Frontline World

Iran - Going Nuclear, May 2005

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Synopsis of "Going Nuclear"

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People, Economy, Government, Nuclear Iran

Iran's Nuclear Program, Nuclear Proliferation, Media Resources, Blogs and Commentary


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Should any country be allowed to build nuclear plants?


Links and Resources

• General Background
• Iran's Nuclear Program
• Nuclear Proliferation
• Media Resources
• Blogs and Commentary

General Background

"Forbidden Iran"
Frontline/World correspondent Jane Kokan reports on the theocratic Iranian regime's crackdown on students, journalists and other sources of opposition. Kokan talks to dissidents in London and Amsterdam, and travels undercover in Iran to trace the steps of Zahra Kazemi, the Canadian journalist killed by Iranian security forces in July 2003.

BBC Country Profile
This BBC NEWS profile includes a timeline of the past century in Iran, a short biography of current president Mohammad Khatami and an overview of media in Iran.

CIA World Factbook: Iran
Approximately 68 million people live in the 30 provinces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a country slightly larger than the state of Alaska. With estimated oil reserves exceeding 130 billion barrels, Iran produces about 4 million barrels of oil per day. Learn more about the economy and people in the CIA's World Factbook on Iran.

UT Library Online
The University of Texas at Austin has archived a number of CIA-created maps detailing Iran's regions and cities.

Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran
This is the official Web site, in English, of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's chief of state.

Iran Index
This comprehensive, independently produced Web guide organizes Iran-related background and links by topic. Subject headings include government, society and culture, history and national heritage, arts and entertainment, literature, and news and media.

Terror and Tehran
This 2002 FRONTLINE documentary on PBS examined President George W. Bush's inclusion of Iran in the "axis of evil" and looked at relations between the United States and Iran. The accompanying Web site includes an overview of Iran's government and political system and a look at election outcomes from 1997 through 2001.

The Story of the Revolution
This is a four-part radio series about the Islamic Revolution of 1979 produced by the BBC Persian Service with text in English.

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Iran's Nuclear Program

Iran: Nuclear Negotiations
Since October 2003, three European nations have been trying to persuade Iran to cease efforts to enrich uranium for a nuclear reactor. The Council on Foreign Relations Web site chronicles the dramatic developments and diplomatic brinkmanship leading up to the apparent unraveling of the negotiations in May 2005. This nonpartisan center's site also contains background information on Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Nuclear Threat Initiative: Iran Profile
This country profile provides an overview of Iran's nuclear capacity, which includes research reactors and two partially constructed power reactors at Bushehr. The site also includes a chronology of Iran's nuclear history from 1957, when the United States helped the shah start Iran's nuclear energy program, until 2005, after the international community pressured Iran to stop temporarily its efforts to produce nuclear fuel. Nuclear Threat Initiative, founded by Ted Turner and former Senator Sam Nunn to address proliferation issues, also provides links to other reports and papers regarding Iran and weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran
Since 2002, when revelations emerged that Iran had been developing a secret nuclear program for almost 20 years, European powers have been trying to persuade Iran to cease production of nuclear fuel, a process that can also be used to make fuel for nuclear weapons. During negotiations, the United Nations' nuclear cooperation arm, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspected nuclear facilities in Iran. In addition to reports and resolutions, the IAEA Web site on Iran includes remarks by Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and a timeline of key events marking the agency's amassing of information about Iran's nuclear activities.

IAEA Resolution of Nov. 2004
This resolution (in PDF format) adopted by the IAEA on Nov. 29, 2004, welcomes Iran's decision to temporarily suspend its uranium enrichment program while engaged in negotiations with France, Britain and Germany. The resolution reiterates IAEA's recognition of nations' rights to develop nuclear energy programs but also stresses the need for effective safeguards to prevent nuclear material from being used for weapons.

"Iran Seeks More Centrifuges"
This May 3, 2005, article on the ABC News Web site includes a link to a proposal from Iran during negotiations with Germany, Britain and France. The document provides a glimpse of what was on the table during the negotiations surrounding Iran's nuclear program. For example, Iran proposes passing legislation declaring that it would not produce nuclear weapons while the European Union (EU) would pledge to guarantee Iran access to European markets.

