Inside Iran Part IV: Iran's Nuclear Capability

Published November 25, 2005

| FoxNews.com

FOX News' Amy Kellogg recently visited Iran, where she interviewed journalists, students and others on life inside the Islamic Republic. This is the fourth in a series of eight installments about that trip, which will be aired every night on FOX News Channel.

Iran's nuclear capability is a topic of much controversy around the world.

One American-educated member of Iran's parliament, Rafat Bhayat, believes Iran should have a nuclear weapon for self-defense. That position is even more hard-line than that of Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who insists Iran just wants nuclear energy.

When asked why Iran needs nuclear energy when it's rich in oil and gas, Bhayat responds: "The same question we can ask from [the] United States. They have oil, why do they want energy?"

Click in the video box to the right for a report by FOX News' Amy Kellogg.

It's not that the international community doesn't want Iran to have nuclear energy. But since Iran kept its program secret for so long, there is suspicion that the country really just wants to build a bomb.

It recently emerged that Iran has a document showing how to construct the metal core of a nuclear weapon and says its failure to report nuclear activity to the International Atomic Energy Agency over nearly 20 years was oversight, not subterfuge — something nuclear experts don't buy.

"If you have one instance of a failure to report, that's an error. If you have two, maybe you'd give them some benefit of the doubt but when you have 18 instances of a failure to report, it's a very clear pattern and it's obvious that their intention was to proceed without reporting this to the [U.N.] Security Council," said Mark Fitzpatrick, senior fellow for non-proliferation studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Iran's atomic energy organization is also the site of a major research center. It's as close as the FOX News crew was able to get to any of the nuclear sites around the country, and the crew wasn't given access to anyone in the organization. FOX News was told organization members are reluctant to talk ahead of the very crucial upcoming meeting of the IAEA's Board of Governors.

The right to nuclear energy has become something of a rallying point for the Iranian people, many of who feel ganged up upon and judged with a double standard.

"The Israelis were the first who introduced nuclear weapons in the Middle East and they have huge weapon of mass destruction which is very dangerous and [the] U.S.A. does not talk about that," said one Iranian interviewed by FOX News.

But the U.S. government said the two situations can not be compared.

"There is no comparison between the policies of the government of Israel and the policies of the government of Iran," said Nicholas Burns, undersecretary for political affairs at the State Department. "Israel is a democratic, law-abiding state, a country that time and again has indicated its interest in general peace in the Middle East. Iran is an outlaw state."

As long as Iran has missiles that can hit Israel and as long as it makes comments about wiping the Jewish state off the map, the international community will be suspicious of Iran's nuclear intentions.

For now, there is much focus on a proposal that would allow Iran to process uranium partially and have the rest processed overseas so it can't weaponize the material.

Watch Part V of the series, which focuses on U.S.-Iran relations, Friday at 6 p.m. ET on FOX News Channel's "Special Report" with Brit Hume.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/11/25/inside-iran-part-iv-iran-nuclear-capability