I was thinking of how interesting global power relations can be. Iran’s nuclear program is the fascinating interplay between the Iran and the US, Russia, Pakistan, China, Germany, Argentina, and Israel. It includes politics, intrigue, religion, education, and espionage.
I was thinking of how interesting global power relations can be. Iran’s nuclear program is the fascinating interplay between the Iran and the US, Russia, Pakistan, China, Germany, Argentina, and Israel. It includes politics, intrigue, religion, education, and espionage. And a strong amount of denial – on almost everyone’s part. Just as in the Peanuts cartoon – we could be pretty sure the ball was going to be pulled at the last minute…again. But heck, we keep trying!
Take for instance, the US-Pakistan alliance and the Pakistan-Iran alliance. It is the interesting story of intrigue, lies, and half-truths that have enabled Iran to develop, manufacture, test, and operate a domestic uranium enrichment capability that, like Pakistan, could be used to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel or a nuclear weapon. Other information was also provided that in support of a nuclear weapons program.
Using the NTI news-based timeline for Iran’s nuclear program and some additional information provided by A. Q. Khan I have put together the news-based timeline of Iran-Pakistan nuclear interactions.
Reports of Pakistan nuclear assistance go back as early as 1984 when it was reported that Pakistan president said it was willing to cooperate with Iran on nuclear matters. A. Q. Khan visited Iran in January 1987. And in 1987, Pakistan and Iran sign an agreement to send Iranian engineers to Pakistan for training.
The US-Pakistan relations soured when US foreign aid was cut off under US President George Bush Sr when the US was no longer able to certify that Pakistan was not working on a nuclear weapon capability. The relations further declined in 1988 after Pakistan tested their nuclear weapons following India’s test. Yet the two nations were able to come together again after the 9/11 attack in 2001. From around 1986 through 2004, Pakistan – either through covert actions of their top nuclear scientists and/or with the help of the military-provided Iran with technical support for their nuclear weapon capability. Their support was foundational to Iran’s nuclear program.
Denial was the Key
Per NTI news summaries:
- 23 December 1988 Islamabad Domestic Service says that Pakistan denies that it is assisting Iran in building a nuclear facility at Qazvin (all sources are below).
- 21 June 1988 Islamabad Domestic Service says that Pakistan denies signing a secret nuclear pact with Iran.
- 17 November 1992 The Washington Post reports that Pakistan denies charges that it has sold centrifuge design data it stole from Urenco to Iran.
- 8 September 1992 Iranian President Hashemi-Rafsanjani denies any cooperation between Iran and Pakistan for the production of nuclear weapons.
- February 1992 Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif denies rumors that Pakistan is helping Iran rebuild and upgrade a research reactor.
- January 1992 Pakistani Deputy Prime Minister Husayn Haqani denies reports of an Iranian-Pakistani cooperation agreement on nuclear technology.
- April 1994 During a visit to Pakistan, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Nateq Nuri denies Western media reports that he held talks with Pakistani officials concerning cooperation between Iran and Pakistan in the field of nuclear technology.
- 19 December 1995 A press release from the Iranian embassy in Pakistan “categorically” rejects allegations printed in the Pakistani press that Iran offered to buy nuclear technology from Pakistan.
- 19 May 1995 A Pakistani foreign office spokesman denies that Pakistan secretly cooperated with Iran in the nuclear field.
- 1 August 1998 Mehdi Akhundzadeh, Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan, says Iran and Pakistan do not have an agreement regarding nuclear cooperation.
- 9 June 1998 Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reports Iran has labeled accusations that it is working with Pakistan to develop nuclear weapons as “baseless.”
- 6 May 1998 A nuclear scientist from Pakistan denies there is any cooperation between Islamabad, Tehran, and Baghdad regarding nuclear weapons technology.
- 22 April 1998 Pakistani President Rafiq Tarar asserts that Pakistan has not and will not export nuclear technology to any country.
- 21 September 1999 Akram Zaki, chairman of Pakistan’s Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, tells the Middle East Institute that Pakistan would not give, nor has it ever given, sensitive nuclear information or technology to other countries.
- 11 December 2001 A high-ranking Pakistani official denies nuclear cooperation with Iran.
- 22 August 2001 Syed Anwar Mehmood, Pakistani Federal Secretary of Information, denies a report in the Wall Street Journal that Pakistan sold nuclear technology to Iran, among other countries.
- 10 March 2003 Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan rejects media allegations at a weekly press briefing and declares that Pakistan has not extended any nuclear cooperation to Iran
- 27 November 2004 Pakistani government officials downplay allegations from a newly released CIA report that A.Q. Khan provided more assistance to Iran’s nuclear program than previously revealed.
- 10 March 2005 Pakistani information minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, confirms A.Q. Khan gave centrifuges for enriching uranium to Iran, “but the government was in no way involved.”
- 28 February 2005 Pakistan dismisses an old report about a meeting between Iranian officials and AQ Kahn. The story was originally published by the Washington Post 18 year ago. Foreign Minister spokesman, Masood Khan, said “it’s recycling of an old story…and does not warrant a substantive response from us.”
- 6 February 2008 Iran tests a new centrifuge design to enrich uranium, according to European and American diplomats. The IR-2 is an Iranian improvement on a Pakistani design that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boasted in an April 2006 speech would quadruple Iran’s enrichment powers.
