Cole on Middle East Crises (Chuck Mertz interview)

Here is the interview Chuck Mertz did with me for Saturday’s episode of his long-running dissident show, “This is Hell, ” covering the situation in the Middle East.

Episode 769: Enemies Forgotten and …

5 hours ago

This is Hell! Episode 769

Episode 769: Enemies Forgotten and …

5 hours ago

Juan Cole: “I don’t understand why the Secretary of State would demand the UN be allowed to inspect a facility that the UN has been regularly inspecting all summer.”

When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. When you have a massive military-industrial complex, every problem looks like… Iran? Historian, professor and blogger Juan Cole looks at Iran through Netanyahu-colored glasses and sees conflict, mis-direction and repetition.

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2 Responses

  1. The interview was well done and informative.

    This comment focuses on an aspect of the situation in the Middle East that the interviewer, Chuck Mertz, did not bring up directly. That is the question, “Why does Iran have a nuclear energy program in the first place?”

    The answer to the “why” question is important because the audience of the “This is Hell” show is the general public, not people with a strong background knowledge of Iran’s nuclear program. Next time, it might be helpful to squeeze into the interview a brief tutorial on the subject — such as:

    Iran is like many other countries. There is public support for moving away from burning hydrocarbons to generate electricity and toward the use of geothermal, nuclear, solar, and wind energy.

    However, Iran’s situation is different than other countries. The economic and trade sanctions have prevented it from purchasing enriched uranium-235 on the world market. The Iranians only alternative is to enrich their own fuel for nuclear power stations. Enriched 3.5% uranium-235 fuel is suited for large base-load power stations. The Iranians are also using 20% enriched uranium in a research reactor to make radioisotopes for medical purposes. But, regardless of where the enriched uranium comes from, the International Atomic Energy Agency will monitor its handling, storage, and use.

    In effect, Iran’s uranium enrichment program is mandated by the U.S. Government through the use of sanctions.

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