I have just completed reading a fascinating and well reference-backed article from Wikipedia on the nuclear history of Iran. It turns out that the nuclear energy program was encouraged by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in the 1970’s when the US’s boy, the Shah, was running things. It is possible that the Shah had nuclear weapons ambitions, but it is sure that in 1974 he called for making the middle-east a nuclear weapons free zone (a move that the US has long opposed).
After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the nuclear program was again started and it was under the guidance of the IAEA until the US pressured the IAEA to withdraw from Iran in 1983! (Mark Hibbs, “US in 1983 stopped IAEA from helping Iran make UF6”, Nuclear Fuel, 4 August 2003.)
With regards to the question of whether or not a nuclear weapons program was actually present to be “halted” in 2003, we have this from the IAEA:
“On the question of whether Iran had a hidden nuclear weapons program, the IAEA reported in November 2003 that it found “no evidence” that the previously undeclared activities were related to a nuclear weapons program, but also that it was unable to conclude that Iran’s nuclear program was exclusively peaceful. The IAEA remains unable to draw such a conclusion since the IAEA only certifies the absence of undeclared nuclear activities for nations that have formally ratified the Additional Protocol. According to the IAEA’s own Annual Safeguards Implementation Report of 2004, of the 61 states where both the NPT safeguards and the Additional protocol are implemented, the IAEA has certified the absence of undeclared nuclear activity for only 21 countries, leaving Iran in the same category as 40 other countries including Canada, the Czech Republic, and South Africa.” Also, “the IAEA had certified that there was no diversion of fissile material to military use.”
However, the 2007 NIE on Iran says that the nuclear weapons program of Iran was halted in 2003. It appears to me that this is a load of B.S. AIPAC was quick to jump all over this: “Far from acquitting Iran, the NIE reveals that Tehran continues to violate the international community’s calls to end the pursuit of the fuel cycle and the ability to make highly enriched uranium, concludes that Iran has utilized and has at its disposal a hidden, secret second unacknowledged, unmonitored track for enriching bomb fuel, and has engaged in a nuclear weaponization program, an assessment never before made public by the American intelligence community”.
There is a great article paralleling my sentiments exactly over at Information clearing house at:
See the Wiki article here:
And there is a great timeline of Iran’s nuclear program here: