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Pacific News Service > News > Is Iran Building Nukes? An Economic Analysis (Part 2)

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Is Iran Building Nukes? An Economic Analysis (Part 2)
News Analysis, William O. Beeman and Thomas Stauffer,
Pacific News Service, Jun 27, 2003
The Bush administration argues that nuclear power generation makes no sense for an oil-rich country like Iran, implying that the country's power plants are for arms manufacture. The authors examine the facts. Part 2 of a two- part series.

The furor in Washington over possible nuclear weapons development in Iran is fueled in part because Bush administration officials claim that Iran doesn't need to generate nuclear power. They assert that Iran's nuclear energy program is unnecessary given its oil reserves. Therefore, officials say, its nuclear plants must exist for weapons production.

In fact, for Iran, generating nuclear power makes sense. Moreover, the plans to do this were started decades ago, and with American approval.

Ex-CIA director James Woolsey, in an interview on the PBS program Frontline on Feb. 23, claimed 'there is no underlying (reason) for one of the greatest oil producers in the world to need to get into the nuclear (energy) business.'

At first glance, such logic seems sound. Countries with vast oil reserves also have large reserves of natural gas sitting on top of those reserves. Some years ago, the natural gas was regularly burned off to get at the oil beneath. However, technological advances today make it feasible to use this gas for power generation.

Even so, nuclear power still makes sense in a country with vast amounts of natural gas, particularly given the unusual circumstances in the Iranian hydrocarbons in"

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