Since in 2002 came to light that for more than a decade Iran developed secretly a nuclear program despite the fact that as a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons it was obliged to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of all its activities in this field, the Iranian nuclear program has become a political affair on two levels, namely the domestic and foreign one. Iranian politicians use it as a part of its populist armoury labelling it the source of “national pride and the means of the modernisation and diversification of energy sources”. Nevertheless, foreign countries speculate on the possible abuse of its nuclear potential for military purposes.
In 1970, Iran ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which permits it to produce nuclear weapons and to try to obtain them in another way. However, regular reports of inspections made by international organisations and intelligence services disclose, Iran doesn’t abide by this treaty, to say the least. Although uranium enrichment, which the Islamic republic isn’t willing to give up by any means, isn’t banned explicitly by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the International Community strives to stop it. It is the degree of uranium enrichment which determines whether “solely innocuous fuel” for nuclear power plants (enriched up to a 4 per cent level maximum) or a highly enriched compound (90 per cent) applicable in nuclear warheads will be produced.
Iran and the need of nuclear energy
The Iranian Government has been affirming since 1950’s that its nuclear program has exclusively a peaceful character and its only goal is to develop the capacities for nuclear energy and electricity production. Iran plans to generate 6,000 MW of electricity from nuclear energy from 2010 (1). Yet in 2006, however, the share of nuclear energy in overall Iranian energy production amounted to zero.
According to the representatives of the Iranian Government the civil nuclear program is vital for the country in view of its rapid demographic growth and industrialisation. Nonetheless, Iranian industrialisation speed is relative due to economic sanctions and a bad allocation of resources. Anyway, in the course of last twenty years, the number of inhabitants has been more than doubled. The country with the third biggest explored oil resources (10 per cent of world resources) and the second largest earth gas resources (15 per cent) has to import regularly petrol and electricity in order to cover its energy needs. On the one hand its consumption of these raw materials grows perpetually, but on the other hand their extraction deteriorates owing to the shrinking reserves of Iranian oil, the total depletion of which is estimated by the Iranian Oil Ministry at the end of this century (the statement of the Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs Hadi Nejad-Hoseinian dated 10th October, 2005) (2), and the insufficient input of new technologies. Not only does Iran import one third of domestic petrol consumption, it even has to import gas for the only thermal gas power plant on the coast of the Caspian Sea. In this way, despite the income from oil sale accounting for around 80 per cent out of all government incomes, approximately one sixth of this money is immediately spent on the purchase of refined oil products. These are subsidised by the Government and sold below cost to domestic population encouraging thus constant consumption growth. On 16th February, the Government earmarked three billion dollars to this end in the state budget for next year. Paradoxically, last year the Iranian Government committed itself to build a new refinery in Indonesia instead of restoring its national capacities and thus becoming self-sufficient, which would have been probably cheaper than the nuclear program in the final analysis. However, Iran argues that it needs a new energy source. Apart form this, civil nuclear power engineering, which would be the first of its kind in the region of the Middle East, is in a symbolic level perceived to be a crucial step towards the modernisation of the country and the acquisition of the status of a regional power. Exactly from this point of view the Iranian nuclear program is presented inwards as well as outwards as the question of national pride. Nonetheless, in this connection at least two questions arise: Why has Iran concealed its national pride for almost twenty years? Is it just the civil nuclear power engineering which is capable of ensuring a power status for a country?
The chronology of the development of Iranian nuclear program
The Iranian nuclear program was launched in 1950’s during the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi with the assistance of the US and later also Europe. Yet in 1957, the US signed bilateral treaties on the development of civil nuclear program in terms of the initiative “Atoms for Peace”. During the rule of Pahlavi, who became Shah in 1953 after the toppling of Mohammad Mossadek with the assistance of CIA, the Iranian regime was perceived as sufficiently stable and friendly to the West and didn’t pose a threat of nuclear proliferation in western perception. In 1959, the Teheran Nuclear Research Centre (TNRC) was established. It was controlled by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) (3). The centre was equipped with one 5 MW research nuclear reactor processing highly enriched uranium supplied by the Americans which was put into operation in 1967 (4). This reactor has been in operation in the area of Amir-Abad in Teheran till now.
Iran became the signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) (5) in 1968. This was ratified by the Parliament in 1970. Pahlavi planned to construct with the assistance of the US 23 nuclear power plants throughout the country up to 2000 and to generat in them at least 23,000 MW of electricity till 1994 saving thus domestic oil reserves. To this end the Iranian Energy Act was adopted in 1974. Besides other things it regulated activities owing to which the AEOI was found. These activities included the utilisation of nuclear energy and radioactivity within industry, agriculture and services, the construction of nuclear power plants and desalters, the production of materials inevitable for these projects, the establishment of the necessary scientific and technical infrastructure and the coordination as well as the control of all activities linked with the development of the country’s nuclear program (6).
Bushehr, the first power plant, was supposed to supply energy to the town of Shiraz. The construction contract valued at 4 – 6 billion dollars was given to the German company Kraftwerk Union AG (the partenariate of the companies Siemens AG and AEG Telefunken). The company ThyssenKrupp was entrusted with the construction of two 1,196 MW blocs that was supposed to be finished in 1981.
In 1975, the US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger signed the National Security Decision Memorandum 292 titled “US-Iran Nuclear Cooperation” encompassing the details of the sale of nuclear facilities which was to make a profit of more than 6 million dollars for US companies. That time, Iran used to extract more than 6 million barrels of oil per day in comparison with the current daily extraction of 4 million barrels.
In 1976, US President Gerald Ford signed a provision offering Teheran the possibility of utilising a used nuclear fuel conversion facility of US production which enabled to extract plutonium from fuel. The objective of the treaty was to enable Iran to direct the entire atom cycle with all risks in terms of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction that could have been triggered by this sale. Henry Kissinger denied any risks connected with the proliferation. The Americans hoped for the cutting down on Iranian oil and petrochemical products consumption and the setting free of larger amounts for export (7).
