Iran’s Nuclear Program
Iran’s nuclear program was reactivated by the early 1990s, probably to ensure that Iran would never be as defenceless again as the country had been during its war with Iraq (1980-1988). At that time, the regime of Saddam Hussein had used non-conventional weapons (chemical, biological) on a large scale against the Iranian armed forces and had threatened to use these against major densely populated areas in Iran as well.
Over the years the program has turned into an issue of national pride. Nevertheless, taking into consideration the time that has passed (and the fact that the American nuclear Manhattan Project during World War II only required three years from inception to the day when the first bomb was tested) progress has been surprisingly slow. Whether this is due to technical problems or other factors is not known.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been closely monitoring Iran, against which Western countries have ordered sanctions. The tension escalated in February 2006, when the IAEA as a whole reported Iran to the UN Security Council. In October 2009, Iran agreed to send enriched uranium to Russia. In June 2011, former Iranian President Ahmadinejad announced that his country would continue to enrich uranium. Debate over Iran’s nuclear program remains the focal point in relations between Iran and the US and its European allies.
Fanack offers a special file on Iran’s and other Nuclear Programs in the region.
- Israel’s nuclear program dates back to the early years of the state. Apart from scientific research, the program is almost entirely military in nature.
- Iran’s nuclear program dates back to the 1970s when Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi decided that oil in the ground was better than dollars in the bank
- The Iraqi nuclear program dates back to the 1970s. The means by which Iraq tried to obtain nuclear weapons were diverse. In 1976, France sold Iraq a 40 megawatt test reactor called the Tammuz-1 reactor, or Osirak. The reactor was designed to run on highly...
- Though Egypt has long had the financial resources and technical expertise to build a reactor, during the 1980s it all but suspended its nuclear program.
- Partly by way of a reaction to the above-described Israeli and Iranian programs, in recent years several other Middle Eastern countries have expressed interest in this question.
- Looking back on the history of the Middle East, the political-military impact of the various nuclear programs, both the Israeli one (which according to all reports has borne fruit) and the rest (which have not yet done so) has been considerable.