Iran needs nuclear power

By Mohammad Sahimi, Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh and Kaveh L. Afrasiabi
One often hears that Iran’s real purpose for pursuing nuclear technology is to develop nuclear weapons and that with its huge oil and gas reserves it has no real need for nuclear energy. Even those who should know better claim that Iran, both now and in the foreseeable future, can easily meet its energy needs without recourse to nuclear sources. We would like to demonstrate that these claims lack substance.
First, it is important to bear in mind that Iran’s nuclear history pre-dates the current Islamic government. It originated in the mid-1970’s, when the Shah unveiled plans to purchase several nuclear reactors from Germany, France and the United States to generate electricity. With Washington’s blessing, the Shah’s government awarded a contract to a subsidiary of the German company Siemens to construct two 1,200-megawatt reactors at Bushehr.
At the time, the United States encouraged Iran to expand its non-oil energy base. A study by the Stanford Research Institute concluded that Iran would need, by the year 1990, an electrical capacity of about 20,000 megawatts. The first cadre of Iran’s nuclear engineers was trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In recognition of Iran’s energy needs, the final draft of the U.S.-Iran Nuclear Energy Agreement was signed in July 1978 — several months before the Islamic revolution. The agreement stipulated, among other things, American export of nuclear technology and material and help in searching for uranium deposits.
Second, Iran’s present electrical requirements are far larger than had been predicted. With an annual growth of 6 percent to 8 percent in demand for electricity and a population estimated to reach 100 million by 2025, Iran cannot possibly rely exclusively on oil and gas. The aging oil industry, denied substantial foreign investment largely because of American sanctions, has not been able even to reach the pre-revolution production level of 5.5 million barrels per day. Of Iran’s 60 major oil fields, 57 need major repairs, upgrading and repressurizing, which would require $40 billion over 15 years. Iran’s current production level of 3.5 million barrels per day is increasingly geared toward domestic consumption, which has grown by more than 280 percent since 1979. If this trend continues, Iran will become a net oil importer by 2010, a catastrophe for a country that relies on oil for 80 percent of its foreign currency and 45 percent of its annual budget.
Third, opponents of Iran’s nuclear program often argue that Iran should opt for the more economically efficient electricity from natural gas-fired power plants. Such arguments are also not valid. A recent study by two MIT professors indicated that the cost of producing electricity from gas (and oil) is comparable with what it costs to generate it using nuclear reactors — not to mention the adverse effects of carbon emissions or the need to preserve Iran’s gas reserves to position Iran in 20 or 30 years as one of the main suppliers of gas to Europe and Asia.
Fourth, why should Iran deplete its nonrenewable oil and gas sources when it can, much like the energy-rich United States and Russia, resort to renewable nuclear energy? Nuclear reactors have their problems, and they will not resolve Iran’s chronic shortage of electricity. Yet they represent an important first step in diversifying Iran’s sources for energy.
Sadly, with their fear of an Iranian bomb, the United States and some of its Western allies have failed to acknowledge Iran’s legitimate quest for nuclear energy, which is important for a meaningful dialogue with Tehran to deter it from expanding its nuclear technology to bomb making.
A small corrective step has been taken by France, England and Germany, whose foreign ministers recently dispatched a letter to Iran promising technical cooperation with Iran’s civil nuclear program in exchange for full nuclear transparency. This is wiser than the coercive approach by the United States, which seeks to dispossess Iran of nuclear know-how altogether, and is blind to Iran’s energy and security worries.
*

Mohammad Sahimi is a professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh is professor of political geography and geopolitics at the Tarbiat Modares university of Tehran and chairman of the Urosevic Research Foundation in London. Kaveh L. Afrasiabi is professor of Middle East politics at Chapman University
.

U.S.A against democracy

Who is the greatest obstacle in the way of democracy?
It is the United States The country which has the most claims for supporting democracy. It sympathetically condemns human right abuse in China but tries to weaken Indian democratic regime.
It supports Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan dictators and forgets the human right issues in these countries and overlooks the fact that in Saudi Arabia women are deprived of the right of driving car. The United States performs a coup against Iranian first democratic government of Mossadegh in 1960.
Anywhere in the world (specially in Islam world) in Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Africa … the great obstacle in the way of democracy is the United States.

