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What Do Ordinary Iranians Think About Their Nuclear Program?

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (center) inspects the Natanz nuclear facility in central Iran. (file photo)
What do Iranians think about their country’s nuclear program? Amid talk of possible Israeli military strikes and more tough international sanctions, Iranians inside and outside the country have gotten in touch with RFE/RL’s Radio Farda via phone and e-mail to give their views on their country's controversial nuclear program. Here's a sample.

"Iran is playing for time while trying to acquire nuclear weapons. It won’t acquire them, but it is creating trouble for itself and the world. The more time you give this regime, the greater treason you have committed against humanity."

"Is it possible to be Iranian and not want nuclear energy? Nuclear energy has become a matter of prestige, even if we have to pay a price for it. You have access to nuclear energy; it’s our right, too. Yes, we want a nuclear bomb. Who wants to stop us?"

"In my view, there is nothing wrong with using nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. But given the policies of the Islamic republic, there is no guarantee that Iran’s uranium-enrichment activities are peaceful, and the concern of the international community is understandable."

"Why [shouldn’t we have a nuclear weapon]? If we had had one, the [1980-88] war with Iraq would have never happened."

"Europe and the United States would never accept an advanced Muslim country [with nuclear arms]. Israel has a nuclear bomb and it’s not a member of the [Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty], but no one does anything about that. In the nuclear issue, Europe and the U.S. are imposing their will on Iran. The United Nations is under their control. It’s the law of the jungle."

"I read reports that the U.S. intelligence community believes Iran has not made a decision to produce a nuclear bomb. But I believe that Iran should not only have nuclear weapons, but should also possess all advanced weapons that are available in the world. Iran should regain the glory it had 2,500 years ago."

"The Iranian regime needs a nuclear bomb for self-preservation. Like North Korea, it doesn’t matter if [that causes] famine."

"It’s very easy for Iranian politicians to fool the United States. [Authorities] say Iran hasn’t made a decision to build a nuclear weapon? So all the shouts and cries and the heavy [economic] costs are only for producing electricity?! Just wait for an underground test and then appoint a special envoy for the talks, as you did for North Korea."

"I believe nuclear weapons should be on Iran’s agenda because of the region where Iran is located and countries such as Pakistan, India, and Israel have nuclear weapons, although I am against the costs. Iran is facing difficult economic conditions and only ordinary people are paying the costs. Sanctions and pressure is not the way to go. If you’re really after pressuring the government, you should inform the people such as myself how to stand against this regime. People are not just based in big cities; you should reach out to people in villages."

"I think all of it is just a big game on the part of the West and also Iran. In the name of [the threat from Iran] they’re giving every year billions of dollars of arms to Iran’s neighboring countries, and Iran is creating trouble for the whole world while no one cares. In general, only ordinary people are paying the price...unfortunately."

"As long as Western countries want to have the monopoly over nuclear technology, there will be countries that will stand against them. Therefore, Iran is right not to accept the monopoly. But if one day a nuclear bank is created and the West gives up its monopoly to a certain extent, then other countries can be asked to back off and not go after nuclear technology."

"Iranian leaders should be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons. Their [claim] of spirituality with their desire for power and wealth will only result in war and destruction."

Translated by Golnaz Esfandiari