Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari, a prominent Iranian religious scholar, has called for a debate among intellectuals and political activists about the safety of nuclear facilities in earthquake-prone Iran. The call, issued in an article published on the opposition "Jaras" website, comes as nuclear safety is under intense scrutiny as Japan battles nuclear catastrophe. Eshkevari's is one of the first such challenges pertaining to nuclear facilities in Iran, where there is general agreement across the political spectrum on the country's nuclear-energy policy. Eshkevari, an outspoken critic of the Iranian establishment who was jailed and defrocked in Iran, speaks to RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari from Germany, where he has resided for the past three years.
RFE/RL: You've noted in your article that the issue of nuclear safety has been missing from the discussions on Iran's nuclear program. Do you think the nuclear accident in Japan has paved the way for a debate regarding the safety of Iran's nuclear facilities?
Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari: Unfortunately, in recent years, for foreign governments and also for many political activists, Iran's nuclear policy -- the issue of a nuclear bomb and the endangerment of world peace have been the main issues for debate. Little attention has been paid to the human aspect -- the issue of nuclear safety and the negative consequences that nuclear plants and facilities can have for people's health and the impact on the environment. ... >>>
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