Sunday, August 06, 2006
The London Times Online Sunday edition reveals a United Nations report that Iranian operatives purchased weapons-grade uranium from Tanzania but were caught trying to smuggle it into Iran disguised as coltan, a legal commodity commonly used in computer chips.
IRAN is seeking to import large consignments of bomb-making uranium from the African mining area that produced the Hiroshima bomb, an investigation has revealed.
A United Nations report, dated July 18, said there was “no doubt” that a huge shipment of smuggled uranium 238, uncovered by customs officials in Tanzania, was transported from the Lubumbashi mines in the Congo.
Tanzanian customs officials told The Sunday Times it was destined for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, and was stopped on October 22 last year during a routine check.
The disclosure will heighten western fears about the extent of Iran’s presumed nuclear weapons programme and the strategic implications of Iran’s continuing support for Hezbollah during the war with Israel.
Captain Ed's key point contrasts Saddam's approach to the procurement of U-238 with that of Iran:
If this sounds familiar, it should. This scenario was exactly what the Brits determined might be the aim of Saddam Hussein, that time in Niger. As in Tanzania, the uranium mines had been shut down -- but in both nations, illegal mining had been known to occur. Hussein tried to get Niger's government to clandestinely arrange for trade in the one commodity they could not openly sell, but the Nigerien PM refused. Iran went behind the backs of Tanzanian officials and dealt directly with the illegal mining operations to get their nuclear material.
In other words, an even more ruthless enemy.
Quick, someone send Joe Wilson to Tanzania so he can come back and explain why this report can't possibly be true.