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

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora