Iran’s Quest for Nuclear Science and Technology (2003)

Declaration of the Physics Society of Iran on on Iran’s Access to Nuclear Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran (Oct. 2003)

In the last few months various social strata inside and outside of Iran have engaged in discussions on Iran’s access to nuclear technology. Now that discussions of this issue have subsided Physics Society of Iran, according to its social obligation to inform on scientific matters, declares that:
Growth and development in nuclear sciences and technologies are essential for Iran’s sustainable development. This growth and the development of related sciences and technologies, which is the inalienable right of our nation, is not attainable unless modern rationality is introduced into decision making and into procedures leading to scientific decisions. Regrettably, there is evidence however, that sometimes the procedures governing scientific decision making are not based on rationality.
Our country, perhaps because of its hundreds of years of historical stagnation in the area of science and its strong feeling of under-development needs occasional achievements. But, these occasional achievements bring about false pride only, and slow down sustainable development.
Development of scientific and technological infrastructure are obvious requirements of scientific developments which in the absence of strong science management, and with mediocre and weak managers, is impossible. Even if for any political reason a need for sporadic achievement in technology is recognized, in the absence of a strong and overreaching infrastructure and without scientific back up, modern rationality necessitates establishment of the required infrastructure and prohibits weakening of the existing infrastructures. Unfortunately, in the area of nuclear science and technology, in the larger sense, we are witnessing such a phenomenon.
Claims concerning Iran’s achievement of nuclear technology deserve serious scrutiny. Nuclear sciences and technologies are very diverse and interdisciplinary and achieving technology in one area does not extend to other areas. Having neglected the multitude of areas of nuclear technology and its peaceful applications, lack of support for the existing fragile infrastructure, and even their destruction, neglecting education of manpower specialized in the area of nuclear science and technology, lack of support for research in these areas, and absence of the necessary vision for future, all point to the claim being unfounded, and make us weary of the consequences of the claim for an achievement which we do not possess.
Emphasizing the need for the financial and administrative investment in peaceful nuclear sciences and technologies, we declare that because of lack of modern rationality in previous scientific decisions, we are facing the danger of isolation in international relations; and we declare that the necessary infrastructures for peaceful nuclear sciences may not be developed in isolation. Our concern is the possible future blockage of all international roads to our scientific development.
National security relies on scientific development and on maintenance of international interactions. It is unreasonable to assist in imposition of economic and scientific sanctions. Sustainable development and security are only possible through international interactions. Involving high level scientific managers in scientific decisions will reduce the danger of irrational management.
Iran is well capable of becoming a leading country in science and technology in the region. It may find its adequate place in the region and the international community only if rationality is introduced in its scientific decisions.