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Ahmadinejad in Copenhagen

by MEIR JAVEDANFAR in Tel Aviv

17 Dec 2009 17:5124 Comments
44723_121.jpgAnd Iran's right to nuclear energy.

Today, at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen, the world's cameras will be watching and listening to the words of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Many will want to know what Iran's controversial president has to say about the need to control climate, especially as his own country is the tenth biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

There will also be those who will fear that Ahmadinejad's controversial comments about the Holocaust and his attacks against the West may hijack the main theme of the conference, which is the need to address and solve climate-related issues. This is why Libya did not invite Ahmadinejad to the African Union summit earlier this year. The main heads of African states wanted the participants and the press to focus on Africa's problems. They did not want the discussions to suddenly change, because of President Ahmadinejad's contentious opinions and ideas about Israel and the United States.

It is very possible that these fears will be realized. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad loves the camera. He also loves controversy. His strategy is to steal the limelight away from others, and to divert the entire attention away towards himself, and what he sees as the "Iranian position."

One topic which he will most probably talk about is Iran's right to nuclear energy and its genuine need for it. Despite the lack of confidence in Iran's intentions for its nuclear program, this is one topic where Ahmadinejad would have a point. There is no doubt that nuclear energy is the most viable way for Iran to meet its energy needs, both economically as well as technically.

Iran's total electricity production capacity stands at 33,000 megawatts (MW) -- 75 percent is from natural gas, 18 percent from oil, and 7 percent from hydroelectric power. Meanwhile, due to the fast rate of industrialization and population growth, demand for electricity is growing by 8 percent a year.

Iran has undergone severe droughts in recent years. According to some forecasts, Iran's water problems are only going to get worse in the future. This has meant that instead of producing 6,500 megawatts, Iran's hydroelectric infrastructure has only produced 1500, thus creating a significant shortage.

There have also been severe problems with other sources of energy such as oil and gas, due to decaying infrastructure resulting from embargoes and incompetent management.

This has meant that Tehran, a city of 14 million inhabitants, has on many occasions been plunged into darkness for at least two hours a day. This is why last year Iranian newspapers carried daily schedules outlining the hours when each district would have its electicity cut. Similar problems have been reported in other parts of the country.

The last time there were power cuts in Iran was during the war against Iraq, and for a limited time afterward. Lack of electricity makes the hot summer days for many Iranians unbearable, and causes considerable damage to the economy.

Renewable energies such as solar and wind would not meet Iran's growing energy needs. Nor do gas and oil, as Iran needs to export them in order to earn revenues for its daily needs. This leaves nuclear energy as the only other viable option.

More than any other year, Ahmadinejad will face a tougher challenge to convince the international community that Iran's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. And the international community would be right. It's not just Israel and the U.S. who are suspicious about Iran's nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) too remains doubtful that the Iranian government wants nuclear technology solely for peaceful purposes.

To Iranians, the concept of "hagh" meaning "right" in Persian, is of paramount importance. Many Iranians believe that nuclear energy is their indisputable "hagh." This is true. But what the government of Iran should realize is that the rest of the world has its own "hagh." And that is to be sure that Iran is not going to weaponize. This too, is an indisputable right, because no one wants a regime that talks about the annihilation of another country to have access to such technology.

In the early 80s, the people of Iran did not want Saddam Hussein to have this right, as he was their sworn enemy. And today, the international community does not want the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to have this technology, because it will gravely destabilize the Middle East. President Ahmadinejad should realize that the concept of rights is a knife that cuts both ways. And until such time that he and Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, are unwilling to recognize the international community's rights, they will be hampering the inalienable right of the people of Iran to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

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24 Comments

Rest of the world? Notice how MEIR totally ignores the perspective of NAM, the 118 nation non-aligned movement, and how NAM is in favor of Iran's nuclear rights?

To Meir, "the world" consists of Israel, the US and its pro-Zionist Western allies. Well there's a lot more to "the world" than that, Meir.

Honestly, Tehran Bureau: Iran perspectives from Tel Aviv? What's next, Iran perspectives from Camp Ashraf?

Pirouz / December 17, 2009 6:35 PM

Stability of the Middle East has long been damaged by The sole "Exclusionary democracy" in the region, that has a 400 nuclear warhead arsenal. Today, it's Ahmadinejad who is a threat, yesterday it was Saddam Hussein, before that it was Arafat, before that it was Hafez al-Asad & Naser & on & on.... you see it's a recurring theme, with only one constant, the 10,000 pound elephant in the room.

az / December 17, 2009 8:07 PM

Whether Iran ever needs Nuclear Reactor for electricity generation is the question. I wish the author would just present the supply and demand data and the economical facts.