From 1988 through 2004, the Pakistan government denied providing any support or involvement in Iran’s nuclear program. It was not until the IAEA had irrefutable information on the centrifuges and isotopic confirmation that the Pakistan government conceded that the technology did come from Pakistan – and then identified A. Q. Khan as being the source of the information and technology. While Khan took the fall he later implicated a broader government involvement by stressing that he “Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, has proudly admitted his role in helping Iran’s nuclear program. He admitted in a televised interview in August 2009 that he and other senior Pakistani officials had helped to advance Iran’s nuclear weapons program.” (Iran’s Nuclear Program: What Is Known and Unknown; James Phillips; 3/26/2010; the Heritage Foundation).
Ironically this would imply that while the Pakistan government was working closely with the US in the war in Afghanistan, they (Khan, and possibly the military and others within the government) were also providing nuclear technology to Iran whereas the US government was working furiously to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear technology and weapons design information.
So why this walk down memory lane? It’s interesting to remember each of the strands in Iran’s nuclear program and to revisit what we knew, what was said, and what was actually done.
Image: A. Q. Khan
NTI News Timeline
- 6 February 2008 Iran tests a new centrifuge design to enrich uranium, according to European and American diplomats. The IR-2 is an Iranian improvement on a Pakistani design that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boasted in an April 2006 speech would quadruple Iran’s enrichment powers. A report released 7 February by the Institute for Science and International Security states that 1,200 centrifuges of the new design could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb in one year. Iran would need 3,000 of the current generation of machines for the equivalent output. —”Iran is Reported to Test New Centrifuge,” The New York Times, 8 February 2008; “Iran Testing New Centrifuges to Make Fuel,” The Weekend Australian, 9 February 2008; David Albright and Jacqueline Shire, “Iran Installing More Advanced Centrifuge at Natanz Pilot Enrichment Plant: Factsheet on the P-2/IR-2 Centrifuge,” The Institute for Science and International Security, 7 February 2008.
- 6 April 2007 Iranian Consultative Assembly Speaker Dr. Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel stresses that top leadership in Pakistan has assured him that Karachi will not take part in the event of a U.S.-led attack on Iran. —”Pakistan not to let its territory used against Iran,” Dawn (via BBC), 6 April 2007.
- 15 November 2007 Iran gives the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a document showing how to cast uranium metal into hemispheres to form the core of a nuclear weapon. Tehran believes this gesture is an important sign that it is cooperating fully with the IAEA in resolving questions about suspicious and secretive nuclear activities that date back two decades. The document was offered by Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, when Iran covertly purchased nuclear equipment in order to enrich uranium. —”Iran hands nuclear data over to UN; Document unlikely to help agency’s work,” The International Herald Tribune, 15 November 2007.
- 4 January 2006 A 55-page confidential intelligence document drawing on findings from British, French, German and Belgian security agencies alleges that Iran has been seeking sensitive goods, technology and know-how for nuclear weapons and missiles in Europe. The report apparently emphasizes that west European engineering firms, germ laboratories, scientific think tanks and university campuses are being successfully preyed upon by multitudes of middlemen, front companies, scholars with hidden agendas and bureaucracies working for Iranian, Syrian, and Pakistani regimes. —Ian Traynor and Ian Cobain, “Intelligence report claims nuclear market thriving,” Guardian, 4 January 2006; “Iran combing Europe for nuke parts,” Associated Press, 4 January 2006.
- 17 January 2005 Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh suggests that U.S. commandos are in Iran selecting sites such as nuclear and missile installations for future air strikes; his intelligence sources point to Iran as the Bush administration’s “next strategic target.” The White House has countered that Hersh’s article, published in the New Yorker magazine, is “riddled with inaccuracies.” Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita said of Hersh’s article that his “sources feed him with rumor, innuendo, and assertions about meetings that never happened, programs that do not exist, and statements by officials that were never made.” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has denied Hersh’s allegation that U.S. Special Forces have been working with Pakistani scientists with Iranian contacts. —”U.S. Special Forces ‘Inside Iran’,” BBC, 17 January 2005; “Report Says Pentagon Denies U.S. Plans to Strike Iran,” Agence France-Presse.
- 13 February 2005 A Pakistani investigation of the Khan networks dealings with Iran reveal that Khan and his laboratory associates met more than a dozen times over several years, assisting the Iranians in establishing a worldwide procurement network and selling codes, materials, components, and plans to the Tehran government. The Pakistani investigators claim that Iran’s centrifuge drawings are very similar to the first generation Pakistan-1 centrifuge. The IAEA has revealed that centrifuges at the Doshan Tapeh base in Tehran closely resemble the more advanced Pakistan-2 centrifuges. —Massoud Ansari Khan, “Khan ‘Sold Nuke Secrets to Tehran,” Financial Times, 13 February 2005.
- 27 February 2005 U.S. officials announce they have uncovered evidence that associates of Pakistani A.Q. Khan met with Iranian officials 18 years ago and offered Tehran “the makings of a nuclear weapons program.” The meeting purportedly took place in Dubai, when at that time, Iran purchased centrifuge designs and a starter kit for uranium enrichment. The U.S. administration believes this demonstrates Iran’s interest over the years in nuclear weapons technology, but a Western diplomat said this is a “strong indication…but it doesn’t prove it completely.” Tehran responded by pointing out that Iran had the opportunity to purchase the equipment for building the core of a bomb, but turned it down. —Dafna Linzer, “Iran was Offered Nuclear Parts,” Washington Post, 27 February 2005.