"Iran Leaves the World Guessing"
This BBC News analysis looks at the uncertainty created in May 2005, when Iran declared that it would soon restart enriching uranium, and European powers countered with their own threats of reporting Iran to the U.N. Security Council for being in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran
Iran's official nuclear agency, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was established in 1973. The Web site includes a brief overview of the organization, which oversees nuclear fuel production, regulation, power plants, research, regulation, planning and education.

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Nuclear Proliferation

Tracking Nuclear Proliferation
This comprehensive package on the Web site of PBS's NewsHour follows nuclear issues from the first atomic bomb tests in 1945 to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in May 2005. The feature includes an interactive map and a timeline that tracks the attempts of individual nations to build nuclear weapons over the last half century. The site also archives NewHour reports on nuclear issues.

2005 NPT Review Conference
In 1995, the nations in the NPT agreed to expand its terms indefinitely. At the 2000 NPT Review Conference, the parties to the treaty agreed to a list of 13 recommendations to better achieve the goals set out in the NPT. Read more on the official Web site of the conference.

"The Rise of a New Axis?"
In this May 2005 posting on YaleGlobal Online, nonproliferation expert Leonard S. Spector warns of the possibility of a nuclear relationship between Iran and North Korea, which could enhance both nations' nuclear programs. Spector argues that North Korea could become the world's main source of nuclear proliferation following the shutdown of the clandestine nuclear technology trading network connected to Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
On March 5, 1970, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons came into force, signed by 43 nations, including the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain. Since then, nearly 190 countries have become part of the treaty. This U.S. State Department link includes a history and full text of the treaty, which was meant to provide a political and legal barrier to the spread of nuclear weapons while allowing for the growth of peaceful nuclear energy.

"Proliferation Unbound: Nuclear Tales from Pakistan"
In the late 1980s, the man who became Pakistan's top nuclear scientist acquired centrifuge blueprints from Europe and established a clandestine network to feed Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. The scientist, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, became a national hero. This research story by the Center of Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies chronicles how Khan and his associates spread nuclear technology, equipment and advice to Iran, North Korea and Libya until as late as 2003.

"The Double Life of Asher Karni"
Frontline/World correspondent Mark Schapiro follows the story of a former Israeli military officer, living in South Africa, accused of exporting equipment to Pakistan that could be used in the production of nuclear weapons.

"Flirting with Armageddon: Welcome to a New Arms Race"
This Feb. 20, 2005, article in the British Observer, posted here on the U.K. Guardian Web site, discusses how the end of the Cold War did not stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

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Media Resources

Proliferation News and Resources
The news archive page at Proliferation News and Resources links to various sources for the latest nuclear proliferation-related news. The site is produced by the nonpartisan Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The Weapons of Mass Destruction page at -- a site produced by a defense and research organization in Virginia -- posts frequently updated links to news about WMD.

Tehran Times
This English-language newspaper in Tehran tends to support a hard-line pro-government view.

The Iran Daily
The English-language reformist newspaper offers PDF versions of past editions.

The Islamic Republic News Agency
This is the English version of Iran's official news agency.

The Payvand Iran News
This Web site posts breaking news about Iran from various Iranian and Western news sources.

News Links
This comprehensive directory of Iran media sources includes links to dozens of newspapers, radio stations and television stations.

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Blogs and Commentary

Blogs by Iranians
This is a list of Iranian-related blogs divided into "insiders" (those written by people living in Iran) and "outsiders" (written by Iranians and Iran observers living overseas). (Some of the blogs listed are down.)

Weblog on Iran, Technology and Pop Culture
This blog, created by Iranian journalist Hossein Derakhshan, was one of the first Iranian blogs. Derakhshan, who now lives in Canada, also provides links to several other Iranian blogs that are produced in English as well as Farsi.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translates media reports into English for its analyses and dispatches about the region. The site's Iran page includes accounts of Iranian reaction to nuclear negotiations as well as translated dialogue from Virtuous Zealot, a television drama about a truck driver who encounters American soldiers while delivering medicine to Iraq.

International Views on NPT Review Conference
As the May review conference on the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons began, the U.S. State Department put together this summary of media opinion in 42 reports from 21 countries. Western media outlets attacked North Korea and Iran for their "flagrant violations" of the treaty, while critics of the United States accused it of "hypocrisy and [having] double standards."

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