Iran has the second largest Natural Gas reserves in the world. It can meet all its Electricity needs by Gas Turbines, which are much cheaper and faster to build than nuclear plants. The cost and time to build a 1 GW Gas Turbine electricity plant is a fraction of the equivalent nuclear plant.

Iran currently has 17 such plalnts, if upgraded can provide all energy needs for foreseeable future.

There are no economical justifications for Iran to build nuclear reactors to produce electricity.

Maziar Irani / December 17, 2009 8:26 PM

These last comments by Maziar Irani are very intersting and should be separately addressed by Meir in a separate paper -does Iran even need to develop a nuclear facility for peaceful purposes ?

michael / December 17, 2009 11:29 PM

Iran should not arouse concern. Georgia is the most dangerous flashpoint. The Bible says: "At the appointed time [the king of the north = Russia] will return back [will regain the influence, which it lost after the break-up of the Soviet Union] and come into the south [many indicate that this might be Georgia], but it will not be as the former [1921] or as the latter [2008]. For the dwellers of coastlands of Kittim [the West] will come against him, and he will be humbled, and will return." (Daniel 11:29,30a) Then Iran will be humbled also. "But ships will come from the direction of Kittim, troubling Asshur [Russia] and troubling Eber [inhabiting on the other side the Euphrates]." (Numbers 24:24a, BBE)

At that time, peace will be taken from the earth and the "great sword" - nuclear sword - will be used. (Revelation 6:4) However, it will be neither the great tribulation nor "the end of the world" (Armageddon). As Jesus foretold, that will be "the beginning of birth pains". (Mathew 24:7,8)

If the Heavens planned a full return of Russia (and much suggests this) the present economic crisis will deepen. Then also the European Union and NATO will not stands.

Ewiak Ryszard / December 17, 2009 11:53 PM

Hey, mr. Ewiak, the Bible also says... well, it says... go, and look it yourself, it is "Song of Solomon 7", maybe the bible says much more than you ever read off. And... Maziar... what will happen with your mathematics if in the next years debts with carbon emissions rise that much that no way on profitable gas power generators? what will you forbid the rest of world to get food from?

Eric, the Viking / December 18, 2009 1:20 AM

michael! Maziar's comments just like Meir's Dispatch is red herring. Use of nuclear energy was recommended & it's sale was approved by the US administrations to Iran under the Shah's regime, long before the 1979 revolution in Iran. In fact the Bushehr plant had already been partially built under that regime.

Iran's central argument is this: what law exactly (under the NPT, Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran is a signatory to, but US & Israel are not)has Iran violated in pursuit of nuclear technology??

az / December 18, 2009 1:25 AM

az - You are right. Despite enormous gas/oil reserves Iran exercised her right to develop a nuclear industry to enhance her capabilities. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact prior to 1979 the West competed for Iranian nuclear market. No one country has questioned Iran's right to nuclear technology for the purpose of power generation. The law violated by Iran is called 'Islamic Republic'. 30 years of support for terrorism, both inside and outside the country. Idiotic and irresponsible statements by her political leadership i.e. Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad against other countries and development of long range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to name a few. Consequently, who in his right mind would trust a group of genocidal maniacs that do not hesitate to torture, rape and murder their own people to remain in power? Who in his right mind would trust genocidal maniacs that await a fictitious figure to emerge from a well after 1400 years to chop heads and save the world? Iran's problem is not nukes. Her problem is the Islamic Republic with the nukes.

Farhad / December 18, 2009 3:38 AM

So,as alternative to domestic enrichment, is USA or EU ready to guarantee that nuclear fuel price will not suddenly jump,in fashion of Ukrainian gas bill?

Mladen Matosevic / December 18, 2009 5:28 AM

Well said, Farhad! After 8 years of the Bush-Blair geopolitical farce the weary world yearns for a return to the rule of law, not another group of fundamentalist fanatics who believe their hour has come round at last.

Michael Ricks / December 18, 2009 6:00 AM

Dear Farhad

-"enormous gas/oil" as you know, the estimates are that in 15 years the oil production will only suffice domestic consumption, for an Economy completely dependent on oil revenue.

-"terrorism" I think you should ask the people in the region who has been terrorizing them. Better yet, why not look at the world public opinion as to who is a bigger threat to peace & security.

