare. As enshrined into a theocratic constitution, the legislature, if it is anything but a rubber stamp, can easily be overturned by the Supreme Leader, as it has been repeatedly. The same goes for the judiciary, which has historically been a mere enforcer of the Executive’s will rather than an adjudicator of the laws of the land.

This situation clearly does not allow for a realistic system for citizens to keep a vigilant eye on the government’s handling of nuclear-powered energy production. Further, should any disasters occur (which is to say, when a disaster does occur), the government is guaranteed to act in the least responsive manner possible and to shirk as much responsibility as needed, leaving the citizens to bear the costs of a nuclear disaster on their own.

It is therefore the duty of any democratically inclined person, and more so the duty of leftists, environmentalists and anti-nuclear activists in the west, especially in the US left, to stand on the side of the well being of the Iranian people and unambiguously oppose any nuclear energy development in Iran carried out by an unaccountable government.

No doubt some ‘leftists’ will argue that demands for a halt to all nuclear activities in Iran amount to aiding and abetting the imperialists, especially at this historical juncture. But, to me, such logic smells too much like what the Zionists retort back, in knee-jerk fashion, to anybody daring to criticize anything Israeli. In the end, all fanatics argue in the same way: you are either with me, or against me!

What those so-called leftists do not understand, or willfully ignore, is that imperialism feeds on oppressed, un-represented people. To the extent that the Iranian regime stifles ‘its own people’ and their potentials by increasingly exposing them to larger harms, without providing any opportunities for their flourishing and development, to the extent that Iranian people are undermined by their government, they as a whole are more likely to be swallowed up by the plans and designs of the imperialists. Empowered people are the best defense against imperialist aggression.

Those who, like the Islamic regime in Iran, insist that pursuing nuclear power is an automatic right, must also be prepared to bear the responsibility to fully account and be accountable for any and all activities relating to the handling of nuclear materials, especially if nuclear facilities are built near dense population areas, and most definitely if those reactors are located on active tectonic plates, as is the case with the Bushehr reactor.

Lacking transparent accountability for the preparations that have occurred so far, as well as for the future full operations of Bushehr’s nuclear power plant, people have a legitimate right to demand a halt to all activities that could easily lead to the enormous health threats of radioactive poisoning potentially lasting hundreds of years, causing mutations and deformations in the gene pools of all living organisms in the area for far longer, and destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.

Nobody has an automatic right to take people down this kind of road! Definitely, not a government that refuses to be accountable to any on this earth, least of all to an absolute majority of ‘its own’ citizenry.

Reza Fiyouzat can be reached at: rfiyouzat@yahoo.com. Read other articles by Reza, or visit Reza's website.

18 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Max Shields said on July 24th, 2007 at 8:54am #

    Reza,
    I agree with your overall argument. As someone who is closely aligned with a no-nuke policy, I have made the case for a reduction and ultimate ban on the use of nuclear forms of energy as well as the in-your-face war-heads pointed here and yon.

    The problem in the US is that we are so up to our eyeballs in complicity with a government who has become the number one rogue-nation in the world. With 10,000 war-heads pointed at various “enemies” (past and present) and a continued program of annihilation and support of several client states who have not even signed onto the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it becames very tricky (hypocritical) to be snapping at Iran (a signatory to the NPT, and within the boundaries of that treaty) for developing nuclear energy.

    It is maddness, but this is the state we find ourselves over and again. We live in the belly of the beast. It is hear that we must undo the havoc we’ve caused, and continue to cause.

    As you know the US government has propaganized the Iranian nuclear energy development. Iran is viewed as a hegemonic threat to US interests in the Middle East region. So, the argument has been woven into a narrative that makes it difficult to unravel without seeming to side with the neconservative mandates to annihilate the “heathens”.

    Still, your case is well made and I completely agree with it. They are worth further consideration.

    In a somewhat rational world of generally law abiding nation-states, I think you’d hear far more from the “left” and others regarding the horror of all kinds of nuclear purposes. The case against nuclear has been well made by many, but I particularly like this from Rebecca Solnit, Reasons Not to Glow:
    http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/316

  2. Michael Dawson said on July 24th, 2007 at 9:15am #

    Reza, you are confusing the issue. Nobody on the left opposes your right and need to oppose your own government as an Iranian citizen. But for us here, you either insist on Iran’s rights under (and the U.S.’s gross violations of) the NNPT, or you add your voice to those calling for illegal war against Iran. If the U.S. left were to take your advice and start talking about opposing Iran’s policy, it would be collaborating in a crime that would make you guys buildings a few nuke plants look like a tea party.

