I've long believed that Iran has the right to develop nuclear energy to power the nation. But I've also been enough of a pragmatist to recognize that this can't happen unless there are assurances that the technology won't be used to create nuclear weapons. And, frankly, no one should harbor any confidence that Iran would cooperate with nuclear inspectors to assure the world that it isn't developing nukes.
That's why I find President Obama's comments about Iran and nuclear energy during a BBC interview today a bit troubling.
The president says Iran has the right to nuclear energy. Like me, he says there have to be assurances that the development will only be used for peaceful purposes. But the very fact that he is saying this makes me wonder if he, unlike me, has faith that those assurances can be met.
To be sure, Iran does have energy issues. It sits upon huge fields of oil but lacks the capability to refine it.
Perhaps a better approach for the president to take would be to suggest the development of refineries in Iran. If that nation abandons its nuclear program.
That way, not only could Iran meet its energy needs. It would also no longer be considered a potential nuclear threat.