Iran continues nuclear development

The hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah have no completely driven stories of Iran’s nuclear development program from the news. Despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding that Iran cease its nuclear fuel enrichment activities and admonitions from both the United States and Russia, Iran remains obdurate:

Iran has insisted it will not freeze uranium enrichment, in defiance of a UN resolution and warned it could even expand its nuclear programme which the West fears is a cover for efforts to build the bomb.

“Our activities respect the Non-Proliferation Treaty… so we will not accept the suspension (of uranium enrichment),” nuclear chief Ali Larijani told a news conference Sunday, in the first formal reaction to the July 31 resolution.

“They should know that such resolutions will not affect our determination. We will pursue the nuclear rights of Iranians which are enshrined in the NPT.”

The UN Security Council resolution requires Iran to halt uranium enrichment and other sensitive nuclear fuel work by August 31 or face the prospect of sanctions.

“This resolution has no legal credibility and it negates the purpose of the (International Atomic Energy) Agency,” Larijani said.

The resolution was pushed through after Iran ignored a previous non-binding deadline and failed to respond to an international offer of a package of incentives in exchange for a moratorium on nuclear fuel work.

Meanwhile, Iran may be attempting to import additional uranium from DR Congo:

LONDON (AFP) – Iran tried to import uranium for its nuclear programme from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but the shipment was intercepted in Tanzania, an English newspaper has reported, citing a senior Tanzanian customs officer.

A huge shipment of uranium 238 bound for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas was intercepted on October 22, 2005, by customs officials in Tanzania making a routine check, the officer told the Sunday Times.

The British weekly also cited a United Nations report, due to be considered by the Security Council, which said there was “no doubt” that a large shipment of uranium 238 was transported from the Lubumbashi mines in the DR Congo.

The customs official said the uranium shipment was found hidden in a consignment of coltan, a rare mineral, which was destined for smelting in Kazakhstan after being transported through Bandar Abbas.

“There were several containers due to be shipped and they were all routinely scanned with a Geiger counter,” he said.

“This one was very radioactive. When we opened the container it was full of drums of coltan. Each drum contains about 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of ore. When the first and second rows were removed the ones after that were found to be drums of uranium,” he said.

“The container was put in a secure part of the port and it was later taken away, by the Americans, I think, or at least with their help. We have all been told not to talk to anyone about this.”

Iran has denied the report:

TEHRAN (AFP) – Tehran has rejected a British newspaper report that Iran had tried to import uranium for its nuclear program from the Democratic Republic of Congo, calling it part of the West’s “psychological war.”

The report “is utterly untrue, because we do not need to import uranium while we have uranium mines and a plant to reprocess it,” Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani told reporters Sunday.

“This is part of a psychological war which the Americans resort to once in a while to feed the public mind,” Larijani added.

IMO and as I’ve mentioned before one of the strongest reasons to doubt Iran’s claims of its peaceful intentions in developing an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle (besides the fact that Iran vents enough gas from its oilheads to generate more power than its reactor will) is that Iran, even with recently reported uranium discoveries in the country, does not possess enough uranium to fuel its reactor for its lifespan.

It’s hard to see how Iran can achieve energy independence by converting to nuclear power generation while importing uranium to fuel the process.

UPDATE:  There’s may be less to the Iran-DR Congo story than meets the eye.  See my update here.

3 comments… add one
  • Don’t you want to update this post? Your next post on Iran is enlightening.

  • Hello again. I came back to write more. I do not think your argument is strong in saying that:

    “one of the strongest reasons to doubt Iran’s claims of its peaceful intentions … (besides the fact that Iran vents enough gas from its oilheads to generate more power than its reactor will) is that Iran, even with recently reported uranium discoveries in the country, does not possess enough uranium to fuel its reactor for its lifespan.”

    my reasons:
    1. One of the strongest reasons to doubt US & Bros’ claims that Iran’s nuclear program is not peaceful is the propaganda they propagate around the Iranian nuclear program to prove that it is for non-peicefull purposes and their desperateness in doing so.
    (this is not any weaker than your argument. Don’t you think!)

    2. Iran’s land is very rich in terms of minerals, but not yet fully developed. Don’t be surprised if later on they find another uranium mine. (I remember , vaguely though, the news of discovered mines being televised on Iranian TV). Even if this isn’t the case, WHAT’S WRONG WITH IMPORTING URANIUM? Isn’t it the case that Iran imports refined fuel, Benzene? Not all countries with enrichment proficiency have lifetime! Uranium mines.

    3. Vented natural gas and enrichment are not the only parameters in budgeting different sectors in Iran’s industry. There are thousands of thousands of parameters to be taken into account. It is not that simple. Let me give you another prospective:

    Assume that Iran allocates a portion of the budget for developing Natural Gas Industries and also developing nuclear fuel production. A portion of this budges is committed by foreign sources. Iranians invest their own money on the nuclear fuel production and the non-Iranians (who would benefit from reduced gas prices) invest on the Natural Gas sector.

    So it is not as simple as you think. Rethink the issue. What Iranians want, I think, is the nuclear fuel cycle technology. It is as deterrent as a nuclear bomb, but not as dangerous. A nuclear bomb or 20 nuclear bombs, or 50 nuclear bombs are nothing compared to the Israel’s nuke stack. For Iran, producing a bomb is signing the deal for destruction of its infrastructure.

    The fact of the matter is that despite IAEA’s comprehensive investigations, so far, there has been NO PROOF whatsoever that Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at military applications.

  • Amir, I’ve researched and thought about this issue extensively. I have no opposition whatever to Iran having an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle. Heck, I don’t even object to Iran having nuclear weapons. What I object to is Iran’s current regime having nuclear weapons. I think the preponderance of the evidence suggests that Iran is, indeed, developing nuclear weapons. I’m not going to recap that argument here—go over the extensive links in my earlier posts on the subject.

    I think what you’re missing is the incoherence of the statements made by Iran’s present leaders. You can’t have energy independence while importing the uranium used to fuel your reactor. That’s a contradiction.

    I am not a kneejerk supporter of Israel as many of my countrymen are. I think that we should support Israel when it is in our interests to do so and not support it when it is not.

    I do not now and never have favored the use of military force in dealing with Iran WRT their nuclear development. But it’s not just its infrastructure that Iran would be risking by pursuing nuclear weapons.

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