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Iranian nuclear test blogger speaks out

Posted by alanmirs on June 22, 2011


guardian.co.uk home

A Qom journalist explains how his blog about an imagined nuclear test went global after appearing on a Revolutionary Guard website

Firouzabadi

Seyed Ali Pourtabatabaei (holding daughter) meets Revolutionary Guard general, Hassan Firouzabadi Photograph: Kheyzaranonline

I have been talking to Seyed Ali Pourtabatabaei, a journalist from Qom who says he originally wrote the hypothetical piece in April on what would happen if Iran conducted its first nuclear test, which caused quite a stir after it was republished by Gerdab, a website run by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The piece did indeed appear first on his website Kheyzaranonline, (English version here) which is dedicated mostly to Mahdism, messianic Shia Islam which has a growing following in Iran and counts President Ahmadinejad among its adherents. Pourtabatabaei speaks pretty good English (which I have tidied only slightly below) and was amiable and chatty throughout a thirty minute Skype conversation. This is what he had to say:

I wrote that blog out of anger that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon. I think sanctions will just continue until the end of days, and they make us so angry. We don’t need nuclear weapons otherwise, but if we are going to have these sanctions, we should do a nuclear test to bring them to an end.

I asked how a nuclear test would end sanctions, and it emerged that what he meant was that if Iran was going to be under sanctions anyway, it might as well have a bomb and get some respect, and provide a counter-balance to the Israeli arsenal. He would view it as a regrettable necessity, as he believes nuclear weapons are ultimately futile.

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