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Peaceful Use of nuclear energy

Dr.Akram Salehi

Chief Editor of the Iranian Journal of International Relations

Possession of nuclear energy is a right which derives from public international law and all states have this right. Nevertheless, the threats caused by nuclear energy deviation, from serving humanity to producing and using deadly nuclear weapons, pushed the International Community to conclude a nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty.

In fact, nuclear non-proliferation, peaceful use of nuclear energy for all members and nuclear disarmament formed the three main pillars of this treaty. Despite this, concept, the scope of inclusion and limits of rights and obligations of member states in relation to these pillars, have always been controversial issues between different groups of governments, especially countries with nuclear weapons and countries without nuclear weapons. Countries without nuclear weapons made such commitments with the goal of achieving a higher value which is to establish international peace and security. From the beginning, these countries feared to be deprived of achieving peaceful nuclear energy as well as regulation of the provisions of the treaty being used as a pretext for obtaining the monopoly of nuclear technology by some specific countries. For this reason, they explicitly included the acquisition of peaceful nuclear energy as an inalienable right in Article 4 of the Treaty provided non-proliferation (Articles 1 and 2). In fact, there is no general rule in international law that prohibit governments from peaceful use of nuclear knowledge, including uranium enrichment.  Therefore, the actions of governments in the field are considered as permissible and legitimate from the perspective of public international law and any institution or authority that prevents governments from achieving peaceful use of nuclear knowledge or technology has committed an act contrary to public international law. Consequently, the governments have full peaceful nuclear rights, including uranium enrichment unless the violation of Article one or two of the treaty has been proved. Iran is no exception to this rule as a member of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Given that IAEA reports have never established a deviation from the nuclear program towards nuclear weapons, Iran, like other members of the treaty, has all nuclear rights, including uranium enrichment. Therefore, the right to enrich uranium remains one of Iran's peaceful nuclear rights and will not need to be approved in any new document or be recognized by other countries

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