Iranians wrongly support nuclear program: analyst
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 6 / Trend , T.Konyayeva/
The Iranians support the development of the country's nuclear program and consider the issue to be a matter of pride, but know neither its possible military orientation nor its real price, Northeastern University Professor Kamran Dadkhah told Trend in an e-mail.
"When Iranians are asked if they are in favor of nuclear program no mention is made of the weapons program or the cost of such program to the people," Dadkhah wrote. "Therefore, Iranians answer that they are in favor of the program. This is like asking someone if he or she wants a Mercedes Benz without telling him/her that it will cost $90,000."
The U.S. and other Western countries accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons for military purposes under the guise of a peaceful nuclear energy program, and discuss possible sanctions the country. Tehran denies the charges, saying its program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.
The U.N. Security Council passed three resolutions to impose sanctions on Iran, calling on Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment activities.
The expert believes the Iranian government has tried to elevate the nuclear program into an issue of national aspiration and honor, if the goal is to produce nuclear energy, no one has any problem with that.
"Indeed it is a nation's right to utilize such a source of energy," Dadkhah said. "What is puzzling is why the Iranian government kept the program a secret for so long and even now refuses to abide by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) requests for clarifications and safeguards."
The IAEA chief repeatedly said Tehran must "fully answer all the questions raised by the agency to establish an atmosphere of trust and allow international observers to conduct unscheduled checks at enterprises dealing with nuclear energy development."
Several years ago, the Iranian regime has decided that nuclear weapons are necessary to ensure its own safety, citing a conflict with Iraq in 1980, the Iranian expert said.
In 1980, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein decided to commence a limited military operation against Iran to force the government to desist from hostile action. The pretext for the war was Iran's failure to fulfill obligations under the Algiers Agreement of 1975, according to which Iran should return border areas to Iraq.
"Further, a stockpile of such weapons will guarantee the survival of the regime against any desire by the West to overthrow it," Dadkhah believes. "The problem is that in this game the only losers are the Iranian people."
Regarding Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, the West has two options, the expert believes.
"The West can use its military power to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities or at least set back the program for a few years, in which case one can only guess at the damage to the Iranian economy and people," Dadkhah said. "Alternatively, the West could accept Iran as is and allow other countries in the region to enter into a nuclear arms race."
But he believes the Iranian economy cannot afford such a race and its economic consequences.
"Under the current state of economy, Iran is incapable of becoming a regional power or sustaining an arms race for too long before collapsing as did the Soviet economy in the 1990s," Dadkhah said. "Either way the Iranians will pay the price."