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Last Updated: Friday, 3 February 2006, 16:41 GMT
Iran nuclear crisis: Iranians speak
Iranian athletes flash victory signs at protest outside nuclear facility in Isfahan, Iran
The nuclear issue has become a flashpoint in Iran
With the Iranian nuclear crisis escalating, the BBC News website and BBCPersian.com spoke to six Iranians in the country's capital, Tehran, for their thoughts on the crisis.

They spoke about whether they felt Iran was right to pursue nuclear power and their concerns for Iran's future as international pressure on the country increases.


ZAHRA QADDIRI , 33, ACUPUNCTURIST, TEHRAN

The government says they want nuclear power for energy but they do not have a firm basis for this.

We cannot trust them as they have lied so many times. They're insisting on using it only for energy but I think it's better we investigate alternatives such as solar power.

Not everyone is happy with the government we have, but if there was military action against us everyone would unite in anger
We do not have the data capability or even the best reactors to enrich uranium.

I also feel they may be using the uranium for nuclear weapons. Why else would our government lie to us for 18 years about it?

Not everyone here is happy with the government we have, but if there was military action against us everyone would unite in anger.

So how can we sort it out? I do not want to have problems for my people. Whatever the world decides in terms of action should be against the government, not Iranians.

It is always the people who suffer.

The government should also consider the consequences of what will happen with the UN Security Council.

I think our government is just buying time. But sooner or later, there must be a solution.

REZ, 34, DOCTOR, TEHRAN

I think it is our right to have nuclear energy. Everyone should cool down, stop overreacting and stop threatening us. If everyone calms down we can find a solution.

You must understand that young people here all want Iran to have this power. We need nuclear energy for financial purposes and to aid medical research.

Iranian nuclear technicians
Iran insists its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes
Nobody in Iran is interested in nuclear weapons, contrary to what the West thinks. Our people are peaceful.

I fear possible sanctions against us would benefit only the West. Isolating us internationally would be even worse.

Most Iranians are in favour of nuclear power. It is a very big domestic issue now and there is no way back.

No politician can be popular if he does not give the people what he wants, which is why President Ahmadinejad says what he does. He is following the will of the people.

It is also an issue Iranians are ready to sacrifice for. It has become a matter of national pride.

In the future, one scenario I see is Iran becoming isolated to the point of being North Korea, but I do not think this will happen.

Both sides will cool down and somehow find a compromise in a way that neither loses face.

NARIMAN, 19, STUDENT, TEHRAN

I do not think the Iranian government has dealt with the crisis well. President Ahmadinejad has increased the tension when it could have been solved diplomatically.

It is our right to have nuclear power
He did not face the world realistically and made several threats concerning Israel which should not have been mentioned.

Still, I think it is our right to have nuclear power. We will face power shortages in 20 years and it is our right to gain power peacefully.

Under inspections by the IAEA this process could be made safe, but instead it looks like Iran will face negotiations without end.

They could even throw sanctions at us, which will violate Iranians' lives.

Better relations with Europe and negotiations could give us a chance. I'm no politician, but I think the plan offered by Russia or China to produce uranium could prove a good solution.

BABAK, 33, ASSISTANT, TEHRAN

I think this nuclear crisis is a pretext for the challenges between two belligerent parties - America and Europe on one hand and Iran on the other.

Young women protesters at a nuclear rally in Tehran, Iran
Iranians have held rallies supporting the country's nuclear programme
The two sides are using this nuclear issue as a pretext to exert pressure on each other.

Iran is entitled to have nuclear power plants. Tehran has invested in this even before the revolution - because it knows that nuclear energy is a good means of generating electrical power.

Although there are concerns about the environment and nuclear disasters, having a nuclear power plant is Iran's right.

But I do not think Iran should be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Iran is a country where the pillars of democracy are non-existent - it has an unpredictable government and people do not trust it.

Our government does not understand the modern world and the thought of such a regime having access to nuclear weapons is frightening.

There are two political factions in Iran. One is not willing to step back from its position. The wiser faction, that is more moderate and pragmatic, believes that the nuclear issue should not endanger the country's interests.

I do not know which one of these views will prevail in the end.

MAZDAK, 30, AGRICULTURAL ENGINEER, TEHRAN

As an environmentalist, I am against the development of nuclear technology. I believe not only Iran but the whole world should replace nuclear energy with sustainable forms of energy such as solar energy and wind power.

However, Iran should be entitled to any technology that other countries have at their disposal.

In the modern world, nuclear weapons help countries against hostile foreign powers. Trying to access nuclear weapons, as far as Iran is concerned, could be a way of trying to reduce pressure exerted on the country.

I believe the West's double standards on this issue are oppressive. Until this situation is changed and until Israel is no longer immune to nuclear inspection, this problem will remain.

The best way to put an end to Iran's nuclear crisis is not by waging war or by starting an embargo.

The only solution is changing the US and EU's bullying behaviour. They must consider equal rights for all countries.

AHMAD, TEHRAN

I think all countries are entitled to nuclear technology. You cannot monopolise technology or keep it within the boundaries of a certain country.

All countries are entitled to nuclear technology... but no-one should have nuclear weapons
Scientific achievements are for all humankind and all nations should benefit from them.

But I believe that no-one should have nuclear weapons. It is part of our religious teachings that even wars should be fair. Nuclear weapons will leave innocent people dead.

The current nuclear crisis has a solution, but we need to find an understanding and we also need to eliminate the concerns of the international community.

As far as sanctions are concerned, anything which could have a negative impact on Iranian society would be a cause for concern.

Sanctions would put pressure on the Iranians themselves, who would in turn develop an anti-Western attitude.

It is difficult to guess the fate of my country, but we have had far more difficult days.




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