Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Iran claims Saudis getting nukes from Pakistan

Official Iranian sources are claiming that they have information about Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signing an agreement in 2003 in which Pakistan promised to help Saudi Arabia develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.
The reports are coming out as Iran reached an agreement with the three European powers - the United Kingdom, Germany and France - about a cessation of uranium enrichment and the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of directors issues its report on Iran's nuclear activity.

The Iranian reports emphasize that the nuclear cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is at an advanced stage and that for the first time the Saudis have access to nuclear technology.

The international news agency United Press International (UPI) reported that Iranian Prof. Abu Mohammed Asgarkhani claimed in a lecture that Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear arms picked up after it learned about the Pakistani-Saudi deal and the possibility that Saudi Arabia would eventually acquire nuclear weapons.

Israeli and Western sources are not attributing much significance to the Saudi ability to develop, even partially, nuclear weapons.

Pakistan owes Saudi Arabia a great deal because Saudi Arabia essentially financed development of the Pakistani bomb. A Saudi representative may have been the only foreigner invited to visit Pakistan's nuclear facilities. Pakistan was also the middleman between Saudi Arabia and China for the purchase of long-range Chinese missiles. Those missiles, based in Saudi Arabia, have meanwhile become obsolete, and the Saudis want to upgrade them. The Americans told the Chinese that would be a violation of an agreement in which the Chinese promised not to sell missiles. The Chinese say it would not be a missile sale, but an upgrade of an existing missile sold a long time ago, but Washington remains opposed to the deal.

The Iranian reports about nuclear dealings between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is apparently motivated by Iran's interest in pointing out that other countries in the region are involved in military nuclear development and that they are not coming under international criticism because they are friends of the U.S.