Tuesday, 17 March 2009

PM accepts Iran's right to develop nuclear power generation

The BBC web-site concentrates on the negative aspects of Gordon Brown's speech today. However, it was clear from the clip played on Radio 4's mid-day news that the prime minister accepted Iran's right to diversify from a dependence on fossil fuels. One wonders whether he would have been allowed to do so in public during the reign of GW Bush.

For a long time, I have felt that Iran had more justification for a nuclear power generation programme than many Western countries, including ourselves. Iran has uranium ore, which we do not. Although it is a major petroleum producer, it does not have sufficient refining capacity of its own to meet domestic needs. The desire not to be dependent on foreign corporations is understandable.

It's nice to be able to come out of the closet on this issue, given the PM's lead. Of course, I agree that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons - and, indeed, she has consistently said that this is not the aim of her programme. Iran should also return to full compliance with IAEA membership, including nuclear inspections. Now that there is a less belligerent administration in the White House, and there should be no suspicion of US bullying of the UN agency, it should be an easy decision to make.

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