Iranian Revolution stood for the decisive milestone in terms of the collaboration with foreign countries. The program was ceased temporarily after the revolution in 1979. Ayatollah Khomeini labelled it as non-Islamic at first, although he changed his mind later. The United States, which were supposed to supply nuclear fuel to Iran in accordance with contracts signed prior to the revolution, rejected to supply goods as well as to return the already paid billions of dollars. Also the contract with Kraftwerk Union on the construction of the power plant in Bushehr in 1975 was voided due to the company’s backing out and its withdrawal from the country. The construction works were terminated in January 1979 and in July 1979 the company abandoned the country. The backing out on the contract was justified by Teheran’s default on debts amounting to 450 million dollars. Germany also refused to export necessary equipment and to return the already paid 2.5 billion dollars (8). The first of the Bushehr reactors remained half finished, as for the second one 85 per cent were completed. (In 1984, Kraftwerk Union examined the possibility of finishing the project. However, it refrained from it due to the Iran-Iraq War. Afterwards, the reactors were damaged by several Iraqi air raids in the period from 1984 to 1988. In 1990, Iran began to look for partners for the completion of the project. Owing to the ruling political regime and US economic sanctions, only an infinitesimal amount of subjects interested appeared.)
The French company Framatome, the firm Areva’s daughter company, withdrew from Iran too. After 1979, France rejected to provide Iran with enriched uranium like the US had done. Teheran was granted rights to uranium yet in 1975 by entering the company Eurodif (established in 1973 by France, Belgium, Spain and Sweden) via the French-Iranian company dealing with uranium enrichment Sofidif (Société franco-iranienne pour l´enrichissement de l´uranium par diffusion gazeuse in which Iran had a 40 per cent share). Iran gained a 10 per cent share in Eurodif and in 1975 it lent one billion (in 1977 other 180 million) dollars to the company for the construction of a new plant securing thus the right to the purchase of 10 per cent of enriched uranium production. After the revolution, Iran attempted to exact the lent money, for instance, by means of a kidnapping of French citizens through the organisation Hezbollah and assassinations in French territory in the period from 1985 to 1986 (9). The Eurodif company manager Georges Besse was killed by militant extremists from the organisation Action Directe in 1986. It was not until 1991 that an agreement was reached. France paid more than 1.6 billion dollars to Iran, which kept its share in Eurodif and gave up its right to enriched uranium produced by this company (10).
At the beginning of 1980’s, Teheran informed again the International Atomic Energy Agency about the intention to re-launch nuclear program utilising own enriched nuclear fuel and building a new reactor for nuclear technologies in Isfahan. In 1983, the IAEA even planned cooperation with Iran in terms of the technical assistance program, however, under US pressure it terminated this program. Thus the Iranian atomic program was re-launched with the assistance of the Soviet Union, China, South Africa and North Korea. The War in Iraq in the period from 1980 to 1988, when an international embargo was put on Iran as well as the purchase and sale of weapons, and the use of chemical weapons by the regime of Saddam Hussein were according to the IAEA probably the primary impulse behind the launch of military nuclear program around 1984.
Iran commenced negotiations with the Soviet Union in 1990. In 1995, it signed an 800 million dollars contract with the Russian Federation on the finishing of the Bushehr power plant, i.e. the installation of a 1,000 MW nuclear reactor in bloc I which was supposed to end as early as 2007. Nevertheless, the closing date was continually postponed (11). The completion of bloc II isn’t in the pipeline at present.
In 1996, the US sought to prevent China from selling uranium enrichment facility to Teheran, but without success. Originally, China was to build the facility, however, under US pressure it backed out on the project. However, Iran informed the IAEA that it would finish the construction itself. In his State of the Union Address on 29th January, 2002, US President George Bush included Iran in the so-called “Axis of evil” along with the then Iraq, Syria and North Korea.
On 14th August, 2002, the Iranian dissident Alireza Djafarzadeh notified the IAEA that he suspected the Iranian Government of carrying out secretly nuclear research. He mentioned two concrete nuclear facilities, namely the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz and heavy water facility in Arak, which were later confirmed by IAEA inspection. On 16th June, 2003, the IAEA came to the conclusion that Iran hadn’t yielded exact information about its activities and held back the presence of radioactive material and technologies for its processing at undeclared spots intentionally (12). Anyway, the IAEA didn’t speak of the breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Although Iran was charged with the concealment of its uranium enrichment program and the violation of the treaty, the fact remains that according to the valid rules Teheran hadn’t been obliged to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency about these facilities. It even had been obliged neither to inform nor to endorse any IAEA inspection in the new nuclear facility sooner than six moths before the insertion of radioactive material.
During the second Preparatory Committee session tackling the Non-Proliferation Treaty on 29th April, 2003, the representative of Iran proclaimed: “We (Iran) consider the acquisition, development and utilisation of nuclear weapons inhuman, immoral, illegal and at variance with our fundamental principles. There is no place for them in the Iranian defence doctrine”. Notwithstanding this statement, in August 2003 the opposition expressed its suspicion that illegal nuclear experiments were carried out at the Revolutionary Guards base Lavizan-Shian. Unfortunately, before the inspection arrived in the place, the area had been razed to the ground. Even soil was exchanged in the area (13). When on 9th September, 2003 the IAEA warned Iran that it was under obligation to clarify some disputable questions, for example, where the traces of enriched uranium came from, Iran responded that it was a “contamination form abroad” (14). Subsequently, the IAEA voiced a concern that the information provided by Teheran is incomplete and untrue. It invited it to submit complete and true information about its activities and to stop uranium enrichment by 31st October (15). Teheran’s reaction was negative. Iran took the position of a victim of extremely strict safety measures restricting its right to the peaceful utilisation of nuclear energy (16).
In spite of previous concerns and warnings, the IAEA maintained on 31st October that Iran submitted a “complete” description of the nuclear program and after its examination the agency declared that there weren’t any proofs of Iran pursuing the construction of a nuclear weapon. Washington deemed the IAEA report “unbelievable”, however, the UN respected facts contained in it (17). As early as 19th January, 2004, IAEA inspectors found unreported parts of the Pakistani P2 centrifuges applicable in the uranium enrichment process for military purposes (18). Pakistani Prime Minister Parviz Musharaf confirmed the sale of nuclear weapons production technology to Iran on 24th January, 2004. Nonetheless, he ruled out the country’s share of this business and said that the investigation of Pakistani researchers was under way. Among these was also the father of Pakistani atomic bomb Abdul Kadir Chan (19). After Kadir Chan’s confession of selling the construction technology to Iran, he was made redundant and tried on 2nd February, 2004. Later, he was pardoned by President Musharaf (20). On 8th March, 2004, the IAEA accused Iran that notwithstanding the agreements, it resumed enriching uranium and developing nuclear weapons (21).
