Geopolitics of the Iranian Nuclear Energy Program
March 12, 2010
Relations between the United States and Iran in recent months have been defined by Iranian intransigence and U.S. stubbornness, all because Iran has continued to insist its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes whereas the United States and allied countries remain convinced the real purpose is to produce a nuclear weapon. This report tracks the almost daily development of this issue, thus allowing the reader to arrive at his own conclusion, which in turn may change over time.
The author poses the question: Do sanctions work? Iran has been variously sanctioned since 1987, and efforts are now underway to secure more punishing sanctions through the good offices of the UN Security Council. These new sanctions, if agreed to, would strike at Iran’s dependence on gasoline imports and at the expanding economic and nuclear influence of the Islamic Republican Guard Corps. The author in effect answers his own question by offering a quote from the Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Agency who thanked Americans for sanctions because they have united his country.
Although the report centers on the Iranian nuclear program, crude oil and natural gas still matter. Iran holds tremendous reserves of both fuels, but development sharply lags because of lack of investment. Iran exports relatively large volumes of crude oil but little natural gas. Export pipelines are lacking. Grandiose plans have been laid out for new pipelines, but the availability of natural gas to fill these proposed lines is questionable. The author concludes with an epilogue, serving to bring the reader up to date and offering a view of Iran’s future.