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Good for the Shah, Banned for the Mullahs: The West and Iran's Quest for Nuclear Power

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Iran's nuclear program has become a highly controversial issue in international politics since the August 2002 unveiling of the secretly built uranium enrichment facility in Natanz and the heavy-water production plant in Arak. American officials and experts assert that Iran has secret plans to use its nuclear capabilities to develop nuclear weapons. Iranian officials, however, deny such allegations and claim that they will use their capabilities exclusively for peaceful purposes. Notwithstanding the official rhetoric, some Iranian scholars, intellectuals, and even bureaucrats argue that Iran should seriously consider developing nuclear weapons given that they have the necessary skills and capabilities as well as the reasons to do so. The clerical leaders have supposedly not yet decided about weaponizing Iran's nuclear capability. However, the ever-increasing size of Iran's existing nuclear infrastructure, and the achievements of Iranian scientists, who claim to have developed indigenous capabilities, may very well elevate Iran to the status of a nuclear power, even a de facto nuclear-weapons state.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2006

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