The fact that Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapons program completely erodes the basis of President Bush's stance on Iran and the region. However, there is no accountability as was seen by the WMD assertions in the case of Iraq, where after four years of occupation not a single piece of evidence has emerged that Saddam Hussein had WMD. While Iran has not been entirely open about things and acted more suspiciously than it needed to, the reality is that with oil prices soaring, nuclear energy will be needed for power plants and the world should get used to more countries seeking nuclear power plants.
I believe no country should be denied nuclear power for peaceful purposes, and a regime and standards for inspection should be decided immediately. In addition, countries with nuclear weapons, in the region and its hinterlands – including Israel – should come clean on their controls for preventing proliferation. The U.S. must also back off this aggressive talk about imposing its will on the region, and should encourage countries to seek normalization with Iran. Whenever there is a public crisis between Tehran and Washington, it is the radical elements within Iran that become stronger and more visible. If Iran has to be changed from within, then it is important to reduce those tensions.
One of the major concerns for proliferation can be resolved if a nuclear power utility company is set up in the region and this company is then contracted for power through off-take agreements, allowing the IAEA to be impose its inspections and controls on the company. So long as countries have control of their own nuclear energy programs, there will always be suspicion about what is really going on.
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