- 28 February 2005 Pakistan dismisses an old report about a meeting between Iranian officials and AQ Kahn. The story was originally published by the Washington Post 18 year ago. Foreign Minister spokesman, Masood Khan, said “it’s recycling of an old story…and does not warrant a substantive response from us.” —”Pakistan Brushes Off ‘Old Story’ Tying Khan, Iran,” Reuters, 28 February 2005.
- 10 March 2005 Pakistani information minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, confirms A.Q. Khan gave centrifuges for enriching uranium to Iran, “but the government was in no way involved.” —”Iran ‘Given Pakistan Centrifuges’,” BBC, 10 March 2005.
- 14 March 2005 Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani rejects a report that Pakistan will hand over centrifuge components to UN inspectors which could be compared with machinery sold to Iran. An IAEA spokesman declined to comment, but diplomats close to the IAEA said the parts would arrive soon. Mr. Jilani said, “Pakistan has not been asked to give centrifuges, nor will Pakistan do so.” —”Pakistan Denies it Will Hand Nuclear Parts to UN,” Reuters, 14 March 2005.
- 25 March 2005 Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announces he may provide the IAEA with uranium enrichment components to clear Pakistan’s name from Iran’s nuclear program. “We will give you them and you examine them…but once and for all,” President Musharraf said. The parts would help establish the origin of the uranium contamination discovered in Iran and if Tehran has been secretly developing nuclear weapons. —”Pakistan Mulls Nuclear Handover,” BBC, 25 March 2005.
- 26 May 2005 Islamabad provides nuclear centrifuge parts to assist the IAEA with its ongoing investigation to determine if traces of enriched uranium found in Iran were supplied by Pakistani AQ Khan. —”Pakistan Helps Iran Nuclear Probe,” BBC, 26 May 2005.
- 28 May 2005 In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says Iran is “very anxious to have the [nuclear] bomb.” On the following day, President Musharraf says his statements were misunderstood due to misreporting and the comments should be removed. —”Pakistan Denies Alleged Remarks of Musharraf on Iran Anxious for Nuclear Bomb,” Xinhua, 29 May 2005.
- 20 August 2005 A senior Western diplomat says the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded that “traces of highly enriched uranium on centrifuge parts were from imported equipment, rather than from any enrichment activities by Iran.” The findings support Iran’s claims that the material came from centrifuge parts provided by Pakistan. The diplomat who confirmed the results spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. — “Tests Support Iran’s Claims on Uranium,” Associated Press, 21 August 2005.
- 18 November 2005 IAEA diplomats report that Iran has provided them with documents that appear to be part of a nuclear warhead design. The IAEA adds that the documents came from the Pakistani A.Q. Khan network. The documents specifically show how to cast “enriched, natural and depleted uranium metal into hemispherical forms,” a step that could be used to build the core of an atomic bomb. —”IAEA: Iran Bought Documents on Enriching Uranium from Black Market, Refusing Access to Site” Associated Press, 18 November 2005.
- 20 February 2004 Malaysian police cite evidence that Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan sold Iran $3 million worth of nuclear centrifuge parts in 1994 or 1995 via a middleman named Buhary Syed Abu Tahir. —”Pakistan’s Khan Sold Iran Nuclear Parts, Police Say,” BBC News, 20 February 2004.
- 10 March 2004 Traces of uranium detected last year by UN inspectors are revealed to include some enriched to 90 percent — weapons grade. The IAEA suggests that the source of the contamination may have been Pakistan. —”Alarm Raised Over Quality of Uranium Found in Iran,” The New York Times, 11 March 2004.
- 10 August 2004 The IAEA tentatively concludes that equipment contaminated with HEU and found in Iran originated in Pakistan. —”Iran Uranium Traces Probably Came From Pakistan, UN Nuclear Watchdog Inspectors Say,” Global Security Newswire, 10 August 2004.
- 17 November 2004 The exiled Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), alleges that Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan gave Iran weapons grade uranium and a design for a nuclear bomb. According to the same group, Khan had already given a quantity of HEU (highly enriched uranium) to Iran in 2001. Iran is purportedly also secretly enriching uranium at a military site previously unknown to the IAEA, even though it
- promised to halt all such work. —Louis Charbonneau, “Iran Got Warhead Design, Bomb-Grade Uranium – Exiles,” Reuters, 17 November 2004.
- 23 November 2004 The CIA releases an unclassified version of its report to Congress outlining concerns over various countries, including Iran spreading technology or expertise that can be used to make WMD. The report, covering all activities between July 1 and December 31, 2003, affirms that Iran “vigorously” pursued programs to produce nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in late 2003, and is currently working to improve delivery systems. The report also discusses serious concerns regarding Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan and his network’s involvement with Iran. Specifically, the report addresses the following:
- …A.Q. Khan’s network provided Iran with designs for Pakistan’s older centrifuges, as well as designs for more advanced and efficient models and components
- The IAEA has reported further evidence of Iran breaching its obligations under the NPT, including failures to report:
- Furthermore, the CIA report affirms that although Iran signed the Additional Protocol on December 18, 2003, it has taken no steps to ratify it during the reporting period. —”CIA: Countries Spreading WMD Technology May Be Growing in Number,” Associated Press, 23 November 2004; Tabassum Zakaria, “CIA Says Iran, Qaeda Pursued Nuclear Weapons,” Reuters, 23 November 2004; Doug Jehl, “C.I.A. Says Pakistanis Gave Iran Nuclear Aid,” The New York Times, 24 November 2004; “Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 July through 31 December 2003,” CIA, www.cia.gov, 23 November 2004.