-"irresponsible statements/genocidal" if you're referring to dismantling of the Jewish State of Israel. The World today simply doesn't tolerate racism anymore & hence replacement of an Apartheid system with a multi-ethnic, multi-racial state, just as has been practiced in the middle east for a thousand years. Furthermore, Ahmadinejad only asks for return of the refugees & holding elections.

"who in right mind..await(ing) a fictitious figure..emerge from a well", don't ask me for names, but maybe the same people accepting a people who believe a fictitious figure "chose" them, designated them a piece of land with an eternal undivided capital (& everybody else has to leave).

az / December 18, 2009 7:18 AM

Meir

Explain to us why Israel a country that has violated more international laws than all UN members combined possesses in excess of 150 nuclear weapon?

Tom / December 18, 2009 7:50 AM


Maziar Irani:

With all due respect, what you say is incorrect.

The question is not what you said. The question is what ADDED VALUE one gets by generating electricity by alternative ways, exporting oil and natural gas and using them in other industries, and then with A FRACTION OF THE INCOME pay for, for example, the nuclear reactors and make a huge profit in the process as well, not to mention not to pollute the environment by carbon.

All the talk about Iran having huge natural gas and, therefore, not needing another energy source, including nuclear is rhetoric and nonsense.

First of all, since 1995 (long before there was talk of Iran's uranium enrichment program), the US has prevented major investment in Iran's NG industry. As a result, it has largely remained undeveloped. Same for the oil industry. So, the arguments of the neocons go like this: Oh, Iran has a lot of oil and NG and does not need nuc but, hey, we don't like Iran, so we prevent investment in its oil & NG industry!

Secondly, 40% of the whatever NG that is produced in Iran is injected into Iran's old oil reservoirs, in order to keep the reservoir's pressure high enough to keep producing oil.

Third, Iran is already producing 75% of its electricity by burning NG, much higher than worldwide average. The percentage right before the Revolution was 8%.

Fourth, Iran has significant petrochemical industry, for which NG is the feedstock. The added value of using NG in the industry, as opposed to burning it or even exporting it, is up to 100%.

Fifth, when over the next two decades, NG replaces oil as the main source of energy for those that do not have oil or NG (look at ExxonMobile spending $40 billion to buy a NG company). That would make Iran the Saudi Arabia of the NG market.

Sixth, as a signatory of the NPT, Iran has the right to the nuc technology, useful to it or not.

Seventh, as a sovereign nation, Iran has the national right to decide how it wants to produce energy for its people. It needs no lecturing or patronizing about it.

Eight, Meir Javedanfar is utterly unqualified to analyze such an important scientific and technological problem, not to mention that he would be speaking in terms of Israel's interest.

So, I would be very cautious when I speak about such issues. Things are not the way you seem to be seeing.

George Stewart / December 18, 2009 10:20 AM

Judging by some of the xenophobic, prejudiced comments about Islamic beliefs, mis and dis-information , I cannot see why any ordinary Iranian would want to support an opposition that might make their fate far worse than what they might have now. It is clear that for most ordinary Iranians life goes on as normal and that the government of the day as compared to other regimes in the area has actually been pretty tolerant. Even in the US, once GWB's election victory was accepted by the Supreme Court by a single vote only and despite good evidence of vote rigging, the Democratic opposition led by Al Gore threw in the towel and accepted the result. I think it is time that the Iranian opposition threw the towel in and worked constructively within Iranian society so next time round a 'reformist' candidate will succeed.

rezvan / December 18, 2009 5:09 PM

Iran wants a nuclear weapon.....PERIOD. All of this talk about nuke power is a lie. Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler. Wake up people!

OldMarine / December 18, 2009 8:45 PM

what the heck African Unity Conference has to do with Iran? So what if Ghadafi did not invite Iran. Look at the map before confusing issues.

moflesol-mamalek / December 18, 2009 9:01 PM

Let's hope for the day that every Iranian owns his or her very own nuclear centrifuge, like one does own a CD Player. We all deserve it.

Russians are taking our natural gas from Caspian Sea and the British are stealing cheap crude oil in the south. All we want is nuclear for all.

