The nuclear beans are spilling

Kahuta's Sales BrochurePakistan’s involvement in selling nuclear technology and equipment is getting clearer, as this Washington Post article reveals. Musharraf certainly knew this was coming which probably contributed to his efforts to get some good press with the Kashmir ‘concession’ last week. It will also be interesting to see the Saudi reaction to this, after all it was their money that helped Pakistan build up the nuclear capability that was later transferred to Tehran, which happens to be Riyadh’s rival.

From Kahuta's catalogThe blueprints, which the IAEA has reviewed, depict a type of centrifuge that is nearly identical to a machine used by Pakistan in the early years of its nuclear program…
The draft report by (David) Albright’s group, based on experts familiar with the Iranian machine, describes it as a modified version of a centrifuge built decades ago by Urenco, a consortium of the British, Dutch and German governments. The machine is about six feet high and is made of aluminum and a special type of high-strength steel. The design is one of several known to have been stolen in the 1970s by a Pakistani nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, who later became known as the father of the Pakistani bomb.

Pakistan modified the Urenco design and manufactured a number of the machines before abandoning the centrifuge for a sturdier model, said Albright, co-author of the study. The blueprints obtained by Iran show “distinctive” modifications similar to the ones made by Pakistan, Albright said.

Traces of highly enriched uranium on centrifuge components in Iran indicated they had been used before. Most of the contaminants are of a type of highly enriched uranium believed to be “consistent with material produced in Pakistan,” Albright said.

A CIA spokesman denied that any Americans were involved in rounding up the (Pakistani) scientists, but other officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the U.S. government was aware of the incident and had been allowed to participate in the questioning. The episode followed what one official described as high-level requests by both the IAEA and the U.S. government for Islamabad to respond to new evidence suggesting that Pakistan’s nuclear secrets had been passed to Iran.

Some experts see the detention of the scientists as a hopeful sign, suggesting that Pakistan is preparing to increase its cooperation with IAEA investigators.

“The Pakistanis know the Iranians have fingered them,” said Samore, the former adviser on nonproliferation for the Clinton administration. “They know the IAEA is asking questions. This could be the beginning of what Richard Nixon used to call a ‘limited hangout’ operation.”