May Controversy Tournament-Round 1: Iran Should Be Allowed to Continue Its Nuclear Program
Burden of proof is shared, Pro has to prove that Iran should be allowed to continue its nuclear program and Con has to prove that Iran should not be allowed to continue its nuclear program.
No new arguments in the final round.
Minimum voter ELO: 2500.
I had to rush this, due to time constraints, so sorry in advance if it seems rushed.
C1-Iran is Not Pursuing Nuclear Weapons
Many people have accused Iran of trying to gain access to nuclear weapons for decades. However, Iran isn’t and never has actively pursued nuclear weapons.
Before I begin, I’d like to point out that nuclear power has many different uses and bombs are a small portion of that. The most common use is for electricity, which is used by Japan, South Korea, Canada, and many other countries, which do not have nuclear weapons. (1) In fact, it is the main source of electricity in France, Belgium, Hungary, and Slovakia. (1)
So far, no one has found any strong evidence to suggest Iran is building a nuclear weapon. (3) However, controversy did arise in 2002 when Iran was being found to enrich its own uranium in secret. This may seem suspicious, but when observes the long history and the events leading up to this discovery, it seems much more clear.
Prior to the overthrowing of the Pahlavi Dynasty, which was supported by the US, Iran had a plan for 23 nuclear power plants to be produced. (2) However, after the 1979 Revolution Iran only wanted to have 1 nuclear power plant. In the words of former Iranian ambassador, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, “We didn’t want to have 20 nuclear power plants or to have enrichment...The only things remaining [in the program] were to complete Bushehr and to continue the Tehran Research Reactor for medical purposes. We would have one nuclear power plant, with fuel from France.” (2)
So Iran attempted to do just that, they sought after uranium from both France and Germany, but the US put pressure on the European nations to not help Iran. (2) The American anti-Iranian sentiment reached a new level during the Iraq-Iran War. The US gave advice to Iraq and encouraged other nations to sell supplies to Iraq, while stop selling to Iran. In fact, in April of 1984, the State Department confirmed their goal was to prevent any technology from coming into Iran to help with its nuclear program. The State Department even knew that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty had not been violated by Iran, but they saw Iran as a threat to Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq (the aggressors in the war). (2)
Iran realized it needed to produce its own uranium. This led Iran to the A.Q. Khan Network. This would have been a perfect opportunity for Iran to get a nuclear weapon. When Iran purchased centrifuges from the A.Q. Khan Network, they were offered a document which outlined how a nuclear weapon could be produced. Iran had the money for it, but they refused. (2) This was backed up by the IAEA, who interviewed members of the A.Q. Khan Network.
Soon enough, as mentioned, Iran created an enrichment facility in 2001, secretly. This was exposed by the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), an anti-Iranian group. Yossi Melman and Meir Javedanfar, confirmed this writing “a way to ‘launder’ information from Western intelligence to IAEA was found so that agencies and the sources could be protected. Information is ‘filtered’ to the IAEA via Iranian opposition groups, especially the MEK”. (4) An Israeli journalist also said a senior IAEA official told him that Israeli intelligence passed their satellite intelligence to the MEK. (4) Finally, another Iranian opposition figure, an advisor to Reza Pahlavi, the heir to the Sha said “that information came not from the MEK, but a friendly government and it had come to more than one opposition group, not only the mujahideen.” (4) However, Iran weren’t even required to notify the IAEA about the existence of this nuclear facility under 180 days before the introduction of nuclear material into it, which was far from occurring. (4) The reason Iran kept it secret, however, was due to American aggression in the past, being labeled as an “axis of evil” by then US president George W. Bush, and Israeli threatening to attack the facility like they did to Iraq in the 1980s. (4) Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the IAEA, even remembered Iranian officials telling him that they were worried about American/Israeli reactions to them enriching their own uranium. (4)
This also led to an IAEA report that suggested Iran had been secretly been testing how to enrich uranium for 18 years. However, no enrichment by gas centrifuges occurred except for brief periods in 1999 and 2002 and very minimal amount was done by laser enrichment and that wasn’t until 2002. Also, all studies done with uranium imported in 1977 and 1982 were reported. The other studies involved uranium from China. The reason these studies were not reported was due to Chinese interests of not having their support of Iran’s nuclear program go public. (4)
Since then, there has still been no solid proof that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. (3) To conclude, Iran’s reasons for keeping their enrichment a secret are completely understandable considering the aggressive policy that they’ve faced, while abiding the rules set in the Nuclear-Non Proliferation Treaty. Therefore, Iran should be allowed to continue its nuclear program.
More proof Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, is that they believe it goes against their faith. (5) This sentiment has been backed by US President Barack Obama. (6)
C2-Balance of Power
If Iran is allowed to continue its nuclear program it will balance power in the Middle East.
Although Iran is not pursuing a bomb, if its program matures it should be able to produce one on short notice like Japan could. (7) Israel is the only nuclear power in the region and has done a lot to stay in a position of power. Israel has already bombed Iraq & Syria for trying develop nuclear power and had the Mossad kill Iranian scientists. (8) However, if Iran had the ability to develop nuclear weapons there would be a balance of power in the region.
Other regions have seen more peace as balance of power is formed through nuclear weapons. Take for example, India/Pakistan who fought several wars before developing nuclear weapons and although occasionally reaching stand-offs, have never had to face a full scale war since developing nuclear weapons. (9) This is because no country wants to get nuked, so they will never risk a full scale war. Due to this, a balance of power exists.
Since a balance of power could be formed from an Iranian nuclear program, Iran should be allowed to continue it.
Recently, Iran and the 5 major nuclear powers (US, Russia, China, UK, and France), plus Germany negotiated a new deal with Iran. Simply put, Iran would reduce its uranium supply dramatically and the Western Powers would lift sanctions. This works out well for both countries as Iran will still have enough uranium for power and medical reasons for now, while not having to deal with crippling sanctions, while the Western Powers can feel safer about the production of nuclear weapons. (10) Since Iran is showing its willing to negotiate and do everything it can to show its running a nuclear program for peaceful reasons only, it should be not be required to end its nuclear program.
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