News / Middle East

Report: Huge Costs, Few Benefits for Nuclear Iran

Technicians work at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, August 23, 2010.
Technicians work at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, August 23, 2010.
Reuters
Iran will pursue its nuclear quest although it has reaped few gains from a totem of national pride that has cost it well over $100 billion in lost oil revenue and foreign investment alone, two think-tanks said on Wednesday.
 
A report by the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Federation of American Scientists said Iran's atomic work could not simply be ended or "bombed away" and that diplomacy was the only way to keep it peaceful.
 
"It is entangled with too much pride — however misguided — and sunk costs simply to be abandoned," the report's authors, Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group and Carnegie's Karim Sadjadpour, said of Iran's five-decade-old nuclear program, which began under the U.S.-allied shah.
 
"Given the country's indigenous knowledge and expertise, the only long-term solution for assuring that Iran's nuclear program remains purely peaceful is to find a mutually agreeable diplomatic solution," the report said.
 
Iran says its nuclear work has medical uses and will produce energy to meet domestic demand and complement its oil reserves.
 
The United States and other states suspect Iran is covertly seeking a nuclear arms capability. Israel has threatened military action to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring atom bombs. Tehran denies pursuing nuclear weapons.
 
The U.S. and its allies have demanded that Iran curb its enrichment of uranium and have imposed increasingly tough sanctions on Iran's energy, banking and shipping sectors that have cut Iranian oil exports by more than half since 2011.
 
Iran and six world powers are due to meet in Kazakhstan this week in hopes of finding a solution to the standoff. Their last meeting in February failed to achieve a breakthrough.
 
Pros and cons

The report, entitled "Iran's Nuclear Odyssey: Costs and Risks," seeks to tabulate the opportunity costs of the nuclear program, and puts these at "well over $100 billion" in terms of lost foreign investment and oil revenues.
 
Relatively small uranium deposits will keep Iran from being fully self-sufficient in nuclear energy, it said, while Tehran has neglected to maintain existing infrastructure and develop other resources that could better secure its energy needs.
 
For instance, Iran's 1,000-megawatt Bushehr nuclear reactor, which came on-stream in 2011 after repeated delays, accounts for just 2 percent of its electricity production, while about 15 percent of "generated electricity is lost through old and ill-maintained transmission lines," the report said.
 
Iran has vast oil and gas reserves, but sanctions have forced major Western firms to abandon the petroleum sector, making crucial upkeep difficult. Iran's solar and wind energy sectors have also gone undeveloped, the report said.
 
"No sound strategic energy planning would prioritize nuclear energy in a country like Iran," the report said.
 
"Instead of enhancing Iran's energy security, the nuclear program has diminished the country's ability to diversify and achieve real energy independence."
 
Public diplomacy recommended

The authors recommended that outside powers engage with Iranians through "grassroots public diplomacy" and make clear what they could gain by compromise.
 
"The Iranian people have been largely absent from the nuclear discussion," they wrote. "While U.S. officials and members of Congress frequently speak of 'crippling sanctions,' they rarely impress upon Iranians the concrete costs of their country's nuclear policies and the potentially myriad benefits of a more conciliatory approach."
 
A lasting deal would have to include commitments by Iran to abstain from activities vital to weapons production, which could give confidence that Iran could continue to enrich uranium to low levels needed for power generation, it said.
 
"There is virtually no chance that Iran will abdicate what it and many developing countries now insist is a right — a right to enrichment," the report said.
 
Negotiators should also discuss less politically charged topics such as nuclear safety cooperation and alternative energy options for Iran, "increasing the chances of breaking free of zero-sum games and creating win-win opportunities," it said.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs