Iran says their Nuclear Program is for Generating Electricity and Powering Merchant Marine Ships

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 15th, 2012

Week in review

First they wanted to develop nuclear power to generate electricity.  Now they want to make nuclear-powered merchant marine ships (see Iran parliamentary committee approves construction of nuclear-powered merchant ships by Associated Press posted 7/15/2012 on The Washington Post).

A Iranian parliamentary committee has approved a bill requiring the government to design nuclear-powered merchant ships and provide them with nuclear fuel, an Iranian news agency reported Sunday.

The bill appears to be a symbolic gesture to bolster Tehran’s argument that it has a right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. The West suspects Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at developing weapons technology, a charge Tehran denies.

Nuclear-powered vessels other than warships are rare, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has said in the past that nuclear-powered merchant ships would be uneconomical…

The West has raised concerns that Iran might cite submarine and other nuclear-powered vessel construction as a justification for producing weapons-grade 90 percent enriched uranium.

A nuclear-powered merchant marine ship?  Gee, I wonder how much the Somali pirates would get for one of those?

I would not allow an Iranian nuclear-powered ship of any kind anywhere close to U.S. territorial waters.  Imagine letting a nuclear reactor melt down in a U.S. harbor.  That would bump Three Mile Island, Fukushima and Chernobyl down the list of worst nuclear ‘accidents’.  I put ‘accidents’ in quotations because with the Iranians it probably wouldn’t be an accident.

This would just give the Iranians an opportunity to work on nuclear propulsion systems.  If successful (and if they have the funding and the resources) they will transform that technology into a warship.  Or a submarine.

Or perhaps they won’t do any of this.  They may just develop a nuclear weapon under the guise of producing weapons-grade material for ‘peaceful’ purposes.  And once they have it they’ll put it in a bomb.

The real question is how long are we going to let the Iranians down this road?  Far enough that they can threaten Israel, the U.S. and our friends and allies with a nuclear capability?  This is what we worried Saddam Hussein would do if left in power in Iraq.  He wanted to stay in power.  At any price.  So he could oppress his people.  And perhaps his neighbors.  What’s scarier with the Iranian leadership (NOT the Iranian people) is that their main goal does not appear to be in this life.  But in the next.  Which means nuclear retaliation and annihilation may not dissuade them.  Not if they get to take out their enemies first.

Perhaps the greatest foreign policy failure of the Obama administration was not helping the Iranian people during the Green Revolution following the 2009 Iranian presidential election.  It’s particularly sad because we didn’t help these good people but we did help the Muslim Brotherhood rise to power in Egypt.  And helped al Qaeda rise to power in Libya.  The so-called Arab Spring.  Which was more about the rise of Islamism than the rise of Democracy.  While we did nothing to support a real Democracy movement (the Green Revolution) in Iran.  One shudders to think of the consequences of this foreign policy blunder.  Especially now that the Iranians are aggressively pursuing a nuclear program.

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