- 27 November 2004 Pakistani government officials downplay allegations from a newly released CIA report that A.Q. Khan provided more assistance to Iran’s nuclear program than previously revealed. Khan is said to have provided “significant assistance” to Iran, including designs for Pakistan’s older centrifuges, as well as for more advanced and efficient models and components. Although pardoned by Pakistani President Musharraf, Khan is still under house arrest in Pakistan. —Paul Alexander, “Pakistan Downplays CIA Report on Leaks,” Associated Press, 27 November 2004.
- 10 March 2003 Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan rejects media allegations at a weekly press briefing and declares that Pakistan has not extended any nuclear cooperation to Iran. —”No Cooperation In Iranian Nuclear Program: FO,” PNS (Islamabad), 11 March 2003, www.paknews.com.
- 12 March 2003 US state department officials confirm Pakistan’s claim that it is not providing assistance to Iran’s nuclear program. Richard Boucher states at a Washington briefing, “We do believe that Pakistan takes this (nuclear) responsibility seriously.” —”No Pakistan support to Iran’s N-plan: US,” Dawn, 12 March 2003, www.dawn.com.
- 23 October 2003 Diplomats raise concerns over Iran’s lack of information supplied regarding traces of highly enriched uranium and warn that it may lead to a declaration of a violation of the NPT if not cleared up by the 20 November IAEA Board of Governors meeting. Pakistan is suspected of being the most likely origin of questionable centrifuges by the diplomats. —”Iran must clear up all concerns in UN Dossier—Diplomats,” Associated Press, 23 October 2003, www.iranexpert.com.
- October-December 2003 A review of Iranian documents released to the IAEA has provides disturbing insights into a vast worldwide procurement network for Iran’s secret nuclear program, over a 17-year period. According to U.S. and European sources familiar with the investigation, Pakistan appears to have been the source of crucial technology that would enable Iran to become a nuclear weapons power. —Joby Warrick, “Nuclear Program in Iran Tied to Pakistan,” Washington Post, 21 December 2003.
- October-December 2003 According to documentation provided to the IAEA, Iran’s Pakistan connection appears to have been established around 1987, after Iran tried unsuccessfully for years to develop its own enrichment capabilities. A Pakistani-designed centrifuge proved the key to Iran’s technological problems, finally permitting some forward progress in its research—although even after almost 20 years, it apparently has yet to produce sufficient fissile material for a bomb. The documents provided by Iran make no specific allusion to Pakistan, only to its “signature technologies.” —David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, “From Rogue Nuclear Programs, Web of Trails Leads to Pakistan,” The New York Times, 4 January 2004.
- 22 August 2001 Syed Anwar Mehmood, Pakistani Federal Secretary of Information, denies a report in the Wall Street Journal that Pakistan sold nuclear technology to Iran, among other countries. —”Pakistan Strongly Rejects Allegation of Sale of Nuclear Technology,” Jang (Rawalpindi), 22 August 2001; in FBIS Document SAP20010823000118, 22 August 2001.
- 11 December 2001 A high-ranking Pakistani official denies nuclear cooperation with Iran.—”Pakistan, Iran Ready for New Strategic Cooperation,” Iran Press Service, 11 December 2001; in Iran Expert, www.iranexpert.com, 14 March, 2002.
- 21 September 1999 Akram Zaki, chairman of Pakistan’s Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, tells the Middle East Institute that Pakistan would not give, nor has it ever given, sensitive nuclear information or technology to other countries. Pakistan is neither aware of, nor party to, Iran’s interest in the nuclear field, he says. —”N-technology never passed on to other countries: Zaki,” The News International, 21 September 1999, www.jang.com.pk.
- 22 April 1998 Pakistani President Rafiq Tarar asserts that Pakistan has not and will not export nuclear technology to any country. “Neither we are [sic] helping the Iranian nuclear programme nor [do] we intend to do so.” —The Frontier Post (Peshawar), 22 April 1998, p. 5; in “Tarar: No Nuclear Technology Exported to Iran,” FBIS Document FTS19980424002202, 25 April 1998.
- 6 May 1998 A nuclear scientist from Pakistan denies there is any cooperation between Islamabad, Tehran, and Baghdad regarding nuclear weapons technology. —IRIB Television (Tehran), 6 May 1998; in “Pakistan Scientist Denies Iran-Pakistan Nuclear Cooperation,” FBIS Document FTS19980506001511, 6 May 1998.
- 1 June 1998 Kamal Kharazi, Iran’s foreign minister, tells journalists upon his arrival in Islamabad, Pakistan that Muslim countries are pleased with advances Pakistan has made regarding its nuclear capabilities. Kharazi points out that despite recriminations from international sources, the Islamic world understands Pakistan’s decision to conduct nuclear tests, a choice he believes is understandable in light of India’s recent detonation of a nuclear device. Though he is pleased with Pakistan’s recent success, he hopes it will use restraint to reduce tensions in the region. Sanctions against Pakistan, Kharazi states, will be firmly opposed by Iran. —Radio Pakistan Network (Islamabad), 1 June 1998; in “Minister Kharazi: Iran’s Nuclear Program Peaceful,” FBIS Document FTS19980601000975, 1 June 1998; IRNA (Tehran), 1 June 1998; in “Kharazi: Iran’s Nuclear Program Peaceful, Under IAEA Watch,” FBIS Document FTS19980601001398, 1 June 1998.
