Friday, April 10, 2009

History from the Memory Hole

1976: Ford Gives Permission to Sell Nuclear Technology to Iran from

President Gerald R. Ford signs a presidential directive giving the Iranian government the opportunity to purchase a US-built nuclear reprocessing facility for extracting plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel. Iran, with support from the US, wants to develop a massive nuclear energy industry that has complete “nuclear fuel cycle” capability so fissile materials can be supplied self-sustaining basis. US companies, chief among them Westinghouse, stands to make $6.4 billion from the sale of six to eight nuclear reactors and parts. The shah has argued that Iran needs a nuclear energy program in order to meet Iran’s growing energy demand. Iran is known to have massive oil and gas reserves, but the shah considers these finite reserves too valuable to be spent satisfying daily energy needs. In a 1975 strategy paper, the Ford administration supported this view saying that “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.” Top officials in the Ford administration—including Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Chief of Staff Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz, who is responsible for nonproliferation issues at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency—are strong supporters of Iran’s ambitions. Kissinger will tell the Washington Post 30 years later that the Ford administration was not concerned about the possibility of Iran using the facilities to produce nuclear weapons. “I don’t think the issue of proliferation came up,” he says. But Charles Naas, deputy US ambassador to Iran at this time, will tell the Post that nuclear experts had serious concerns about potential proliferation. Naas will explain that the administration was attracted to the nuclear deal “terms of commerce” and interested in maintaining good relations with the shah.
The article cites this link to the Washington Post.

Note, these guys wanted to give Iran not just a commercial nuclear reactor, but a full reprocessing facility for them to extract plutonium from spent reactor fuel rods.

And I love the bit about how the Ford Administration supported the Iranian idea that their 'oil and gas' reserves should be preserved. These days, you hear the right-wingers constantly ridicule the idea that Iran would want nuclear power reactors because they 'sit on a sea of oil'. Sometimes its fun to watch the same people switch sides on the same issue ... and do it with straight face.

I'd forgotten Paul Wolfowitz was in charge of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Wow! That's like making John Dillinger the agent in charge of preventing bank robberies.

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