On 14th June, 2004, the IAEA Director General Mohammad El Baradej charged Iran with “less than acceptable” cooperation in the investigation of its nuclear program. In July 2004, Teheran really broke the agreements by removing IAEA seals from centrifuges in Natanz and restoring the production of centrifuge parts used for uranium enrichment (22).On 24th August, the Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharazi said in response to the statements of the Chief Commander of Israeli Army Moshe Ya´alon that Iran would answer by force if Israel or any other country attempted to pre-emptive bombardment of its nuclear facilities. On 18th September 2004, taking this statement into account the IAEA adopted unilaterally a resolution exhorting Iran to stop all activities connected with uranium enrichment in response to which Iran stated that it would proceed with the enrichment of the bought 37 tonnes (23).
Owing to the strengthening of international pressure, from US side in particular, Iran signed an agreement with the European Union represented by the United Kingdom, France and Germany (EU-3) in November 2004 on the basis of which it interrupted activities linked with uranium enrichment. Subsequently on 14th November, 2004, the main Iranian nuclear negotiator announced an interim voluntary cessation to the uranium enrichment program (it was voluntary because the enrichment itself isn’t considered a breach of the NNPT) and the next day, on 15th November, 2004, Iran signed a treaty with EU-3 according to which it committed itself not to continue in enrichment. Thus it complied with the requirement of the IAEA that threatened Teheran with sanctions under US pressure.
In June 2005, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice affirmed that the IAEA director should have toughened up his attitude, otherwise he shouldn’t have been elected agency director for the third time. After the meeting between Rice and El Baradej on 9th June, the US took back the objection against his candidacy. El Baradej was re-elected on 13th June (24).
On 8th August, 2005, i.e. five days after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected President, the Iranian Government restored uranium enrichment in the facility in Isfahan, although uranium enrichment had been officially ceased and the head of the Iranian Republic Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa prohibiting the production, storage and utilisation of nuclear weapons on 9th August. Ali Laridjani was designated as the main nuclear negotiator on 15th August. At the UN Summit on 15th September, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that according to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty “Iran has right” to own technologies enabling the realisation of the entire nuclear fuel processing cycle. He at the same time put forward a compromise proposal allowing foreign companies to invest and cooperate in its nuclear program. This should have guaranteed that the program wouldn’t be abused secretly for weapons production. Most of US delegation left the negotiation hall during his speech and the remaining US delegates opposed the proposal (25). On 19th September, 2005, the EU started to press the IAEA to submit the question of Iranian nuclear program to the UN Security Council for negotiation.
On 5th November, 2005, the Iranian Government endorsed the plan facilitating foreign investors to participate in activities in the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz and permitted the IAEA to take measures to support national and foreign investments in this sector (26).
On 19th November, 2005, the IAEA released a report on Iran preventing UN nuclear inspectors to visit the area known as the Parchina military complex for the second time. However, it didn’t have the legal obligation to enable inspections there. On 4th February, 2006, at the suggestion of EU-3 and the US 35 members of the IAEA Board of Governors approved the submission of Iran to the Security Council, with 27 voted in favour, and 3 against (5 members abstained, namely Algeria, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya and South Africa). Venezuela, Syria and Cuba voted against (27). Ahmadinejad answered on 11th February that he would back out on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the case of growing international pressure. On 30th March, the Security Council gave Iran a 30 day ultimatum demanding the termination of uranium enrichment and the restoration of cooperation with the IAEA disrupted by Iran after the submission of its case to the Council. The next day one of the deputies of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) said that Iran will by no means yield up the enrichment. Subsequently on 4th April, 2006, Iran requested the withdrawal of its “peace” nuclear program form Security Council agenda and its return to IAEA competences. Simultaneously the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry refused other random controls since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Additional Protocol signed on 18th December, 2008, which entitled the IAEA to random collection of soil and other materials’ samples, free accession of the inspectors to the country and random controls of any official as well as suspicious facilities, wasn’t ratified in the Parliament and Iran backed out on it (28).
In January 2006, the book by the New York Times journalist James Risen State of War was published. In the book he claims that in February 2000 a secret US operation called Operation Merlin ended unsuccessfully the aim of which was to furnish Iran with fake plans for the construction of a nuclear weapon and thus hamper Iranian nuclear program. Instead of that the plan facilitated the speeding up of the program because it contained besides identifiable erroneous and incorrect data also useful information which Iran hadn’t possessed until then (29).
On 11th April, 2006, the former President Ali Akbar Rashemi Rafsandjani maintained that Iran began to enrich uranium notwithstanding international appeals to terminate enrichment and research. President Ahmadinejad made a statement for Iranian media that “Iran has become the member of the club of countries possessing nuclear technologies” and that “international pressure will by no means affect the progress in the development of nuclear technologies for peace purposes”. The next day the Head of Iranian nuclear program Mohammad Saidi stated that Iran managed to enrich uranium up to 3,56 per cent by means of 164 centrifuges. Uranium of such a quality could be used in sufficient amount in a nuclear reactor. For the construction of an atomic bomb, however, uranium must be enriched up to 90 per cent by the utilisation of several thousands of centrifuges. Saidi said that they wanted to increase the number of centrifuges up to 3,000 whereas the final number that they wished to achieve was 54 000. On that occasion Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared for Iranian state television that “the West will have to bow to Iranian people and apologise for delaying its nuclear program by three years”. He also added that “if the US doesn’t give up its tactic of pressure and intimidation, all nations of the world will shout “death to America and death to Israel”… if you don’t return to the genuine belief in one God, you will burn in the fire of nations’ anger” (30). After the statement of US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on 12th April, 2006, that the UN Security Council should take strict measures and force in this way Iran to surrender its nuclear ambitions, President Ahmadinejad expressed himself that Iran wouldn’t stop uranium enrichment and that the world should have begun to perceive Iran as a nuclear power adding “our response to all who are dissatisfied that Iran succeeds gradually in pulling off the whole process of nuclear fuel extraction can be summed up by saying a single sentence: Be angry with us and die from this anger” because “we won’t discuss about the right of Iranian nation to enrich uranium with anybody” (31).
