April 1, 2015

Vijay Prashad - The Geopolitics of Iran's Nuclear Program

Lafaye: Which brings us to the nuclear issue, always so worrying. Should all nations be allowed access to nuclear power for civilian purposes?

Aga Khan: It seems to me that rules of non-proliferation are now applied to all nuclear technology for both civilian and military purposes. In fact, the conditions for the sale of civilian nuclear energy is like some kind of technological colonization, insofar that the most advanced nations make a point of holding on to all the “keys.”

From this point of view, we are a long way from the democratization of nuclear energy. Maybe I’m naïve but I advocate another approach, which I call “positive proliferation.” I am in favour of the widespread distribution of civilian nuclear power. Of course, careful thought must be given to the conditions under which positive proliferation would operate. How to avoid environmental problems. How to prevent the misappropriation of civilian nuclear power for military purposes. As you know, I have studied history and it has never been possible to halt any globally significant scientific advance. The positive proliferation that I would dearly love to see happen is based on a simple principle: yes to energy, no to arms.

Lafaye: How do you see Iran’s ambiguous attitude to this issue?

Aga Khan: Iran’s current policy in this respect is causing concern in the Sunni world. If Tehran managed to obtain nuclear weapons, certain states in the region could just as easily equip themselves with a bomb, probably with help from the West. The atmosphere is tense, even paranoid. Nevertheless, through the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is important to build up and maintain constructive collaboration with the Iranian authorities in dealing with this issue.
Iran could even contribute to the worldwide removal of nuclear energy for military use. That is what I told the Iranians several years ago: “Your history is that of an intellectual nation several thousand years old which has brought to Islam all the richness of its culture and its philosophical thought. Keep following the path that is truly your own and the world will thank you for it.”
Title: The Geopolitics of Iran's Nuclear Program. Source: American University of Beirut. Date Published: March 30, 2015: Description:
The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs held a lecture entitled:
The Geopolitics of Iran's Nuclear Program
with Vijay Prashad
IFI's Senior Research Fellow
The talk begins at the 2:00 mark.