Hot Potato goes nuclear

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Political science Professor Asslan Khaligh speaks to students Oct. 6 about the July 14 Iran nuclear deal during a Hot Potato lecture in the Methodist Student Center. The deal prohibits Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Khaligh said the deal hurts parity by creating an imbalance of powers between Iran and Neighboring countries with nuclear weapons. Photo by E. David Guel

Political science Professor Asslan Khaligh speaks to students Oct. 6 about the July 14 Iran nuclear deal during a Hot Potato lecture in the Methodist Student Center. The deal prohibits Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Khaligh said the deal hurts parity by creating an imbalance of powers between Iran and Neighboring countries with nuclear weapons. Photo by E. David Guel

Deal to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons looks beneficial to the US, Iran and the world, government professor says.

By Daniel Carde

A deal with Iran, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom, Germany and the U.S. will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, said political science Professor Asslan Khaligh, to about 20 people Oct. 6 at the Methodist Student Center.

“By signing the deal, they will stop production of the weapons, going forward with a peaceful nuclear program,” Khaligh said.

He is Iranian-born and emigrated to the U.S. in 1974 but is now a U.S. citizen

Iran has three big reasons to want nuclear weapons: to parrot their nuclear armed neighboring countries, to protect their sovereignty by deterring other countries from attacking and to restore a balance of power. However, Iran will benefit from signing the deal, he said.

Iran’s economy is collapsing, Khaligh said.

It’s “better to cooperate and not have bombs, than to not, and have economic sanctions,” Khaligh said.

Signing the agreement eliminates the potential problem that owning nuclear weapons creates with the West, he said.

If Iran doesn’t sign the agreement, “they worry about military action by Iraq and Israel against them,” he said.

There are four fundamental provisions for the agreement to happen, Khaligh said.

“Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity will be limited for 15 years,” he said.

Uranium enrichment is the process used to remove the isotope uranium-235 for use in nuclear energy.

Iran is already producing enriched uranium and has more than 19,000 nuclear centrifuges, he said.

Iran already has “nuclear power, regardless of whether we like it or not,” he said. “The knowledge is there, the capacity is there, the material is there.”

The second part of the agreement is to reduce the number of centrifuges to 6,100.

Most countries with a “nuclear capacity, which is a civilian capacity” have between 3,000-5,000 centrifuges, Khaligh said.

In the third part, the agreement will allow enrichment only at the Natanz nuclear facility, which is about 196 miles south of Tehran, the nation’s capital, he said. The facility will be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency via remote video camera.

Iran will also have its nuclear enrichment monitored from production to waste, he said.

The fourth stipulation of the agreement will stop the weapons-grade plutonium water reactor in Arak, he said.

Khaligh said there is speculation that the reactor will eventually be removed and filled with concrete.

When it is verified, Iran will meet the stipulations of the agreement, then the European Union, U.N. and U.S will lift the economic sanctions against Iran, he said.

“This deal meets our objective, which is not based on trust, but verification. Iran will never have a bomb,” he said, paraphrasing what President Barack Obama said April 2.

On paper, it looks like a good deal for the U.S., Iran and the world, but he won’t know until it is implemented, he said.

“As we say in the U.S., proof is in the pudding,” he said.

The question and answer portion became heated as education sophomore Michael Holley and Khaligh debated whether Iran can be trusted as Iran officials have repeatedly said, “death to America,” and “death to Israel.”

Khaligh said those chants are merely rhetoric and the world needs to look at Iran’s recent history of not attacking other countries.

Holley and Khaligh also debated if the U.S. and the U.N. should have regulatory authority.

Holley said the U.S. should have regulatory powers because other nations have given this country the power to do so. He also said other nations come to the U.S. when they need help.

Khaligh said, “The U.S. to me, is the most dangerous country in the world. The U.S. is the only country that has used them (nuclear bombs). … It’s like a smoker telling kids not to smoke.”

The next Hot Potato is on the response to global terrorism since 9/11 at 12:15 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Methodist Student Center.

For more information, call Rev. Johnny Silva at 210-733-1441.

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