Thursday, September 14, 2006

Spurious Guff (part 94)

The IAEA has complained to the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Intelligence for issuing a report containing erroneous and misleading information concerning Iran's nuclear programme.

Do you remember the theme tune to "The Twilight Zone"?

The IAEA are particularly unhappy about the claim that "Iran is currently enriching Uranium to weapons grade using a 164-machine centrifuge cascade". They are mostly unhappy about this claim because it isn't actually true. The IAEA say Iran has managed to enrich Uranium up to 3.6% and that "weapons grade" is "commonly used to refer to uranium enriched to the order of 90% or more". I don't think you need to be a nuclear physisist to spot the problem there.

Scanning though the original report (pdf), it reads like more like a propaganda pamphlet than anything else. Here's one nugget which particularly stood out (from page 11). Under the title "Dubious Claims and Explanations for Iran's Nuclear Activities", it says:
Aside from Iran’s lack of uranium deposits, Iran’s claim that its nuclear program is for electricity production appears doubtful in light of its large oil and natural gas reserves. Iran’s natural gas reserves are the second largest in the world and the energy industry estimates that Iran flares enough natural gas annually to generate electricity equivalent to the output of four Bushehr reactors.
Again, you have to ask, do these people have no shame?

In 1976, one year after the Shah abolished the Iranian multi-party system and replaced it with one-party rule, the Ford administration issued a directive on the sale of nuclear technologies to Iran. In summary, it said "yes, let's". Both Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld served in that administration and were heavily involved in the promotion of the Iranian nuclear programme.

The Washington Post did a good job of pointing all of this out over a year ago. It quoted from a strategy paper from the Ford administration which explained the rationale behind US co-operation in the Iranian nuclear programme:
"[The] introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran's economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals."
Those are, undeniably, exactly the same arguments as are now used by the Iranian government.

A lot has changed over the last 30 years. But oil and gas are both still finite resources and demand for energy continues to increase at an extraordinary rate.

Flip flop.

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1 comment:

NotSaussure said...

Well, exactly; since they don't seem to mind generating their power by nuclear energy -- which we and the Americans don't, after all -- it's always seemed to me to make perfect economic sense for the Iranians to generate their own power from nuclear power plants and to save their finite and expensive oil and gas for export.

The 'what do they need nuclear for when they've got so much oil?' argument just doesn't make sense.