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Article

“The Iranian Electric Power Industry after the Islamic Revolution: Nuclear Developments and Current Conditions.”

Iran’s nuclear activities are prominent in today’s media reports. However, few focus on their relationship to Iran’s energy needs. The Iranian government claims that nuclear technologies are vital for the national electric power industry and therefore for the country’s economy as a whole. It is common knowledge that the electric power industry is one of the main pillars of every country’s economy, directly influencing both state viability and national security. A state’s ability to provide and maintain the necessary amount of electricity production is vitally important. So, does Iran really, to such an extent, need nuclear power? My research shows that at the current moment and in the next, at least, ten years, the production of electricity using nuclear energy will secure only a somewhat insignificant place in the energy basket of Iran and its vital importance can therefore be questioned, especially against the backdrop of recently established international sanctions that are likely to have a detrimental impact on Iran’s economy. On the other hand, the stipulated measures for the construction of nuclear power plants can be regarded as an important component of the general policy of the Iranian government that aims to reduce the national economy’s dependency on fossil fuels. This quick study seeks to identify the real role of nuclear energy in this context through a brief analysis of Iran’s electric power industry. The material presented herein is based on official information provided by the Iranian ministries, state organizations (including annual statistics reports issued by the Tavanir Co., independent international sources, and information derived from my personal, almost 15 years’, experience of working in this field in Iran. I include an overview of the milestones in the Iranian power industry’s development after the Revolution of 1979, and trace the main changes in the technical and financial executive policies pursued by the Ministry of Energy against the backdrop of various forms of sanctions.