The UN Security Council’s ultimatum on the basis of which Iran was supposed to stop enrichment expired on 28th April, 2006. Not only didn’t Iran stop its research, it even announced its further development towards the utilisation of more advanced and faster centrifuges. Iran said clearly that “it will carry on enriching uranium at all cost”, its “nuclear program is irreversible”, “it doesn’t give a tinker’s cuss about UN resolution” and didn’t dread sanctions because they would do more harm to other states than the Islam Republic (32). On 2nd June, 2006, the US National Intelligence director declared that Iran would be able to produced an atomic weapon in the period between 2010 and 2015 (33).
At Teheran’s insistence, the IAEA main inspector Chris Charlier was dismissed from his function in July 2006 because he didn’t yield to the pressure and didn’t conclude Iranian protocol by claiming that Iran didn’t develop nuclear weapons. He wasn’t capable of ruling it out with certainty (34). In spite of that on 31st July, 2006, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1696 which ordered Iran to cease uranium enrichment by 31st August, 2006 under the threat of the implementation of sanctions. The Resolution 1696 was followed up by Resolution 1737 adopted on 23rd December, 2006, which limited the free movement of goods and capital in relation to Iran. It pertained to the supplies of goods, technologies and material included in the list of Missile Technology Control Regime (MCTR) items S/2006/814 and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) items S/2006/815, the provision of technical assistance, the training of Iranian citizens and the import of these items from Iran.
On 23rd March, 2007, the UN Security Council adopted another resolution, namely 1747, which followed the resolution 1737 and imposed new sanction measures including the countries’ duty to prevent persons directly involved in Iranian nuclear program or supporting Iranian nuclear activities the entry into their territories as well as transit through them. This resolution also added in the list of sanctioned subjects other natural persons and legal entities involved in Iranian nuclear and missile program putting financial embargo, which had been imposed already by the resolution 1737, on these subjects as well. Notwithstanding the resolutions, on 9th April 2007, President Ahmadinejad stated officially that the uranium enrichment program entered “its industrial stage” (351). In August 2007, Iran introduced a new mass-produced “intelligent bomb” Kasid (Herald) (36). In September, Iran announced that 3,000 pieces of P1 centrifuges intended for uranium enrichment had been already put into operation. In December, President Ahmadinejad said that Iran would need for its nuclear program as many as 50,000 centrifuges if it wanted to supply fuel to a nuclear power plant for one year (37).
In October 2007, owing to alleged disputes with President, Ali Laridjani resigned as the Secretary General of the Iranian National Security Council which was in charge of negotiations about the nuclear program. He was replaced by the then Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for European and US Affairs Said Djalili. The spokesperson of the Iranian Government said that Laridjani wanted to devote himself to other political activities. Lots of analysts claimed that Laridjani and Ahmadinejad were often in dispute over further steps as regards the international crisis connected with the nuclear program, although both of them were against its termination (38). The official reason was Laridjani’s media statement concerning the unspecified proposal which had been allegedly put forward to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by Russian President Vladimir Putin during his vernal visit to Iran and which was denied by Ahmadinejad (and Moscow didn’t comment it). As the former culture minister, state television director, Hezbollah spokesperson and the current deputy of Ayatollah Khamenei in the Iranian Parliament Laridjani wasn’t a rookie in this field, this reason seems to be far-fetched. More probable is that Teheran resorted to the so-called Khatami strategy. In 2005, Ahmadinejad replaced Khatami rejecting subsequently the fulfilment of the treaties with EU-3 signed by Khatami in 2002 and 2005 through which the former president bound Iran not to continue in uranium enrichment. This time Laridjani brought Iran under obligation by a treaty on close cooperation with the IAEA. Teheran had resorted to the substitution of diplomats and nuclear negotiators many times with the aim of destabilising the ongoing negotiations. The question remains why Laridjani wasn’t replaced by his deputy Djavad Vaidi but Said Djalili who hadn’t taken part in negotiations up to that time.
On 25th October, 2007, the United States announced that they imposed harder sanctions on Iran with the aim of forcing it to stop nuclear program. The objective of the new embargo, which pertained predominantly to the Revolutionary Guards and Al-Kuds troops, which belonged to the regime’s elite troops and were controlled directly by the spiritual leader Ali Khamenei, was to isolate Iran as much as possible. The US accuse the Revolutionary Guards of spreading weapons of mass destruction and Al-Kuds troops of upholding terrorism. The latest sanctions have been the most severe ones implemented on Iran since 1979 and simultaneously the first measures of this type aimed against the military forces of another state. The main Iranian negotiator Said Djalili refused the sanctions claiming that they were nothing new and that they wouldn’t influence the country’s nuclear policy in any way, like the previous ones (39).
In spite of that the Iranian Government made “a gesture of goodwill” in November 2007 and gave the IAEA plans and technical documents for (the IAEA had been waiting for them since 2005) the construction of nuclear warheads maintaining that these had been acquired from Pakistan along with the purchase of uranium enrichment technology (40). The IAEA published concurrently a report on cooperation between the agency and Iran in which it appreciated Iranian progress in disclosing the nature and extent of the disputable program. However, it told Teheran that it should have been more active with regard to the provision of information – “proactive and not reactive”. The IAEA observed in the report that despite the improvement of cooperation, it couldn’t confirm the exclusively peaceful character of the program and that its knowledge of the program was getting worse (41).
While Iran welcomed the report and interpreted it as a proof that its nuclear program wasn’t a military one and President Ahmadinejad appealed to western powers to “behave honestly and confess: We made a mistake” (42), according to the US the report confirmed Iran’s insufficient cooperation and the need of the implementation of further sanctions. The IAEA director Mohammad El Baradej laid himself open to criticism from the US and Israel which called for his removal from the office.