- 2 June 1998 Upon his return from Pakistan and India, Kamal Kharazi, Iran’s foreign minister, reports that “the atmosphere is conducive for Indo-Pak serious and comprehensive talks.” He further states that both Pakistan and India are willing to put a temporary moratorium on further tests until negotiations are finalized. Both countries, he proclaims, show “positive signs” that they would be willing to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if it is “based on mutual confidence and on the framework of the military strength and capabilities of the two nations.” Kharazi states that Iran “does not encourage the procurement and manufacture of nuclear weapons and that Iran is not at all interested in doing so.” He believes Pakistan’s detonation represents a symbol within the Islamic community of resolute opposition to what it believes is an Israeli threat. Iran’s foreign minister further stresses Iran does not have a definitive plan regarding nuclear weapon procurement, and that it does “want to see that nuclear disarmament program become effective.” —IRNA (Tehran), 3 June 1998; in “Kharazi: Iran ‘Not At All Interested’ in Nuclear Weapons,” FBIS Document FTS19980603001537, 3 June 1998.
- 9 June 1998 Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reports Iran has labeled accusations that it is working with Pakistan to develop nuclear weapons as “baseless.” Mahmud Mohammadi, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, says though Iran views an arms race between India and Pakistan as destabilizing, and it sees Pakistan’s successful exploding of a nuclear device as providing an “Islamic deterrent” to Israel. Mohammadi dismisses Israeli concern as an attempt to divert attention away from its own nuclear program. Iran claims stability in the region can only be attained through the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. He further states Iran’s stance “has always stressed that the South Asian regions and the Middle East eventually be non-nuclear zones.” —”Iran Denies Charge on Nuclear Technology Transfer,” Xinhua News Agency, 9 June 1998; in Lexis-Nexis, www.lexis-nexis.com; IRNA (Tehran), 9 June 1998; in “Iran Denies Asking Pakistan To Transfer Nuclear Technology,” FBIS Document FTS19980609000202, 9 June 1998.
- 11 June 1998 Israel Wire reports that Pakistan has assured Israel’s ambassadors to the United States and the United Nations that Pakistan will not transfer nuclear technology or materials to Iran or to other Middle Eastern countries. Israeli officials had feared that Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi’s visit to Pakistan shortly after its May 1998 nuclear weapons tests was a sign that Pakistan was preparing to sell nuclear technology to Iran. —”Pakistan Promises Not To Provide Nuclear Aid To Iran,” Israel Wire, 11 June 1998, www.israelwire.com.
- 3 July 1998 K. Subramanyam, a defense analyst from India, says there is little existing evidence that proves Iran assisted Pakistan with its nuclear program. This statement runs counter to a previous promulgation made by Iftikhar Khan Chaudhry, a Pakistani nuclear scientist in the United States. Chaudhry is one of six nuclear scientists that defected to the United States in protest of alleged discussions among Pakistan policymakers of a pre-emptive strike against India. Subramanyam asserts that rumors of Iranian assistance to Pakistan’s nuclear program are exaggerated. “We have not heard of Iran having provided monetary or technological help to Pakistan, facilitating nuclear explosions by the latter last month,” he says. —IRNA (Tehran), 3 July 1998; in “Indian Expert Doubts Iran Helped Pakistan Nuclear Program,” FBIS Document FTS19980703000461, 3 July 1998.
- 1 August 1998 Mehdi Akhundzadeh, Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan, says Iran and Pakistan do not have an agreement regarding nuclear cooperation. Akhundzadeh further states Iran’s missile program is solely for defensive purposes. —IRNA (Tehran), 1 August 1998; in “Iranian Ambassador: No Iran-Pakistan Nuclear Cooperation,” FBIS Document FTS19980805002925, 5 August 1998.
- 25 November 1998 Die Welt reports Pakistani nuclear scientists are continuing their working relationship with Iranian nuclear scientists. The report further asserts that German intelligence believes Iran is working to develop sensitive technologies designed to enrich uranium to produce nuclear weapons, which they believe Iran will be capable of producing in three years. —Maariv (Tel Aviv), 25 November 1998; in “Iran, Pakistan Nuclear Cooperation Cited,” FBIS Document FTS19981125001448, 25 November 1998.
- April 1997 The Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis reports that the Iranians were offering former Soviet scientists $5000 per month to work on special projects in Iran. There are also additional allegations that technicians from North Korea, China, Pakistan as well as Russian and the West were all at work in Iran. —”Iran: Headed for a National Deterrent?,” Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (Boston), April 1997; in “Exploring US Missile Defense Requirements in 2010:What are the Policy and Technology Challenges?,” Federation of Atomic Scientists, www.fas.org.
- 2 September 1996 The Muslim of Islamabad reports that, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has “undeclared nuclear facilities” and “hidden quantities” of nuclear material. The report says Pakistan has supplied uranium enrichment equipment, which was originally received from Germany, to Iran and North Korea.—Aroosa Alam, “IAEA Asks Pakistan To Curb Its ‘N Pursuits’ in Pakistan, Muslim (Islamabad), 2 September 1996, pp. 1, 11; in “IAEA Requests Cessation of ‘Illegal’ Nuclear Program” FBIS-NES-96-173, 2 September 1996.