  3. Azad said on July 24th, 2007 at 9:33am #

    Mr. Fiyouzat like the Zionists raise the same question: why does Iran need nuclear energy although they have vast amount of oil and gas resources. This is a wrong question. The right question is: Why some countries have nuclear weapons in the first place? And many countries such as Japan have the capability of making one fast. Black South African did not get rid of their nuclear weapon themselves, as the imperial West wants us to believe, rather the White colonists did not want African people possess such a weapon. Why the western powers have not only reduced their nuclear weapons toward elimination but also are making new ones more destructive? Why does no one pay attention to the Iranian government’s demand: “ Middle East free from nuclear weapons.” Iran is a targeted country. Many countries who are colluding with the US against Iran possess nuclear weapons and numbers of them have not signed NPT yet and have not let the International agencies visit their nuclear weapon sites and get rid of their nuclear bombs such as Israel. I think it is not wise for those Iranians who hate the Iranian government criticize the nuclear energy which is desired by the majority of Iranian citizens, yet, like Shirin Ebadi, are silent on other countries’ nuclear weapons, such as US, British, France,…..and Israel, and they bring in the “democracy” factor like Shirin Ebadi who suggests if the country is “democratic” then the nuclear weapon is O.K. Is US democratic where her citizens have no voice in the decision making process for nuclear weapon policy? Many Americans want a world free from nuclear weapons and they know as long as US and other Western colonial / imperial countries and their extension hold onto their weapons, other countries have no choice but to seek one for “protection” since they are familiar with the Imperialist/Zionist dark history in other countries especially Islamic countries in the past and at the present. Furthermore, Iran is not stupid not wanting to increase her refineries capacity. It is the US who holds Iran back by imposing illegal economic sanction to bring the country to her knees through economic strangulation with cooperation of other “civilized western countries”. Today, Iran can not even buy civilian airplanes to protect her citizen lives. Don’t you think this is absolutely an act of TERRORISM? Where is the LEFT in the US to bring these terrorists who are sitting as leaders in every major western capital to JUSTICS? The anti war movement in this country is very much influenced by the Zionist “left” who make the decision for the “war movement”, therefore, their intend is to protect the interest of Israel first. That’s why they are reluctant even to bring in the factor of “Zionism” into their slogans and have continued only with the slogan “no blood for oil” to divert attention away from Israel.

  4. reza said on July 24th, 2007 at 10:07am #

    Michael Dawson,
    Would you have argued in the same line with a person living near the Chernobyl nuclear plant, back in 1980s (before the 1986 accident)? Would you have said, “Well, it’s ok for you to fight your government in order to get rid of the reactor in your neighborhood; but over here, we must fight for your government’s rights to make sure that monstrosity stays in your community!”? This is what you’re telling me!

    Please also consider this: NNPT is an imperialist-designed regime of controling things so that a certain monopoly can maintained in the military sphere, while at the same time this very treaty helps the proliferation of the nuclear industry. And you find it of absolute importance to stick to this treaty?! What happened to critiquing the existing order of things? If you go along with NNPT, what about the NAFTA treaty? What about CAFTA? What about WTO? All these too must be obeyed, no?

    And finally, what happened to international solidarity that should be extended to people who are powerless and get irresponsibly exposed to dangers brought on them by uncaring, calculating rulers? Or does international solidarity too goes against some treaties?

  5. rosemarie jackowski said on July 24th, 2007 at 10:27am #

    Azad… There is no LEFT in the USA. There is no opposition political party. My question is why has the rest of the world allowed itself to be bullied by the “west”? Why is there no outcry when the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons to kill people, now is restricting other countries from having them? The USA lost any moral authority it might have had when it used atomic bombs in Japan. The USA should be “forced” to give up its nuclear weapons by a world-wide boycott of everything from the US.

  6. DetainThis said on July 24th, 2007 at 4:20pm #

    Nice article—especially the mention of Bushehr having been built on or near tectonic seams or fault lines. That troubles me the most. I agree in principle on the safety/environmental contingencies. I disagree, however, with the implied notion of external assistance being necessary in affecting political change within Iran.

