Iran May Need Nuclear Power - Study
The study's author, Roger Stern, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, said investment in Iranian oil production had been inadequate to offset oil field declines and the explosive growth in domestic demand.
"I'm not saying that Iran will have no oil in eight years," Stern said in a telephone interview. "I'm saying that they will be using all of it for themselves."
The analysis, published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said the Iranian government could become "politically vulnerable" from declining exports.
Oil exports account for about 70 percent of Iranian government revenue, said Stern, of the university's department of geography and environmental engineering.
He projected that in five years, Iranian oil exports may be less than half their present level, and could drop to zero by 2015.
"It therefore seems possible that Iran's claim to need nuclear power might be genuine, an indicator of distress from anticipated export revenue shortfalls," he wrote. "If so, the Iranian regime may be more vulnerable than is presently understood."
Iran has vowed to boost its uranium enrichment drive despite new U.N. sanctions approved on Saturday aimed at rolling back a nuclear program that the West fears is a prelude to atomic weapons.
Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns called on Japan, Europe, Russia and China to stop "business as usual" with Iran "to drive up the cost to the Iranians of essentially doing what they're doing" with uranium enrichment.
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