Article | 2015

The Iranian Window of Opportunity

By Amory Lovins

Iran’s Invisible Opportunity for Energy and Security: Modern energy investments could sideline nuclear ambiguity. Amory Lovins’s novel essay explains how helping and encouraging Iran to do what its key officials already want—harness its world-class resources of energy efficiency and renewables—could strengthen Iran’s economy, security, global integration, political evolution, and international standing without compromising others’ similar goals. Using the next 10–15+ years’ severe restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities to expand modern energy technologies could further displace and discredit its failed nuclear power program. That in turn could help disambiguate its nuclear activities and head off an incipient regional nuclear arms race, much as Argentina and Brazil did in the past three decades. It could also modernize the historically all-nuclear interpretation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Article IV (promising countries forgoing nuclear bombs access to exclusively peaceful nuclear energy) in light of its original purpose—secure and affordable energy for development—then aggressively meeting that legitimate need. This article expands a condensed version in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.