My cousin, a civil engineering major who attends the University of Science and Technology (3rd most prominent school in Iran), recently divulged an interesting tidbit of information. It seems that right up to the two weeks before Iran's recent June presidential election, one of his professors was Mr. Ahmadinejad
. At the time, he was mayor. And apparently, he was the teacher everybody likes--friendly, laid back, cheerful, and an easy grader! He taught my cousin's traffic engineering course, while his bodyguard would sit outside.
Aside from teaching undergrads, he also was professor to PhD students. If this guy fits the classic stereotype of the cool teacher, then it's no surprise that he won the election.
President Ahmadinejad somewhat reminds me of New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin
because of his down-to-earth, mover-and-shaker honest approach to politics. In his recent Sept. 17 speech at the UN meeting in New York, President Ahmadinejad "kept it real":
"Some powerful states practice a discriminatory approach against access of NPT members to material, equipment, and peaceful nuclear technology, and by doing so, intend to impose a nuclear apartheid.
"We are concerned that once certain powerful states completely control nuclear energy resources and technology, they will deny access to and thus deepen the divide between powerful countries and the rest of the international community. When that happens, we will be divided into light and dark countries....
"Regrettably, in the past 30 years, no effective measure has been implemented to facilitate the exercise of the legally recognized right of NPT state-parties to have access to and use peaceful nuclear energy in accordance with article IV. Therefore, the General Assembly should ask the IAEA in accordance with article 2 of its Statute to report on violations by specific countries that have hindered the implementation of the above article and also produce practical strategies for its renewed implementation.
"What needs our particular attention is the fact that peaceful use of nuclear energy without possession of nuclear fuel cycle is an empty proposition. Nuclear power plants can indeed lead to total dependence of countries and peoples if they need to rely for their fuel on coercive powers, who do not refrain from any measure in furtherance of their interests.
"No popularly elected and responsible government can consider such a situation in the interest of its people. The history of dependence on oil in oil rich countries under domination is an experiment that no independent country is willing to repeat....
"Therefore, as a further confidence building measure and in order to provide the greatest degree of transparency, the Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to engage in serious partnership with private and public sectors of other countries in the implementation of uranium enrichment program in Iran. This represents the most far reaching step, outside all requirements of the NPT, being proposed by Iran as a further confidence building measure."....
Click here for the full transcript.
Public support for the pursuit of nuclear energy within Iran transcends all boundaries of age, education levels, socio-economic status, politics, and gender. Iranians want nuclear energy because they see it as the epitome of modernity. Anyone you ask on the street will firmly assert its importance for technological advancement in the scientific, medical, agricultural, economic and many other sectors.
While Iran has consistently stated that the nuclear energy it seeks will be used for peaceful purposes
, there may be a chance the country will withdraw
from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if the U.S. and/or the EU trio persist in trying to bar Iran's legal right to pursue such energy.
This is an interesting predicament...will the rule of law prevail, or the interests of the most developed and richest countries in the world? We shall see....