In Fact…

In Fact…

Stephen Zunes writes: Amid the blare of the Bush Administration’s alarms about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons capabilities, few remember that the United States, from the Eisenhower through the

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Stephen Zunes writes: Amid the blare of the Bush Administration’s alarms about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons capabilities, few remember that the United States, from the Eisenhower through the Carter presidencies, played a major role in the development of Iran’s nuclear program. In 1957 the United States and Iran signed their first civil nuclear cooperation agreement. Over the next two decades, the United States not only provided Iran with technical assistance but supplied the country with its first experimental nuclear reactor, complete with enriched uranium and plutonium with fissile isotopes. Despite the refusal of the Shah to rule out the possibility of Iran’s developing nuclear weapons, the Ford Administration in 1975 approved the sale of up to eight nuclear reactors with fuel to Iran and, in 1976, approved the sale of lasers believed to be capable of enriching uranium. The Washington Post reported that an initially hesitant President Ford was assured by his advisers that Iran was interested only in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Ford’s Defense Secretary was Donald Rumsfeld, his Chief of Staff was Dick Cheney and his man in charge of nonproliferation efforts at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency was Paul Wolfowitz.

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