The report by US secret service (National Intelligence Council) dated 3rd December, 2007, came as a surprise. This report called Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities affirms “with a high degree of certainty” that Teheran stopped its military nuclear program yet at the end of 2003 under the pressure of the International Community and “with a medium degree of certainty” that this program wasn’t restored in 2007 and even nowadays Iran doesn’t resume it. Nevertheless, in the report there are surmises that Teheran kept at least the option to return to the military nuclear program in future. According to NIC report US accusations in connection with Iranian nuclear ambitions in the course of last two years were exaggerated, although the Islamic republic could possibly gain a nuclear weapon by 2015 (43).
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad deemed the report a “positive step forward, a great Iranian victory” and a “severe blow” to world powers appealing to the US for further accommodating steps (44). However, George Bush labelled the report as a reason for pressure and not its mitigation. “I perceive this report a warning signal that it used to have such a program, that it suspended it. The reason why this is a warning signal is that Iran can restart it. For me the report offers the possibility of uniting the International Community so that it exerts pressure on Iran and forces it to terminate the program – so that it cannot re-launch another secret atomic weapons production program,” explained the US President (45). The representatives of Israel, France and Germany as well as Iranian dissidents living abroad in exile were of the same opinion. They affirm that Iran restored its military nuclear program in 2004 and this has been active ever since (46).
Iran carrying on speaking of solely civil character of the program launched the construction of a new nuclear power plant in December. It wants to finance its building itself. On 30th December, the Energy Minister Parviz Fatah said for the TV channel Chabar that the project, which is situated in the western province of Chuzestan, would be supervised by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran and conducted exclusively by Iranian experts. The new plant is due to be built in four or five year’s time (47).
“Scenes of the crime”
Nowadays, Iranian nuclear program encompasses several uranium mines, research facilities with nuclear reactors of various performances, many bases for uranium transformation and one uranium enrichment facility. Among the (well known) facilities are:
Anarak situated between Natanz and Ardakan is important due to its uranium deposits and apart form the mine there is also a facility for the storage of nuclear waste from civil nuclear plants.
Arak – In 2006, a heavy water production facility was finished in this area and at present a 40 MW heavy water reactor, which should be put into operation in 2014, has been build. According to official information it should serve for the production of radioactive isotopes for industrial and medical purposes.
Ardekan – Nuclear fuel production plant completed in 2005.
Bandar-Abbas – Uranium deposit and recently opened uranium ore transformation factory.
Bonab – Nuclear energy research centre in Bonab controlled by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran studies the possibility of the application of nuclear technologies in agriculture.
Bushehr was the first Iranian nuclear power plant project yet during the era of Shah Pahlavi to supply energy to the nearby town of Shiraz. The construction works were stopped in 1979, as for the first reactor, 85 per cent were finished, as for the second one, 50 per cent were completed. Iran has been collaborating with Russia in the completion of bloc I since 1995. The handover of the plant was originally due in 2004, afterwards in September 2007 owing to the delayed payment from Teheran. Today, the commencement of operation is estimated at the end of 2008.
Shalus – The existence of this “secret nuclear weapons production facility” announced by Iranian dissidents living in Europe (48) in 1995 hasn’t been verified yet.
Isfahan – In the Isfahan Nuclear Technologies Research Centre, there are four small Chinese 27 kW nuclear reactors in operation at present. Besides this, there is also a plant for the conversion of uranium ore (U3O8, the so-called yellowcake) into uranium gas (UF6) used as reactor fuel in the area. The gas extracted in this way is enriched in the Natanz facility. The Isfahan centre is administered by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran.
Karadj / Karaj / Hashtgerd – Established in 1991 and administered by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran as an agricultural research centre and nuclear medicine centre.
Lashkar Ab´ad – Pilot centre for the laser separation of uranium and plutonium isotopes launched in 2002. Teheran announced its closure. In connection with uranium enrichment it gave precedence to the utilisation of gas centrifuges. This method attains better results than isotope separation technology.
Lavizan-Shian – In the past, it was labelled by dissidents as nuclear weapons production centre. Prior to the inspections conducted in August 2003 and March 2004, the centre was shut down repeatedly, its buildings dismantled and four metres of soil layer removed. In spite of that, the samples taken by IAEA inspectors contained traces of radiation and uranium enriched to 20 per cent (49).
Natanz – The centre, which was declassified in 2002 by Alirez Djafarzadeh, has been officially in operation since 2003. In the area, there is a uranium enrichment facility with 2.5 metre thick walls stretching across 100,000 m² and positioned eight metres in underground. In 2004, the roof was reinforced with ferroconcrete. 22 metres of soil were arranged into layers onto it. At the end of 2007, the IAEA confirmed that a set of 3000 centrifuges was installed in the area in which a small amount of enriched uranium was made out of uranium dioxide from Isfahan facility in November. The centre’s future task is to supply fuel to other power plants which should produce electric energy for domestic market. Nowadays, it is still under construction.
Saghand – The first uranium ore mine put into operation in 2005. Its reserves are estimated at 3,000 to 5,000 tonnes of uranium dioxide.
Teheran – The Teheran Nuclear Research Centre is managed by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran too. There is still a US 5 MW reactor from 1970’s in operation. It’s able to generate annually 500 grams of plutonium from used fuel. In this case seventeen years would be necessary for the construction of an atomic bomb. Nuclear waste from this facility is thoroughly observed by the IAEA and plutonium extraction isn’t possible it Iran remains the signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Yazd – A university radiation research centre with a uranium ore deposit 165 kilometres away.
Security standpoint (50))
From the point of view of security, Iranian nuclear program poses unequivocally a problem or even a threat. Now, let’s ignore various hypotheses for its abuse for nuclear weapons production and catastrophic scenarios in the case of its utilisation by the radical Iranian regime. Its power plants are potentially dangerous from another viewpoint: Iranian plateau is a seismically active zone. Iran has been monitoring seismic activity since 1940’s and according to records there is a smaller earthquake every week and a larger one, like that in the town of Bam in 2003, occurs every ten years. According to official statistics since 1940’s the earthquakes in Iran have claimed 126,000 victims, injured 800,000 people and 1.8 million Iranians were left homeless. It is surprising that nobody has dealt with the security question yet, neither the IAEA has done so.
