There are several reasons to fear that Iran will produce nuclear weapons. The country is making an enormous investment in nuclear reactors. The Shah gave a press interview in 1974 hinting at a weapons program. The Indian detonation of a “peaceful nuclear device” puts pressure on a near-neighbor like Iran.
Yet there are also reasons to hope that this move will not be made. The Iranian investment in nuclear industry may not be premature in terms of peaceful economic purposes, and may thus not prove any military intent. A great deal of time will pass in any event before a real weapons potential is reached.
A mixed forecast is thus in order, neither optimistic nor pessimistic. The Shah may well feel that Iran is better off keeping the entire Middle East free of nuclear weapons, as through its proposed Nuclear-Free Zone. Yet the policy process in Iran may make it difficult to get enough push behind this proposal.
KeywordsEconomic Policy Nuclear Weapon Policy Process Nuclear Industry Economic Purpose
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