Iran’s Nuclear Program
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s conquest for nuclear energy technology commenced during the 1950’s, inspired by U.S President Dwight Eisenhower’s program called “Atoms for Peace”. This program fabricated a plan in which the U.S Atomic Energy Commission would lend Iran as much as 13.2 pounds of low-enriched uranium in order to further develop their nuclear industries, including health care and medicine.i Two years following the agreement, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi established the Tehran Nuclear Research Center at the Tehran University, and the United States to arranged to supply a five-megawatt reactor. Several years later, in July of 1968, Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and six years following the signing of the NPT, Iran successfully completed the Safeguards Agreement under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).ii
Despite the nuclear energy flowing into Iran during it’s infant stages in developing civilian nuclear energy, several nations, including the United States, France, and Germany, all became apprehensive of Iran’s nuclear program becoming too ambitious in the years leading up the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Due to their growing concern over Tehran’s nuclear capabilities, countries began canceling their projects to build reactors within Iran. Furthermore, after the overthrow of the Shah during the Islamic Revolution, a majority of the international assistance that was given to develop Iranian nuclear programs was terminated, and Iran was forced to search elsewhere for support. Many non-proliferation experts agree that Iran’s ambitions for
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nuclear power began during the mid 1980’s, and it is believed that Pakistani nuclear scientist, AQ Khan, assisted Iran in contracting suppliers for nuclear energy purposes as early as 1985. iii
It became known in the 1990’s that Iran had certainly renewed their civilian nuclear projects, and Western tension continued to increase following 2002 and 2003 reports that Iran began clandestine research into fuel enrichment and conversion. This sparked international controversy over the intentions behind Iran’s nuclear program beyond civilian or peaceful purposes. For example, the Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center is suspected to house Iran’s nuclear weapons programs, and is also the alleged location of Iran’s uranium-conversion efforts.iv It is estimated that as many as 366 tons of uranium hexafluoride has been produced since 2004. This is then fed into centrifuges at another key site: the Natanz enrichment facility.
Still, Iran continuously denies that its nuclear objectives are to construct atomic weapons, but a large majority of the international community remains skeptical to the legitimacy of this claim due to the secrecy of Iran’s productions and their refusal to cooperate with the IAEA on several notable occasions. However, in defense over the concerns pertaining to the secrecy...