- 3 January 1995 Italian police seize “ultra-sonic equipment for the testing of nuclear reactors,” which originated in Slovakia, passed through the port of Bari, and were destined for Iran via Greece. Iranian smuggling is also said to receive active support from Syria and Pakistan, who often transship items to Iran. —Chris Hedges, “A Vast Smuggling Network Gets Advanced Arms To Iran,” New York Times, 15 March 1995, p. A1; Bruce Johnson, “Iran-Bound N-Plant Parts,” Daily Telegraph, 1 March 1995.
- 20 January 1995 Middle East International reports that Russia may have been secretly assisting Iran in basic nuclear research since the 1980s, when the Islamic revolution and Iran-Iraq War led to a cutoff of Western nuclear technology. The reactor at Iran’s Nuclear Research Center acquired “critical assembly capability” in 1990, which suggests that Iran, a state with little nuclear technology of its own, received assistance from Russia or Pakistan or both. Russia’s December 1994 contract [signed 8 January 1995] to complete Iran’s 1300MW pressurized water reactor (PWR) at Bushehr-1 would be a “logical follow-on” to such secret cooperation, although the deal is considered to be far more significant than any previous cooperation between the two countries. —Marko Milivojevic, “Nuclear Deal,” Middle East International, 20 January 1995, p. 14.
- 15 March 1995 The New York Times reports that, according to Western intelligence officials, Iran uses dozens of locations in Europe to smuggle nuclear weapons-related technology into Iran. Iran seeks to obtain equipment from several sources, and then dismantles it into small pieces to be shipped on different circuitous routes to Iran. Iran uses small aircraft to ship parts to Poland and other Eastern European countries, sometimes via Vienna or Brussels, to be trucked to cargo ships or put on cargo planes to Iran. Pakistan and Syria also reportedly receive items to transship to the Iranian nuclear program. The officials indicate that Iran uses many of the same smuggling routes and contacts that Pakistan and Iraq used to develop their nuclear weapons programs. Intelligence officials believe the small Hartenholm airport, located north of Hamburg in Germany, is used by its Iranian owners as part of this Iranian nuclear smuggling network [Note: See 1993 entry.] —Chris Hedges, “Nuclear Trail—A special report; A Vast Smuggling Network Feeds Iran’s Arms Program,” The New York Times, 15 March 1995, p. A1.
- 20 April 1995 Sabah Al-Khayr of Cairo reports that according to secret documents allegedly smuggled out of Iran and obtained by the United States, Iran has secretly obtained nuclear material that could be used for a nuclear weapon. The documents allege that Iran imported the material through a nearby country with the cover story that the uranium would be used for medical purposes. Instead, however, it was intended to be “chemically processed” for use in a nuclear weapon, according to the secret documents. The documents also allege that Iran has secretly cooperated with Pakistan on nuclear issues. [Note: According to Sabah Al-Khayr, the documents were reportedly smuggled out of Iran by six defecting Iranian intelligence officials; reportedly including intelligence Chief Ali Fallahian. See July 1995 entry on the reported defection of Fallahian. Fallahian ran against President Khatami for the presidency of Iran in 2001 and as of 9 August 2002 was still in Iran.] —Ahmad Nasr, “Intelligence Chief Reportedly Defects to US,” Sabah Al-Khayr (Cairo), 20 April 1995; in FBIS Document FTS19950420000066, 20 April 1995.
- 10 May 1995 US President Bill Clinton tells Russian President Boris Yeltsin that Iran is following a blueprint for acquiring nuclear weapons provided by Pakistan more than four years ago. —David Albright, “An Iranian Bomb?,” The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, January 1995, www.bullatomsci.org..
- 19 May 1995 A Pakistani foreign office spokesman denies that Pakistan secretly cooperated with Iran in the nuclear field. “We had been cooperating with Iran just like with any other country under the aegis of International Atomic [Energy] Agency for the peaceful uses of nuclear technology,” the spokesman says. —”Spokesman Denies Reports of Nuclear Ties With Iran,” The Frontier Post (Peshawar), 19 May 1995; in FBIS Document FTS19950519000320, 19 May 1995.
- 19 December 1995 A press release from the Iranian embassy in Pakistan “categorically” rejects allegations printed in the Pakistani press that Iran offered to buy nuclear technology from Pakistan. According to the Iranian press release, unnamed Pakistani officials verified “the falsehood of such claims.” In December 1992, Iran allegedly offered Pakistan $3.5 billion to share “nuclear know-how.” According to reports in the Pakistani press, during Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s visit to Tehran, Iranian leaders reiterated the offer. Pakistan once again rejected the proposal, saying that “whatever little capability [Pakistan] has, that it was for peaceful purposes and could not be transferred to any third country.” The US Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel confirmed that Pakistan rejected the proposal. [Note: See December 1992]. —”Tehran: Not Seeking Pakistani Nuclear Technology,” FBIS Document FIBS-NES-95-246, 21 December 1995; IRNA (Tehran), 21 December 1995; Istashamul Haque, “Iran Offer of Money for Nuclear Technology Rejected,” Dawn (Karachi), 20 December 1995; in FBIS Document FTS19951220000165, 20 December 1995.
- April 1994 During a visit to Pakistan, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Nateq Nuri denies Western media reports that he held talks with Pakistani officials concerning cooperation between Iran and Pakistan in the field of nuclear technology. Some US officials have claimed that Iran is trying to purchase weapons technology from Pakistan. —Nucleonics Week, 21 April 1994, pp. 14-15.