    As U.S. citizens, we are responsible for keeping our sadistic, war-profiteering leaders from acting illegally/unconstitutionally (not that we’ve been all that successful at it, mind you). We are responsible for resisting the use of aggressive, preemptive war against Iran and any other sovereign entity not hostile to our sovereignty (again: not that we’ve had success in that area). As far as nuclear non-proliferation: that is the job of the IAEA and the UN to regulate. Coercively-fostered UN Resolutions and boycotts are superficial threats to the Iranian regime—not true reflections of the regime’s actual defiance of international law and intention to build weapons.

    If most Iranians want nuclear energy, then what can reasonably be done to prevent it without acting undemocratically or illegally in the process? U.S. intervention? A big, fat “NO,” says the U.S. Constitution, the UN Charter, and the Algiers Accord. (I’m not assuming you’re suggesting aggressive intervention.)

    Ancillary point: “The Left” certainly owns no copyright on opposition to nuclear technology. Are CASMII a bunch of right-wing, nuclear-proliferating, Ahmadinejad-lovers? I don’t think so. (Okay. I’m being extreme in my analogies, but still…) As far as the U.S. “left’s” responsibility in standing up for Iranians opposed to nuclear technology, that argument is moot. Sure, protesting and other activism is great, but it is ultimately none of our business, as U.S. citizens, what the Iranian People decide to unobtrusively do about their own domestic affairs, just as it is not the proper duty of Iranian terrorists and traitors like Alireza Jafarzadeh and Amir Taheri to get on CNN, FOX, and The Wall Street Journal to encourage U.S. citizens with lies in order to help procure the will to overthrow Ahmadinejad and the Imams with illegal intervention.

    All that being said, you should keep active on this issue, because there are grave dangers associated with nuclear technologies which should not be taken lightly—and for that reason, your article is a must-read.

  7. bill rowe said on July 26th, 2007 at 7:43pm #

    When Iran gets Bushehr nuclear plant started ,and is able to manufacture its fuel domestically, there will be a new era of mideast stability; The US and Israel will not be able to willy-nilly pursue their imperialist policies uncontested. Can’t wait … By the way , if you are worried about the safety of Bushehr, you should be behind the IAEA providing all the latest in safety knowledge;ie. what it is supposed to do under NNPT. Our stupid policies are increasing the chances of an Iranian accident by denying Iran the complete knowledge gained from Chernobyl (In USSR) and Three Mile Island (in USA).

  8. Anad said on July 27th, 2007 at 6:05am #

    My immediate concern was that the author was introducing a new ideological wedge, in order to rally a western, ecologically concerned faction behind a military strike against Iran. Horrified as I am, as so many of us are, by the mere idea that Iran could be targeted, I felt compelled to do a quick search.

    See, notably, the author’s account of the 2005 . What Fiyouzat writes is solidly pragmatic, but I don’t detect much in the way of privatisation, freemarketeering jargon, there. Ouf.

    Reza Fiyouzat (Encounters Book 1) was born in Abadan, Iran, and has had a rich life in four countries. His undergraduate studies varied from hard sciences, to philosophy of science to social sciences. He received his MA in applied linguistics from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Reza has written novels, short stories, and has translated and written articles about Middle Eastern politics. He has also written for and edited political-cultural magazines with international distribution. His ESL publications include Cultural Zones of Development. His first and best English teacher was his father.

    My tentative conclusion is that Reza Fiyouzat is sincere and without ulterior motive in his address of an issue that is without a shadow of a doubt urgently in need of international debate.

  9. Anad said on July 27th, 2007 at 6:07am #

    PS: sorry for what must have been a missing, closing tag!

  10. Mike McNiven said on August 2nd, 2007 at 2:28am #

    Dear courageous author, thank you very much for this well done address to those who are anti-nuke! It is interesting that the pro-nuke kids give themselves the right to tell the anti-nuke majority how to be “half pregnant”! The author, within his socialist– and naturally anti-nuke– position has offered a scientific view of dangers awaiting the oppressed people of Iran! Yes, he is correct that people of Iran do not want a secret nuclear program. Several recent opinion polls show that less than thirty percent of the population of Iran is in favor of that capitalist government’s secret nuclear programs! Yes, the author is very corect about the lack of oil refineries in Iran! Iran used to be an exporter of refinery technoloy to other countries! What happened to that mastery? Is it evaporated? No! There is more profit in importing gasolin for the capitalist mullas than refining! No, Iran is not facing any ban regarding the importation of civilian aircrafts; it is only the U.S. made aircrafts which could not be sold to Iran. Believe me the heroic masses of Iran prefer not to have anything made in USA! (that includes the Conoco/Exxon-Mobil made CASMII. google “the Iranian regime’s lobby in the US” and see the documents for yourself) The author is talking about the Boushehr nuclear facility which is not even a hypothetical target of the so-called US military plans against the capitalist mullas! So accusing the author of encouraging a US attack is shameless in the Brechtian tradition! The whole Persian Gulf could be ruined after an earthquake induced nuclear disaster! (look at the map without your anti-Arab biases please!) He has the right to love his homeland nuke-free! One cannot be a socialist and anti-environment at the same time! Socialism is about the distribution of happiness and fairness! Have you forgotten the Reagan era bumper sticker– a nuclear accident can ruin your whole day? Denying him his positions about a socialist Iran is racist! Desiring a nuclear free U.S. and a nuclear armed capitalist Islamist regime is schizophrenic to say the least! Most Iranians abroad and inside have developed a formula which deserves the active support of any conscientious person anywhere in the world: No to the U.S. imperialism, No to the Islamist regime, Yes to a secular democratic Iran! (please see the writings of professor Mehrdad Darvishpour as an example) The Iranian people have done more than their part in fighting U.S. /G8 imperialism! It is the more than urgent duty of the U.S. progressives to apply the golden rules of integrity and wish for the Iranian people what we wish for ourselves here! Doing/wishing anything less is: Racist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Shabnam said on August 8th, 2007 at 11:12am #

    I don’t know which planet McNiven lives in who does not know Iran is under the sanction. Iran can not even buy SPARE PARTS for civilian air planes which were purchased under the Shah from the west, forget about buying airbuses for the safety of her citizens. Many Iranians have died due to air planes mechanical failure. Recent application for the purchase of airbus through 3rd party has been denied by the United States. How does Iran build refineries and improve her infrastructure if can not purchase basic technology? Besides, Bousher reactor started under the Shah with the help of the United States and individuals like Rumsfield and Wolfovitz. Please wake up to the reality. Why don’t you go and tell Israel to destroy her active nuclear weapon making in the region where is sitting on more than 200 bombs. Mr. Chomsky suggests that we should prevent nuclear proliferation but he even did not support Mr. Veneno, Israeli technician who exposed Israeli nuclear weapon program, and he is silent on this issue and usually protects Israel’s interest by not TALKING about their nuclear weapon and only shouting slogan “No Blood for Oil”, so the leader of anti war movement, Phyllis Brenner, who keeps Israel protected by repeating the same slogan and does not even mention ZIONISM in her speeches for the United Front for Peace and Justice to keep American people CONFUSED. Zionism and Imperialism are both sides of the same coin.
    To have a planet free of nuclear weapons you must eliminate hundreds of nuclear bombs owns by the US, Russia, China, Israel and………….. which encourage others not to think about it.

  12. Shabnam said on August 9th, 2007 at 3:26am #

    Leader of the “anti was movement” United for peace and justice is
    phyllis bennis not phyllis brenner. I apologize.

  13. Mike McNiven said on August 16th, 2007 at 4:10pm #

    Very Dear Shabnam,

    1– Iran is not a “nation-state” at this moment which means that we have to deal with people of Iran and its rulers separately! A theocracy, by definition, cannot have a place for the voice of its people. Mr. Fiyouzat did not say no nuclear technology for Iran; he said no such thing for the theocratic , anti-science, anti-women, anti-labor, anti-peasant, anti-writer, pro-censor, pro-stonning to death unelected rulers of Iran! The distinction is very loud and clear. The 1979 revolution was about social justice and independence of Iran. Theocracy was the anti-left choice of G-7 for Iran (another colonial intervention in Iran!)
    RF , in 2004 wrote a very principled open letter to Chomsky raising all the points you have raised and more . Please read it before judging him again. By the way, if the theocrats in Tehran can buy spare parts for US-made F5, F4, F14 military aircrafts to bomb the oppressed Kurds of Iran everyday, definitely they can get the parts for their Boeing civilian fleet. (if they decide to care about innocent lives!) People of Iran are moving fast to repeat the 1979 revolutin and get what the imperialists denied them 27 years ago! All power to the anti-fascism/anti-imperialism people of the world!

  14. Mike McNiven said on August 27th, 2007 at 11:23pm #

    http://www.iranpressnews.com/english/source/028716.html

  15. Mike McNiven said on September 7th, 2007 at 12:18am #

    http://www.iran-bulletin.org/Attack%20on%20Iran/NO%20WAR%20ON%20IRAN.htm

  16. iyamwutiam said on October 7th, 2007 at 6:32pm #

    OK – how about we set a few premises
    1. The premise that certain non-profit/educational/’independent’ agencies and persons are in the pay of certain governments and interests.
    2. If premise 1 is accepted then there is not only a war which involves guns with real casualties (human lives and tragedy), but there is also a war with rhetoric as the weapon and facts/perceptions as the casualty -.
    3. The questions that areis from these are :

  17. iyamwutiam said on October 7th, 2007 at 8:01pm #

    OK – how about we set a few premises:

    1. The premise that certain non-profit/educational/’independent’ agencies and persons are in the pay of certain governments and interests to perpretrate or further certain points of view.
    2. If premise 1 is accepted then there is not only a war which involves guns with real casualties (human lives and tragedy), but there is also a war with rhetoric as the weapon and facts/perceptions as the casualty .
    3. The questions that arise from are :
    a. What difference is there per se between a plutocracy and theocracy, communism, socialism?
    b. If plutocracy represents entitlement due to a monetary high ground and theocracy a high ground from religious perspective which is closer or more obliged to do adhere to the common good – in other words which “system” has the ability to transfer assets of the populace more easily to ANOTHER location thereby escaping accountability, punishment and most importantly repatriation- if theocracy, communism, socialism etc etc. is not yet another disguised form of plutocracy/oligarchy.

    However germane the arguments may be against nuclear power – the kernel has not been reached. That kernel is one of self-determination and sovereignty but most improtant the UNIVERSAL application of RULE OF LAW – which is generally purported to be by consensus -so as to diminish extreme expressions of both independence and isolation.

    At the individual level there are restrictions – such as substance abuse, suicide etc. At the state level – it may be aggression/invasion,human rights etc. Therefore ‘law’ is set up – international conventions etc and if there is not a fair distribution of enforcement of the ‘rules’ then why should ONE country or many countries be admonished when the ‘laws’ are not enforced ESPECCIALLY be those who wrote them. In short – is the purpose (such as Jim Crow laws) there to safeguard interests of a minority or are the laws there to safeguard the ‘general welfare’.

    Specifically with respect to Iran – as other contributors have stated – they ARE following the procriptions of the IAEA and NPT. The ‘respect’ for the rules have been observed and questioning the sanity of the motives or even the practicality of the outcome should be viewed thru the lens of the ‘general welfare’.

    IS it in the general welfare of of a country to positon itself to gain scientific knowledge of physics, nuclear power and technology, structural egineering, etc etc ? Should a state be allowed to possess nuclear technology as a laboratory and school for expansion and exploration of knowledge – especially if they agree to be overseen by international agencies who have been accorded expert and guardian status via consensus of the international community?

    Do all countries have the right to explore the gunpowder, mathmatics,and the technology of this particluar millenium as did other cultures millenias ago? The myth that the realm of physics, technology , invention being only capable through western civilization has been shattered not only by recent past but also what we would call ancient history!!

    The rise of a nation/nations by ‘borrowing’ advanced ideas and ultimately refining and furthering them – has despite worldwide atrocites, wars, etc largely benefitted a large proportion of mankind. I am sure that the Chinese , Indians or Mayans despite their advanced mathematics,astrology, architecture etc never imagined the benefits of vaccinations, wireless technology etc – nor did they imagine that their inventions of the compass (based on magnetism), gunpowder, herbology, mathematics etc would lead to such future developments.

    Therefore – why should the civilizations today – seek to restrict the understanding and exploration of science by other nations/cultures today. We obviously DON”T know i f someone will discover the secrets of fusion, even better hybrid technologies or harnessing solar power with incredible efficiency.

    In America the two most POWERFUL examples of scientific innovatios occuring outside the mainstream would be Charles Drew – an african american who lay the foundations of immunology via blood transfusions and of course George Washington Carver who founded biofuels – as early as the 1920’s and in addition formulated plastics from soybeans!! Could this astounding leap into the future by decades be the result of a different perpective and can we not as mankind in general ultimately be benefitted from this.

  18. Mike McNiven said on October 23rd, 2007 at 1:35am #

    The latest response from the author to the posted questions:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/fiyouzat09292007.html