For instance, the Bushehr peninsula is one of the seismically most active zones in the whole country. No risk analyses of shock hits had preceded the construction of the power plant situated here. It was not until 1989 that the Geophysical Centre of the University of Teheran made its presence felt. In 1995, it conducted a study for the then President Hashemi Rafsandjani according to which a power plant built in accordance with original plans won’t resist shocks of 7 or higher on Richter scale and higher. (However, the complete study has never been published and only some of its parts have been made public). Moreover before the restoration of plant construction in 2000, even the degree of its damage caused by earthquakes and bombardment hadn’t been examined. Since Siemens rejected to hand over original drafts and plans, Russian company was building blindly, as it were, and without any international control.
This means that even if the Iranian nuclear program had exclusively peaceful character, the world as well as Iran should pay more attention to its seismologic aspect as well, at least the same attention like they pay to uranium enrichment disputes.
The root of disputes in 2008
Iran received the last of Russian fuel supplies for the unfinished reactor in Bushehr on 28th January, 2008. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on 30th January that Iran was approaching “the climax” of its nuclear way and if western powers thought that Iranian nation would succumb, they were wrong. He said at the same time that nuclear electricity was supposed to flow in Iranian power grid in one year’s time (51). On 13th February, the Associated Press agency wrote that Iran had tested new IR-2 centrifuges installed in January that year which the scientists filled up with uranium gas and produced thus a small amount of enriched uranium (52).
The IAEA director Mohammad El Baradej presented his long-awaited report “on past and current nuclear activities” of Iran on 22nd February. In the 11 page document he deals with the improved collaboration of Iranian regime, the attitude “to persons and documents” long refused before as well as many “still unanswered questions”. According to El Baradej Teheran still hasn’t given sufficient explanations of “possible military dimension of its nuclear program”. Owing to the insufficient and incomplete Iranian cooperation El Baradej rejects to confirm unequivocally the program’s peaceful character and appeals to Iran to stop uranium enrichment and to collaborate not “in an ad hoc way” but “more systematically” (53)). Although at first sight the report doesn’t look favourable to Iran, western diplomats reproached El Baradej for orientating himself primarily towards the history of Iranian nuclear program at the cost of Iran’s current activities .(54) El Baradej has been reproached for adopting “political stance” on Iranian issue and not the stance of the technical “verificator” of Iranian activities (55). The experienced Egyptian diplomat and the winner of the Nobel prize for peace laid his trustworthiness as well as the trustworthiness of the International Atomic Energy Agency on the line by supporting the Iranian Government’s tactic of whitewash and presenting to the IAEA its statements as verified facts without carrying out inspections. Notwithstanding the fact that Iran has been refusing any insections in the Natanz complex as well as other facilities (with the exception of the unfinished heavy water reactor in Arak the inspection of which can neither prove nor disprove military research) for a very long time, El Baradej set out to verify the unverifiable and presented in his reports of November and February the installation of 3,000 centrifuges in the Natanz area and “the new generation of high-performance centrifuges” as indisputable facts. The handing over of documents interpreted by El Baradej as the proof of cooperation improvement that the IAEA had been waiting for since 2005 in November 2007, however, may be interpreted conversely too. El Baradej’s report are characterised by the ability of fulfilling the expectations of Iranian mullahs who rule the country. Via El Baradej, the mullahs try to depict their nuclear activities as a secret threat in the media – till the reverse is proved.
Whereas the Americans expressed their disappointment about Iranian posture and a lack of cooperation (56), Iran interpreted the February report as “success” and simultaneously the confirmation of its declarations concerning civil nuclear program. It demanded from Washington and its allies an apology and compensation for accusations that the country seeks to obtain a nuclear weapon (57).
In contrast to El Baradej’s report, his deputy and the IAEA chief inspector for Iran Olli Heinonen released evidences on 25th February that Iran resumed military program after 2003 as well. Heinonen’s presentation dealt with three topics, namely uranium dioxide conversion, highly explosive substances and the construction of nuclear warhead metal sheath. Heinonen also presented hitherto secret materials regarding the project P111 on nuclear warhead construction which backed up the continuation of the project after 2003. Heinonen’s briefing, which preceded UN Security Council session, substantiated thus the existence of dissensions inside the IAEA between technical inspectors and the agency director and stirred up sharp criticism aimed at Iranian chief envoy to the IAEA Ali Ashgar Soltanieh who deemed the submitted documents falsified and unfounded (58).
On 3rd March, the UN Security Council adopted almost unanimously the resolution 1803 and imposed a third sanction on Iran since 2006. Fourteen out of fifteen members of the Security Council voted in favour of the sanctions. Indonesia abstained as the only member, although objections against the resolution were voiced also by Libya, Vietnam and South Africa, which challenged the need of further sanctions in the period when the collaboration between Teheran and the IAEA improved noticeably according to El Baradej’s report. New sanctions include total ban on travelling for the representatives participating in Iranian nuclear and missile program, the list of whose has been extended by the new resolution, and on inspections of supplies in and from Iran in the case of any suspicion of transporting banned goods. Natural persons as well as legal entities in question will have their accounts frozen and two Iranian banks will be put under the microscope owing to the financing of nuclear program. The new resolution forbids countries to do business with Iran and to trade in goods usable for civil as well as military purposes (59).
Washington could achieve nothing more after the surprising December report issued by secret services and the IAEA February report. For the Americans, however, any resolution, by means of which they can justify their sanction policy on Teheran, would be acceptable. Teheran labelled the sanctions as “illegal act” and stated once again that nobody would deprive it of the right to “a peaceful nuclear program” (60). The Iranian Government is determined to continue in nuclear research in spite of the threat of economic crisis. According to it the sanctions only harm the trustworthiness of the UN Security Council which has become “just a tool of some countries’ foreign policies”. (The statement of the Iranian Ambassador to the UN Muhammad Chazai before voting in the Security Council on 3rd March, 2008). Yet prior to the passing of sanctions, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that “not even hundred years of sanctions” imposed on Iran “will change anything” and “it won’t bring Iranian nation to their knees”. He promised a reprisal for the sanctions concurrently (61).
Before the sanctions take effect, the Security Council gave Iran a 90 day ultimatum demanding cooperation with the IAEA which was supposed to submit a report on Iranian uranium enrichment. After the expiration of the ultimatum, the Security Council will agree on next stage. Among the possibilities is also a military intervention in accordance with the Article VII of the UN Charter.