- September 1994 Iranian claims that the United States pressured Pakistan into denying Iranian nuclear specialists access to a Chinese-supplied pressurized water reactor (PWR) at Chashma, northeast of the Pakistani town, Faisalabad. —Mark Hibbs, “Iran May Withdraw From NPT Over Western Trade Barriers,” Nucleonics Week, 22 September 1994, pp. 1, 8-9; Mark Hibbs, “Western Group Battles Iran At Third NPT Prepcom Session” Nucleonics Week, 22 September 1994, pp. 9-10; Mark Hibbs, “It’s ‘Too Early’ For Tehran To Leave NPT, Delegates Say,” NuclearFuel, 26 September 1994, pp. 9-10.
- January 1992 Pakistani Deputy Prime Minister Husayn Haqani denies reports of an Iranian-Pakistani cooperation agreement on nuclear technology. He says Pakistan would not export nuclear technology. [Note: See 1991 (2), May 1991 (2), November 1991 for more on cooperation between Iran and Pakistan.] —Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran First Program Network (Tehran), 12 January 1992; in Proliferation Issues, 31 January 1992, p. 31.
- February 1992 Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif denies rumors that Pakistan is helping Iran rebuild and upgrade a research reactor. [Note: See 2 November 1991.] Pakistan refuses Iranian offers to purchase nuclear weapons technology in exchange for writing off Pakistani debt. —Nuclear Engineering International, February 1992, p. 7; Rauf Siddiqi, Nucleonics Week, 20 February 1992, pp. 15-16. Nuclear Engineering International, February 1992, p. 7; Rauf Siddiqi, Nucleonics Week, 20 February 1992, pp. 15-16.
- 24 February 1992 NBC-TV reports that US intelligence reports say that Iran and Pakistan have been cooperating in making a nuclear bomb for the last two years. —Press Trust of India, 24 February 1992; in Gulf 2000, www1.columbia.edu.
- 8 September 1992 Iranian President Hashemi-Rafsanjani denies any cooperation between Iran and Pakistan for the production of nuclear weapons. [Note: See 1991 (2), May 1991 (2), November 1991 and December 1992 for more on cooperation between Pakistan and Iran]. —BBC/SWB, 8 September 1992; in Gulf 2000, www1.columbia.edu.
- 17 November 1992 The Washington Post reports that Pakistan denies charges that it has sold centrifuge design data it stole from Urenco to Iran. —Steve Coll, “U.S. Halted Nuclear Bid By Iran,” Washington Post, 17 November 1992, pp. A1, A30.
- December 1992 Iran offers $3.5 billion to Pakistan to share its nuclear technology. [Note: See 19 December 1995.] —Istashamul Haque, “Iran Offer of Money for Nuclear Technology Rejected,” Dawn (Karachi), 20 December 1995, in FBIS Document FTS19951220000165, 20 December 1995; “Tehran: Not Seeking Pakistani Nuclear Technology,” FBIS Document FIBS-NES-95-246, 21 December 1995; IRNA (Tehran), 21 December 1995.
- Prior to 1991 Western observers fear Pakistan may share its nuclear technology with other Islamic states such as Iran and Iraq. Pakistan is currently the only Islamic nation with the necessary components for a nuclear arsenal, and it has approximately five to ten weapons. Although Pakistan has told the United States that it will not share nuclear technology with other nations, Pakistan has already been implicated previously in transferring sensitive nuclear technology to Iran and Iraq before the outbreak of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. —Leonard Spector, “Islamic Bomb West’s Long-Term Nightmare,” Washington Times, 19 January 1994, p. A19.
- 1991 According to German intelligence reports, Iran possibly imports uranium-melting technology from Pakistan. Pakistan acquired this technology from the company Urenco in the mid-1980s. —”An Iranian Nuclear Chronology, 1987-1982,” Middle East Defense News, 8 June 1992; in Lexis-Nexis, www.lexis-nexis.com
- 1991 Pakistani General Mirza Aslam Beg proposes to create a strategic alliance with Iran, including the sharing of nuclear weapons technology. The plan is scrapped by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan and Iran currently receive a large amount of nuclear-related assistance from China, raising the possibility of three-way nuclear trade in the future. —Leonard Spector, “Islamic Bomb West’s Long-Term Nightmare,” Washington Times, 19 January 1994, p. A19.
- May 1991 Nucleonics Week reports that Iran has a nuclear cooperation agreement with Pakistan and secret nuclear agreements with South Africa and China, which may reflect nuclear weapons ambitions on the part of Iran. European officials express concern that Iran might seek Pakistan’s assistance in enriching uranium obtained under a secret nuclear cooperation agreement from South Africa in 1988-89. [Note: See 1988-1989 entry regarding South African cooperation.] —Mark Hibbs, “Bonn Will Decline Teheran Bid To Resuscitate Bushehr Project” Nucleonics Week, 2 May 1991, pp. 17-18.
- May 1991 US officials claim that China and Pakistan are aiding Iran in the development of a nuclear bomb. —Bill Gertz, Washington Times, 30 May 1991, pp. A1, A11.
- November 1991 Iran and Pakistan sign an agreement for joint development of nuclear weapons, according to Iran’s Mojahedin-e Khalq opposition group. The group says Iran will provide $5 billion in funding; Pakistan will supply expertise in uranium enrichment and other areas. Pakistan denies the reports. —Al-Diyar (Beirut), 12 January 1992; in Proliferation Issues, 14 February 1992, pp. 13-14; Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran First Program Network (Tehran), 12 January 1992; in Proliferation Issues, 31 January 1992, p. 31.
