Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Timeline of Iran’s Nuclear Project

The Geneva Talk has provoked controversies whether to make a nuclear deal with Iran or not. Iran’s nuclear project dates back to the shah’s era. The New York Times publishes the chronology of the nuclear development to present a historical overview of the ongoing negotiation.

It is well known that Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi envisioned a post petroleum Iran, and the nuclear power plant project was a crown jewelry to sustain high economic growth during the Pahlavi era. Since the 1950s, the United States provided generous technological aid for Iran, and the shah joined the Nonproliferation Treaty in 1968.

Things have changed after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The project restarted in 1984 to reconstruct the plant in Bushehr. In the late 1980s, Iran joined the Khan Network to develop nuclear weapons. Also, Russia signed the nuclear contract with Iran in 1995. Though Russian President then Boris Yeltin pursued post Cold War coexistence with the West, his administration did not accept the American request to stop selling nuclear technology to Iran. In 2002, Iran’s opposition group Mujahedeen Khalq revealed the secret plan for nuclear bomb. The following map shows main nuclear facilities.

Despite continual crisis, UN sanctions started so late in 2006. Quite interestingly, Israel made a secret request to the Bush administration to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2008, as it did to stop Saddam Hussein’s program in Iraq. Instead, the Bush administration began cyber attacks to Iran along with Israel. The Timeline is helpful to understand the development of the decades long Iran nuclear crisis. I would like to talk about Iran’s nuclear threat furthermore later.