Democracy in Iran

Iranian System of governing is different from any other country in the world. we can not call it absolutism because nearly all posts all decided in a (so called) democratic way and by voting different from Arab states. Also we can not call it democratic because there is no really free election in Iran.
In fact the world people are not familiar with Iranian system of governing. Even many of western politicians who are in position to deal with Iranian problems are not familiar enough to make right decision toward Iran and Iranians. They usually make mistakes because they don’t know Iran. For example they didn’t support reformist government of president Khatami and this resulted to radical government of president Ahmadinejad.
In this short writing I will give you some information on Iranian system of governing.
1- The leader is elected by the vote of Khobregan council parliament with about 80 members (all are clergymen) there is no limitation of time for leader. The members of this parliament are elected by direct vote of people.
2- The president is elected by direct vote of people of people for four years.
3- The parliament members are elected by Iranian voters for four years (about 300 members).
4- Guardian council with 12members are decided in this way: six clergymen chosen by the leader and six other jurists chosen by the head of judicial system who himself is chosen by the leader.
What is ambiguous?
Guardian council has the widest realm of power. They can decide which person is qualified or unqualified to be a candidate for Parliamentary election, Presidency election, Khobregan election. They can decide candidates for all elections. They have the responsibility to interpret constitution law.
Reformists in Iran are in the side of free election they are against this system of deciding candidates.

Iran economy today

Iran has a large amount of oil and gas deposits. The developed world is highly dependent in Iranian oil and gas. But Iran has not used this merit to develop its economy for three reasons:
1- Iranian governments did not use it properly, reasonably and economically.
They habitually spent it to compensate their current expenses not economical projects and supporting private section of economy.
2- The 8 year war between Iran and Iraq is the second reason. During those years billions of dollars was spent to run the full sterling war.
3- US-based economical sanction is the third reason which highlighted Iranian dependence to oil instead of trade and industry.
These three reasons have made Iranian economy sick and weak. The advent of president Ahmadinejad made the situation worse. Because his arrogant view toward the outside world has created more tensions. Recently the UN Security Council has condemned Iran for two times. Also president ahmadinejad did not follow the economical scientific rules. Many Iranian economists protested his plans, but he didn’t consider their advices.
The only positive outlook is the extra high price of oil as the result of world economical condition which may save Iranian economy.

Iranian parliamentary election is coming

Four next 4 months the most important topic in Iran is parliamentary election. Again reformists and conservatives are getting prepared for joining in this political competition.
Conservatives or the supporters of President Ahmadinejad use national media (TV) to gain enough public votes to possess majority of parliament seats.
On the other hand reformists or supporters of former president Khatami are in a more difficult situation. They may get disqualified by guard council. Also they lack enough media to make close contact to the public. Of curse reformists can make benefit from the dissatisfaction atmosphere of ahmadinejads political and economical program. Regarding their limitation of media Can they use this tool?

Democracy meets moderate Islamists wishes

A quick look at the Islamic countries reveals the fact that moderate Islam coordinates democratic values. In fact if democracy establishes in these countries, moderate Islamists will gain more than anybody else. They will receive the freedom of activities and get ride of cruel dictators which limits their freedom. here is more concrete examples:

In Egypt if a free and just election happens, moderate Islamists will surely achieve at least their minimum rights. Maybe they can win majority of seats of parliament.
In Turkey the situation of Islamists is better. Any time that a free election is performed the winner is an Islamic party like Adalat, Fazilat and Refah. And whenever the military forces prevent free election, the Islamists stand in weaker position.
In Pakistan if general Mosharaf issue the permission of a really free election Islamists will gain more benefits and the freedom of activity.
In Europe Moslems gain a lot of the democratic atmosphere and whenever an undemocratic decision»n like the laws against Hijab» is taken, Islamist will lose more than any body else.

Who is against democracy in Islamic countries?

1- The dictator rulers who feel unsafe about free democracy. They know that in a free democratic election they won’t win.
2- The United States of America! It is surprising if one says that the U.S.A is always at the side of dictators and stands against democracy in Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and any other Islamic country.

The story of benzene in Iran

Recently government made a great decision on benzene. That is each automobile has only a share of 3 liters each day. The taxi drivers were permitted to have a share of 15 to 30 liters each day because of their important role in transportation.
This decision was made because Iranians used to buy benzene about 80 Tomans (about 8 cents). And that cost government about 500 Tomans (about 50 cents) per liter. It is said once Putin thr Russian president in his travel to Tehran asked about the price of a liter of benzene and then he asked about a bottle of water that was about 300 tomans. He concluded that in Iran benzene is cheaper than water!
Today the price of benzene has not changed. But the difference is that each car has a special share and can not exceed this limit. Strangely there is no free benzene because the government is afraid of inflation of prices. They say if we deliver free benzene on its real price (500 tomans) it will affect the price of all goods and services in all over Iran and this will inevitably arise public dissatisfaction against government.
Today many Iranians disagree with this decision, some question the way it is carried out. Others blame taxi drivers who sell their share of benzene instead of using it in the transportation system.This is the main story