Nukes Are OK For Iran, But Not For Us?

June 4, 2009

Nukes Are OK For Iran, But Not For Us?


Nuclear Power: If Iran has “legitimate energy concerns” that make its nuclear plants OK, doesn’t the energy-starved U.S.? Why doesn’t Iran, with the second-largest proven oil reserves, just build some refineries?

Read More: Iran

Normally, a nation with significant oil resources that decides to develop nuclear power would and should be praised for its prudence. Nuclear power is an emission-free domestic form of energy that is good for the environment and the economy.

Except when it’s a country that builds missiles instead of refineries and pledges to wipe a neighbor off the face of the earth.

Iran says it’s developing nuclear power to generate electricity while it waits for the 12th Imam and the apocalypse to arrive. To hasten the process, however, it is using its nuclear knowledge to amass fissile material necessary to build a bomb. It’s developing missiles to deliver that bomb, presumably somewhere in the heart of downtown Tel Aviv.

Our new administration is trying to talk them out of it, and the Iranians are quite willing to drag out the conversation as long as it takes to develop their nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it.

“Although I don’t want to put artificial timetables on that process,” President Obama (?) has said, “we do want to make sure that, by the end of this year, we’ve actually seen a serious process move forward. And I think that we can measure whether or not the Iranians are serious.”

Unfortunately, Iran by the end of the year should have enough weapons-grade material to make a bomb, if it doesn’t have enough already. One thing we can measure is the increasing number of centrifuges they have spinning. They are not designed to keep the lights on in Tehran.

It would seem to us that encouraging Iranian use of nuclear energy in any context is the last thing we should be doing. In a BBC interview broadcast on Tuesday, President Obama said:

“Without going into specifics, what I do believe is that Iran has legitimate energy concerns, legitimate aspirations. On the other hand, the international community has a very real interest in preventing a nuclear arms race in the region.”

This echoes remarks made in Prague last month, when the president said his administration would “support Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections” if Iran gives up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But it hasn’t, and the race is already on. Iran state television interpreted these remarks as recognizing “the rights of the Iranian nation,” by which it means its right to develop nuclear power unencumbered.

That Iran is not serious about peaceful nuclear energy is shown by its refusal to build the refinery capacity needed to eliminate its dependence on imported gasoline. That money instead has gone to buying more centrifuges and expanding nuclear facilities. If Iran’s energy aspirations were legitimate, it would be building refineries and not bombs.

The irony here is that at the same time we are encouraging Iran to exploit the peaceful uses of nuclear power, we are discouraging its use here at home. We have legitimate energy aspirations as well, and one of them is reducing our dependence on imported oil from countries that do not have our interests at heart.

We let billions flow overseas and domestic oil resources from the Chukchi Sea to ANWR to Western oil shale to the Gulf of Mexico go unexploited. We have one thing in common with Iran: We’re not pushing refinery construction here either.

We prattle on about nuclear power being costly and nuclear waste being a danger without a safe place to store it even as we shut down Yucca Mountain, a perfectly safe place to store it. We place all sorts of regulatory and environmental impediments in its way.

Why is nuclear power a viable energy source for Iran but not for America?


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