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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran not after nuclear weapons, says UK analyst

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Feb 21, IRNA -- A senior researcher of defense and security issues says Iran has never decided to acquire nuclear weapons as the country has stated repeatedly that it has no intention of developing nuclear program for military purposes.

Christopher Pang, the head of the Middle East and Africa Program at the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), also told IRNA that Tehran has reiterated for several times 'the pursuit of nuclear weapons is against the principles of Islam'.

Asked about the recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about Iran's nuclear program, Pang said it suggests that Iran could possibility move closer towards a nuclear weapons capability.

"But in fact it has never been Iran's decision to acquire nuclear weapons as Iran has stated repeatedly that it has no intention of producing a nuclear program for military purposes. The key issue here is that this [nuclear] capability gives Iran a strategic option in the region."

Referring to the increasing power of Iran in the region, Pang said Iran's nuclear capability is seen as further leverage that the Islamic Republic can wield.

He added that Iran previously demonstrated its technological advancement by test-launching a rocket to space.

"When you put these pieces together, it suggests that Iran is investing a lot of its resources and political and international capital in developing capabilities that could be pursued as having dual use," he said.

"I do not think that Iran wants to be considered a nuclear power. They only wish to pursue a nuclear program for the production of energy and electricity. Iran has the right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes but it also has obligations under the NPT."

Asked about the politically-motivated moves against Iran's scientific breakthroughs and labelling them dual-use technologies, Pang said the debate over dual-use technology is not so much about the technical aspects of Iran's nuclear program.

"It is a debate about Iran's strategic relationship with the US and the international community. And if we look at it this way, Iran's current relationship with the US is marred with historical baggage and strategic differences in issues such as the role of US in Iraq and the Middle East including the recent Israeli strike on Gaza."

He said the strategic relationship in the regional politics of the Middle East play a much greater role in dictating this debate about dual use than the technical aspects.

Pang added that the West should set aside historical differences with Iran because the two sides share very similar strategic goals in the Middle East particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the energy security.

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End News / IRNA / News Code 362945



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