While the West was applying pressure on Iran to abandon its civilian nuclear programme, the Saudis were buying the atomic bomb from Israel or Pakistan. From now on, to everyone’s surprise, the Near East has become a nuclear zone, dominated by Israel and Saudi Arabia.
In 1979, Israel completed the final adjustments to its atomic bomb, in collaboration with the apartheid régime of South Africa. The Hebrew state has never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has always avoided answering questions about its nuclear programme.
Every year since 1980, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a consensual resolution to make the Near East a region free from all nuclear weapon. This resolution was aimed at encouraging Israel to give up its bomb and to ensure that other states would not enter into an arms race.
Under the Shah, Iran also had a military nuclear programme, but it was pursued only marginally after the revolution of 1979, because of the war started by Iraq (1980-88). However, it was only after the end of war that ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini opposed weapons of mass destruction, and consequently prohibited the fabrication, possession and the use of atomic weapons.
Negotiations then began for the restitution of the 1,180 billion dollars of Iranian investment in the Eurodif complex for the enrichment of uranium at Tricastin. However, the question was never resolved. As a result, during the dissolution of Eurodif in 2010, the Islamic Republic of Iran still owned 10% of the capital. It is probable that it still holds a part of the company for uranium enrichment at Tricastin.
From 2003 to 2005, the negotiations relative to the nuclear litigation were presided for Iran by Sheikh Hassan Rohani, a religious leader close to Presidents Rafsandjani and Khatami. The Europeans demanded the introduction of a passage stipulating that Iran dismantle its system for the teaching of nuclear physics, so as to ensure that they would be unable to relaunch their military programme.
However, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – a partisan for the relaunching of the Khomeinist Revolution – came to power, he rejected the agreement negotiated by Sheikh Rohani and dismissed him. He restarted the teaching of nuclear physics, and launched a research programme which was aimed, in particular, at finding a way of producing electricity from atomic fusion and not nuclear fission, which is currently used by the United States, Russia, France, China and Japan.