In response to the resolution Iran put forward through the Foreign Affairs Minister Manouchehr Mottaki a proposal that worldwide prohibition of nuclear reserves ownership as well as the production and possession of weapons and weapons of mass destruction should be ordered by an international treaty. It has also supported Russian-Chinese proposal on banning cosmic armament. “The time for the prohibition of all nuclear weapons has come” maintained Motakki on 4th March in Geneva (62) implying “if we’re not allowed, you’re not allowed as well”. Although it’s pretty clear from the very beginning that similar proposal won’t be passed by the Security Council since all the permanent members have veto power and are nuclear powers and would surrender this status neither due to economic nor security grounds.
Stances and interests of particular world politics participants
The stance and behaviour of the main world politics participants, this applies to organisations as well as states, are often ambiguous in the context of Iranian nuclear threat. On one level the reports issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN criticise Iran for not fulfilling the treaties on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons but on another level they speak of good cooperation between the inspectors and Iranian technicians and the Government. It seems that in the case of Iran the IAEA pursues the same policy like it used to as regards Iraq in 2002 and 2003. That time it warned that Iraq wasn’t fulfilling the terms and conditions of the treaty and acquired thus alibi for the case that it would have gained nuclear weapons. It at the same time proclaimed that Iraq was forthcoming and could criticise the coalition after a military action in this way. Despite the four-year investigation, so far the IAEA hasn’t been capable of giving an unequivocal answer to the question whether the Iranian nuclear program has really a peaceful character or confirming the contrary. The second unknown is the posture of individual countries, UN Security Council permanent members in particular. Four out of five countries are Iran’s business partners. The fifth country is the United States.
At present, the United States, which used to be Iranian closest ally till 1979, pursue the policy of hampering Iranian Shiitish revolution and Teheran’s quest for regional hegemony. In the past, a similar situation arose with regard to the Soviet Union when the US pursued the policy of hampering communism. The extremist rhetoric of President Ahmadinejad makes oil prices grow. The Americans strive to secure oil supplies from the restless Middle East by the presence of troops in the region. The problem is that while in the case of the Soviet Union the maximum armament tactic functioned because the deployment of Soviet nuclear warheads had rather a strategic character, Iran possessing nuclear weapons would be an unpredictable threat, for Israel in particular. Therefore the US has given precedence to economic sanctions.
Russia provides Iran with technical assistance during the process of the building of its nuclear program in the form of technologies as well as experts. In the past, the relations between these countries were tainted by conflicts. After World War II, the Soviet Union struggled to annex two Iranian provinces which were inhabited predominantly by the Azers living also in Azerbaijan, i.e. a part of the USSR that time. The US, that was ready to defend oil fields and ports from which the oil of its then ally was exported, prevented Soviet expansion. Paradoxically, it was the USSR which took over its task. Iran stands for an important geostrategic sphere of activity for Russia. On the one hand the Kremlin tries to control the competition which it sees in the form of countries producing oil and the unstable political situation in these countries steps up its petrodollar incomes, on the other hand, as a state lying on the Caspian Sea coast, it plays a key role in the development of the situation in Central Asia (i.e. a role of a geographical blockade, a supplier or a transit country for traffic in arms flowing, for example, to the Caucasus as well). Russia maintains its position of the primary oil supplier to Europe in this way. Moreover, mutual business relations between both countries play an appreciable role too. Although Iran doesn’t pay the invoices for the construction of the Bushehr reactor in time, Russia is Iran’s significant business partner and Iran is also the reason why the volume of Russian arms sale has been doubled since 2000.
That’s why Russia was the most zealous adherent of Iran and its right to civil nuclear research on the international scene until recently. According to Russian representatives there is no evidence that Teheran tries to develop nuclear weapons (63), however, Russia doesn’t want Iran obtaining such an armament. It wants a transparent and monitored Iranian nuclear program (64). Also therefore the Russian Federation appealed to Iran to stop uranium enrichment. It even conditioned the supply of nuclear fuel for the Bushehr reactor by enrichment cessation (65). Iran is supposed to get all the necessary fuel from Russia, however, this must be enriched in advance. In the end, on 28th January, 2008, the Russians carried out the last from the series of the supplies of 82 tonnes of nuclear fuel and further equipment of the Bushehr power plant. According to the previous statements of Russian company Atomstrojexport, which has been working on the project, the plant should be put into operation not earlier than six moths after the last supply. Nevertheless, it is to be completely functional not sooner than 2009. The reactor is supposed to be tested at 5 per cent performance, afterwards at 10 per cent performance and gradually at full operation. The Iranian Government was therefore hasty in announcing that Bushehr will function at 50 per cent of its capacity in the middle of this year. In the Government’s interest is to have an operational power plant at its disposal prior to US presidential elections in November 2008. By making the nuclear capacities publicly known the Iranian Government wants to achieve that it will have a partial influence on the presidential elections results. By provoking the tension and crisis between Iran and the US and thus also the risk of a regional conflict they want to attain the retreat of the United States or an agreement the terms and conditions of which would dictate Teheran. They rely on the fact that the US are too exhausted because of the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and therefore not resolved to undertake further military conflict. The ayatollah Khamenei’s military adviser said that the US would have been surprised by the extent of such a reprisal aimed against US troops in the region of the Middle East as well as its main ally Israel and, last but not least, by the endangerment of world oil supplies from the region(66). At the beginning of January, Khamenei himself warned that the “peace-loving Iranian nation will humiliate every aggressor in such a way that this won’t think of another aggression act any more” (67). Their manifested determination by the recent test of a new missile similar to Shahab-3 which was broadcasted by Iranian state television on the occasion of the opening of the Iranian Cosmic Centre on 4th February. In this context Russia voiced “concern” construing the event as possible military nuclear ambitions of Teheran. (The Statement of the Foreign Affairs Vice-Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Losiukov for Interfax, 6th February, 2008). The shift in Moscow’s attitude as for Iranian question was hinted also by the Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov on 13th February when he said that Russia disapproves of repeated public manifestations of Iran’s intentions to develop missile industry and resume uranium enrichment. In his opinion, Iran shouldn’t increase international tension (68). In an interview for the Interfax agency Lavrov said: “It’s not conceivable to ignore that recently the Iranian nuclear program has attracted problems which haven’t been clarified so far.” Lastly, Russia didn’t uphold Iran, like was the case during every UN resolution on Iran by the way, and voted in favour of the latest resolution of the UN Security Council.
