Editor's note: Iran Press Service apologise to Professor Assadi, to Washinton Prism and to its readers for an unfortunate mis-translation between "technology" and "energy".
Paris, 12 Aug. (IPS) As leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran are insisting on their nuclear projects, including the highly controversial activity of enriching uranium, a respected professor on economy said Iran does need atomic energy.
High ranking Iranian officials, especially the leader of the regime Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i and his hard line, fundamentalist president Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad to name two of them insists that nuclear technology is the “future of the nation” and have transformed the issue into a national pride, an effort that so far has failed to convince the great majority of the Iranians.
In their argumentation, they argue that both oil, an energy that Iran is one of the world’s largest producers, and natural gas, which Iran has the second largest reserves after Russia are “finishable” while nuclear energy is for ever.
After one hundred years of oil industry, we still are dependent on the westerners.
But Professor Jamshid Asadi, who teaches economics at the American University of Paris, told the last issue of the Washington-based “Washington Prism” that in his view, Iran does not need nuclear energy.
“So far, some 1.500 tons of uranium ore has been discovered in Iran and in the best of situations, we might have ten times more than that amount in reserve. Considering that the consumption of a plant like the one under construction in Booshehr is more than 200 tons per year, this means that the reserves discovered so far are sufficient to run that plant for seven years and the estimated reserves would keep it on steam for seventy years”, Mr. Asadi pointed out.
He was referring to the 1.000 megawatts nuclear powered electricity plant which is under construction in the city port of Booshehr on the Persian Gulf wit the help of Russia. The project that should have been finished in 2003 at a price tag of 600 millions US Dolllars has cost Iran more than eight hundreds millions and it is not certain it would start working by this year, as promised by the Russian builders.
Iran says it is planning to build at least six other nuclear powered stations like the one in Booshehr and it is for this reason that it wants to be self sufficient in the full nuclear cycle.
While Tehran insists that its nuclear projects are for civilian purposes, mostly producing electricity, many countries, above all the United States and Israel suspects Iranian ruling ayatollahs of preparing secretly nuclear weapons and to default the Iranians, the European Union, backed by the United States, offered Iran a package that included enriching uranium to a degree good for civilian use, participation in the construction of new plants and all the necessary fuel.
Tehran rejected the offer and keeps and ambivalent posture about a Russian project, supported by the EU, to enrich uranium for Iranian nuclear plants in Russia.
Tehran is rejecting all the offers saying one can not sleep on foreign promises. “What if suddenly, for any reason, foreign suppliers of enriched uranium decided not to deliver the good?”
In a recent trip to Tehran, Herr Joscka Fischer, former Vice German Chancellor and Foreign Affairs minister bluntly told the Iranians that the international community does not trust them because “if your aim in nuclear technology is really for civilian uses, then why go for enriching uranium to degrees far above the 3,5 per cent needed for such projects?”.
, the Iranian leaders argue that nuclear technology is a “mother industry”
“The problem is that world reserves for uranium ore is fast depleted. In other words, in a few years, Iran would not be able to satisfy its needs in uranium fuel for it’s nuclear plants in the international market. In addition, while the price of yellow cake, the ore for making uranium, in the international market in 2006 is around 40 US Dollars per kilogramme, cost of producing the same amount in Iran is at least double”, he observed, adding that “Taking in account our oil and gas reserves, “without counting those in the Caspian Sea”, we have enough reserves for more than 319 years, the tow sources combined”.
To justify their insistence on becoming a nuclear energy power, the Iranian leaders argue that nuclear technology is a “mother industry” needed for the economic and industrial development of the nation.
“This is a wrong argument, for the simple reason that not only it is very difficult to master such a complex and complicated technology, but just think that after one hundred years of oil industry, we still are dependent on the western technologies. Is it not better to think about mastering the oil and gas industries that are plenty, more economic, easier to use and much safer?” he asked.
In his view, the reason Iranian clerical leaders are insisting on the nuclear technology is “simply because they are determined to produce nuclear weapons as a mean to secure their survival”. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR 12806