Plutonium / December 18, 2009 9:07 PM

It has been, is, and will be the policy of America, that Iran has the right to develop peaceful atomic energy. This technology has inherent dual use capabilities, the same equipment can make the feed stocks for bombs, or light a city. The entire global civilian nuclear industry is regularly monitored to prevent any nation from diverting their peaceful technology to weaponry. The world demands that Iran meet the same requirements as every other nation. And like every nation, Iran must confront those who work to destroy the civilian use of atomic energy. Americans do not wish that Iran be submissive due to our atomic bombs. These weapons exist due to a mutual fear between the USSR, and the USA. Today, roughly half of the fuel in US nuclear power plants, is made from old USSR atomic bombs. There is a glut of this material, and no way that anyone could squeeze Iran for higher prices. Iran has the necessary means to make her own fuel.

Finally, America, and the world, will resist a nuclear armed Iran, even by force. Secretly making the bomb is an act of war.

R. L. Hails Sr. P. E. / December 19, 2009 5:27 AM

Mier,

i wont comment on the Iran's Nuclear rights nor Nejad's controversial speaches as this small comment will not suffice, but i want to turn the readers attention for the Word " International Community" that you have retreited... Would you define us "International Community"..

abdikadir / December 19, 2009 1:29 PM

I believe Meir has it spot on. However the rest of the world analyzes Iran's energy situation, it ought to be unarguable that they have a logical basis for exploring and developing nuclear power plants. I would even say that, given the economic analysis presented by Meir, it is prudent of them to do so...in fact, prudent for most all nations to do so.

There are expedients available that such development of nuclear energy not be used as cover for weaponization. Clearly, Iran is showing bad faith in failing to accept them. But isn't that a side show and quite besides the point?

I don't hold much confidence in the non-proliferation regime and, in any case, Iran has every right to withdraw its commitment to it. As a sovereign nation, does it not have every right to arm itself as it sees fit?

The problem is really that other nations too have the same right to protect their interests as they see fit. Given that Iran has sworn to eradicate the "Zionist entity" from the face of the earth, it is only logical that that entity has the right to remove the capacity of Iran to deliver on that commitment. I don't know whether or not that effort would be successful but I do know that, logically, it is unavoidable unless there is a change of policy in Teheran. There is no right or wrong to this analysis, only logic. Case closed.

Cincinnati Rick / December 19, 2009 9:40 PM

Iran is going to have the bomb within a year, God willing. This will be a great achievement. Iran, not the zionist will then be able to influence events around the world and check american imperalism in the area.

We need the bomb and God willing we will have the bomb.

Radical_Guy / December 20, 2009 8:18 PM

Cincinnati is misquoting AN who has since clarified what he meant. AN and IRI have called a number of times that they are willing to discuss and resolve all issues of difference through peaceful dialogue. Then why employ the language of threats as the hawks in US and Israel regularly do. If I remember correctly was it not Golda Meir who called Israel/Palestine a land without a people for a people without a land. She was one of the Zionist founders of Israel . Is that not an extremist statement. Have Liebermann who is currently a minister and Netenyahu the current Israel PM not made extremist statements about Arabs.

If the world's problems are to be solved then global citizens everywhere need to reign in their politicians. Our leaders should be forced to solve all disputes peacefully around a negotiating table and not inflict wars on their peoples.

rezvan / December 21, 2009 6:47 PM

Iranian islamists have shouted as an official, state-endorsed policy statement: Death to America, and Death to Isreal and Death to anyone, who opposes their inhuman, theocratic fascism - in occordance to this Death-sentence to all opponents, they have occupied the US Embassy 1979 and fire-bomb attacked the Danish Embassy in Tehran 2005 and burnt down the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian embassies in Beirut by their Hizbullah and other proxy armies. They have rocket attacked Israel by their proxy army the Hizbullah and their allies the Hamas etc. and sentenced to death writers and publishers, and carried out those death sentences in many cases. In order to protect World peace against totalitarian expansionism and aggression by fascists, we need to know the enemy: the islamic Iranian state and the islamic Saudi Ariabian states, both major sponsors of not terrorism only, but even regular armies and atom bomb programmes, like the Pakistani islamic atomic bomb project which already produced estimated 100 nuclear bombs. Our own western governments and big corporations are collaborating with these two states as they did with Hitler in 1930-1945 - there we have the core of the problem. They need to review their history books and get back at the negotiation tables with the resolution of Churchil: We should never surrender!
Peace! But also defence of liberty and secular, democratic enlightenment!

Pedram Kazemi-Esfarjani / December 23, 2009 4:51 AM

We SHALL never surrender, said Churcill actually!

Pedram Kazemi-Esfarjani / December 23, 2009 5:00 AM