President Bush declared [Friday] that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose "a grave threat to the security of the world" as he tried to rally support from other major powers for U.N. Security Council action unless a defiant Tehran abandons any aspirations for nuclear weapons.
Predictably, the Iranians are claiming that they are engaged in nuclear research for peaceful purposes. Iran has a civilian nuclear program, stretching from the mining of uranium to its enrichment to constructing a power reactor. It also has a "right" to peaceful nuclear activities under Articles 1 and 4 of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, subject to IAEA inspections.
Dick Cheney has been making the case that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons capabilities. "They're already sitting on an awful lot of oil and gas. Nobody can figure why they need nuclear as well to generate energy."
If only there were an html tag that would make the screen go all squigley like a TV screen just before the flashback begins.
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford proposed to sell nuclear technology to the Iranians according to a declassified National Security Decision Memorandum, signed by Henry Kissinger. Iran was ruled by a Shah, and he convincingly made the case that oil was too valuable to waste on daily energy needs. The Ford strategy paper said the "introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran's economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals."
President Ford signed a directive in 1976 offering Tehran the chance to buy and operate a U.S.-built reprocessing facility for extracting plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel. It was a 6.4 billion-dollar deal that would have benefited principally two companies, Westinghouse and General Electric, and it would have resulted in Tehran having control of large quantities of plutonium and enriched uranium.
The deal was for a complete “nuclear fuel cycle” -- reactors powered by and regenerating fissile materials on a self-sustaining basis. That is precisely the ability the current administration is now trying to prevent Iran from acquiring today. President Ford’s chief of staff at the time was a man named Dick Cheney.
Of course, we know that Cheney went on to become the CEO of Halliburton. During the 1990’s, Halliburton paid out more than $3 million in fines for selling Libya nuclear detonator devices, which violated a U.S. trade embargo imposed on Libya because of that country's ties to terrorism. More recently, Halliburton sold an Iranian oil development company key components for a nuclear reactor, according to Halliburton sources, as reported here last August.
Fate was not so kind to the Shah. When he was deposed, the deal fell through.
In 1975, President Ford's Secretary of Defense was a man named Donald Rumsfield. Paul Wolfowitz was responsible for nonproliferation at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
If you are wondering why this story is not getting widespread attention, ask yourself, Where are they today? Westinghouse changed its name to CBS in 1997. General Electric acquired NBC in 1985 and in 1989 it formed CNBC. In 1996 it launched MS-NBC.
“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”