Pakistan downplays CIA report on leaks of nuclear technology to Iran
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan on Saturday defended its efforts to halt leaks of nuclear technology amid suggestions that a new CIA report says a renegade scientist provided more help to Iran’s nuclear weapons program than previously disclosed.
The CIA – which provides the U.S. Congress with six-month updates on reported efforts by Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Syria to obtain chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons technology – posted an unclassified version on its Web site this week.
Analyzing the report, The New York Times said it indicates that bomb-making designs provided by Abdul Qadeer Khan to Iran in the 1990s were more significant than Washington has said.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan criticized the Times report, saying it was “based on flimsy evidence, hearsay and snippets of conversations.
“The CIA report does not mention any ‘designs for weapons or bomb-making components.’ Weapons and bomb-making are the writer’s own creative insertions,” Masood Khan said Saturday.
“In the past year, Pakistan has conducted an inquiry to unearth an illicit network of international black-marketeers, dismantled it and shared the results of the inquiry transparently with the people of Pakistan.
“Pakistan has been cooperating with the IAEA and the international community to thwart international black-marketeers from proliferating sensitive nuclear technology.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency – the Vienna, Austria-based nuclear watchdog agency of the United Nations – has been investigating Iran’s nuclear activities for about 18 months, but the agency remains unable to determine if nearly two decades of Iranian nuclear activities were purely peaceful or if the government had a secret weapons agenda.
Tehran says its activities were for generating electricity, while the United States says they were for making weapons.