An attitude similar to the Russian one may be perceived in connection with China too. Iranian oil accounts for 12 per cent of overall Chinese oil import. Apart from this, in December, the Chinese company Sinopec signed a contract with Iran on oil and earth gas supplies on the basis of which it is supposed to invest two billion dollars in Iran at the beginning. Sinopec isn’t the only Chinese company to do business with Iran. Teheran is a significant consumer of Chinese armament industry products as well. That’s why China, according to Russian pattern, rejected the implementation of new strict sanctions on Iran and demanded more time for Teheran. Anyway, it upheld the resolution of the UN Security Council in the end.
The EU stands for a special case in this game of interests. Europe has always declared that it considers US emphasis on “hard security” inadequate and promoted its own model of “soft power”. The negotiations between Iran and the strong European Troika (EU-3), i.e. the United Kingdom, France and Germany, have proven rather the failure of this “soft power”. As early as 2003, the EU signed a treaty with Iran offering the Government in Teheran its economic collaboration in exchange for the cessation of Iranian nuclear program. Namely it promised Iran supplies of nuclear fuel which cannot be utilised in the extraction of enriched uranium. Iran accepted the treaty and after six moths it declared the treaty null and void because the EU didn’t fulfil it. The situation repeated at the end of 2004.
It seems that the result of the entire Iranian nuclear crisis is known beforehand. Similarly to North Korea some time ago, Iran plays for time. It needs nuclear weapons or at least to evoke the impression that it possesses them in order to become an ultimate hegemonic leader of the Middle East. Paradoxically, the nuclear program won’t secure this position to the Iranian Government on the domestic scene, also due to the extremist rhetoric used in connection with the defence of “national pride”.
Economy – the core of pre-election fight
The conservatives, that are in power currently, won the parliamentary elections held on 14th March thank to the exclusion of more than 1,700 reformist opposition candidates, however, the elections have indicated two momentous facts showing that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the main fighter for the right of Iranian nation to nuclear energy, needn’t be re-elected in the next year’s presidential elections. The number of his critics has been growing constantly and the disapproval of attacks on the West, which doomed Iran to isolation, was perceptible already in the last regional government elections which Ahmadinejad’s adherents lost. The Iranians are disgusted at growing prices, unemployment and inflation as well as the empty Ahmadinejad’s promise that every Iranian family will profit from oil sale. Furthermore the latest sanctions on Iran will for the first time strike not only economy as a whole but also Iran’s population. The end of the sale of goods applicable for civil as well as military purposes means that Iranian market will lack a good deal of articles of daily use. That was also the cause of a low turnout. Many voters preferred shopping for the celebration of Iranian New Year’s Day falling on 20th March. Although the 65 per cent participation surpassed expectations and exceeded the 51.2 per cent turnout in 2004, it was clear from the very beginning that the 71 per cent turnout in 1996 wasn’t real, particularly due to the exclusion of the majority of reformist candidates from the candidate list.
Notwithstanding ayatollah Khomenei’s support of conservatives and his appeal to the Iranians to vote anti-American candidates “loyal to Islam and justice” (according to preliminary results Iranian conservatives obtained at least 71 per cent out of 290 seats in the parliament), this wasn’t an expression of the support of President Ahmadinejad.
The conservative camp is far removed from unity and more moderate candidates criticising Ahmadinejad defeated his adherents in several towns. Two of them, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf the popular Mayor of Teheran, and Ali Laridjani, the former negotiator close to ayatollah Khamenei, are likely to be strong rivals to the current president in the next year’s elections. Although they are of the same opinion like Ahmadinejad that Iran has the right to nuclear program, they use a more moderate rhetoric and a dialogue with the West with the aim of attaining the abolition of sanctions and attraction investments into the country. In the last elections they were defeated by Ahmadinejad’s nationalist speaking manner and promises concerning an economic reform which most of Iranians don’t believe in any longer now. Another alternative to Ahmadinejad and to moderate conservatives is the former Leader of Revolutionary Guards, the main ideological weapon of Islamist regime, Mohsen Rezai and obviously the reformist candidates who have been weighing up the candidacy of the former president Muhammad Khatami.
Therefore it is difficult to estimate, in what way the dispute over the nuclear program between Iran and the International Community will evolve and what are the involved parties determined to do as regards the program, or rather, where is the limit which either one party or both parties won’t be willing to go beyond. All previous steps of Iranian Representatives, among which is the self-confident Iranian Government’s declaration made on 16th March regarding the termination of negotiations with UN representatives and Germany (69), attest to the fact that the country is ready to risk open confrontation with the international Community assuming that it won’t face the threat of any important recourse in the form of sanctions or even a military strike since sanctions on oil export and investments in oil and gas sectors would be hardly supported by Russia and China and would likewise mean the growth of the prices of inputs into European and US industrial sector. Furthermore the attack of the US and its potential allies seems improbable from the point of view of the US, particularly if we consider oncoming presidential elections in the United States. Even without it the possible attack would be a non-systemic and dangerous solution to the entire situation form US viewpoint. Probably yet more dangerous solution than was the war in Iraq, not to speak of the combination of Iraq and Afghanistan. Notwithstanding EU support, the war on Iran without Russian and Chinese participation would be devastating. A better solution might be a steered toppling of the regime in the aftermath of which Iran could become an ally of the West again. Not taking into account dissidents living abroad, that an ordinary Iranian citizen doesn’t put trust in, it is pretty difficult to find a competitive opposition subject in Iran. Therefore it remains a question who is likely to triumph in this dispute – Iranian mullahs or the International Community.
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(52) AP. 13th February 2008.
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(68) Rusko nesúhlasí s iránskym jadrovým a raketovým programom. SITA. 13th February, 2008. http://hnonline.sk/1–22960850-k00000_print-e6.
(69) Biouki, Kay – Chamberlain, Gethin: Iran celebrates election by ending nuclear talks. The Sunday Telegraph. 16th March, 2008. http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=14601