- November 1991 Israeli officials contend that, with Pakistan’s help, Iran could produce a nuclear bomb by the end of the decade. US officials estimate 10 to15 years and say Iran is seeking a wide range of nuclear weapons technology. —Mark Hibbs, Neel Patri, and Neal Sandler, Nuclear Fuel, 25 November 1991, pp. 8-9; Anton La Guardia, Daily Telegram, 2 March 1992; Neel Patri, Nucleonics Week, 28 November 1991, p. 8; Mark Hibbs, Nucleonics Week, 21 November 1991, pp. 2-3.
- 12 February 1990 US News and World Report reports that Pakistan is helping Iran build a plutonium reactor. —US News and World Report, 12 February 1990.
- 1988-1989 Iran approaches Pakistan for help in enriching uranium. The head of Pakistan’s uranium enrichment program begins to hold talks with officials at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran in 1988. Rumors that Pakistan is helping Iran develop nuclear weapons persist. [Note: See also November 1986 and 1987 and June 1988 for more on the agreement to cooperate between Pakistan and Iran.] —Mark Hibbs, Nucleonics Week, 2 June 1991, pp. 17-18; David Albright and Mark Hibbs, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, March 1992, p. 9-11.
- 1988-1989 Large quantities of uranium concentrate are delivered to Iran from South Africa. Intelligence reports from European officials worry that Iran might seek to enrich this material clandestinely, with the help of Pakistan. Abdul Qadir Khan, who is in charge of Pakistan’s uranium enrichment program, holds talks with officials at the Atomic Energy Organizations of Iran (AEOI) beginning in 1988, when nuclear cooperation between the two nations increases. Reza Amrollahi, head of the AEOI, says Iran’s nuclear program is dedicated exclusively to peaceful uses, but there are indications that Amrollahi is not fully in control of AEOI. —Mark Hibbs, “Bonn Will Decline Teheran Bid To Resuscitate Bushehr Project,” Nucleonics Week, 2 May 1991, pp. 17-18.
- June 1988 The Observer (London) reports that Pakistan and Iran have signed a cooperation agreement under which Iranian engineers will be trained in Pakistan. M.A. Khan of Pakistan and Reza Amrollahi of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran are said to have signed the pact; however, both Pakistan and Iran deny its existence. Pakistan says that it would not sign an agreement with Iran since Iran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Pakistan also denies that any Pakistani aid will be provided to the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Six Iranian engineers are said to be in Pakistan under a 1987 agreement. [Note: See 21 June 1988.]—Al-Watan (Kuwait), 13 June 1988, p. 1; in Nuclear Developments, 13 July 1988, p. 19; Islamabad Domestic Service, 14 June 1988; in Nuclear Developments, 21 June 1988, p. 24; Kayhan International (Tehran), 14 June 1988, p. 2; in Nuclear Developments, 10 August 1988, p. 22.
- 14 June 1988 India news media reports that Pakistan has agreed to train Iranian nuclear personnel. —John Gunther Dean, “Reported Pakistani and Iranian Nuclear Cooperation,” Embassy Cable, 14 June 1988, in Digital National Security Archive, nsarchive.chadwyck.com.
- 21 June 1988 Islamabad Domestic Service says that Pakistan denies signing a secret nuclear pact with Iran. The spokesman claims that no Pakistani scientist has visited Iran’s nuclear plant in Bushehr in recent years, nor has an Iranian nuclear expert received advanced training in Pakistan. [Note: see entry 14 June 1988.] —”Spokesman Denies “Secret” Nuclear Pact With Iran” Nuclear Developments, 21 June 1988, p. 24.
- 23 December 1988 Islamabad Domestic Service says that Pakistan denies that it is assisting Iran in building a nuclear facility at Qazvin. —”UK Paper’s Claim Of Nuclear Help To Iran Denied,” Nuclear Developments, 23 December 1988, p. 17.
- 1987 Pakistan and Iran sign an agreement to send Iranian engineers to Pakistan for training. The agreement is signed between Reza Amrollahi, director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and Munir Ahmad Khan of Pakistan. The deal calls for at least six Iranian scientists to get training at the Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology and the Nuclear Studies Institute at Nowlore. Two of the scientists to be trained have been identified as Saeed Reza or Sayyid Reza and Hadi Ranbshahr or Hadi Rambashahr. —Nuclear Developments, 13 July 1988, p. 19; in Al-Watan (Kuwait), 13 June 1988, p. 1; Mark Gorwitz, “Foreign Assistance To Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Programs: Emphasis On Russia Assistance; Analysis and Assessment,” CNS Unpublished Report, October 1998.
- January 1987 Abdul Qadir Khan, Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist, revisits Bushehr. [Note: Khan first visited Bushehr in February 1986.] —Kenneth R. Timmerman, “Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Cases of Iran, Syria, and Libya,” A Simon Wiesenthal Center Special Report from Middle East Defense News (Middle East Defense News), August 1992; p. 42.
- 17 February 1987 The Muslim (Islamabad daily) reports that Pakistan’s president offered nuclear cooperation to all member countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference, which includes Iran. —”Measures Taken To Protect Nuclear Plants,” Worldwide Report, 17 February 1987, p. 38.
- February 1986 Abdul Qadir Khan, Pakistan’s leading nuclear scientist, makes a secret visit to Bushehr. Pakistan and Iran sign a secret nuclear cooperation agreement later in the year. < br />—Kenneth R. Timmerman, “Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Cases of Iran, Syria and Libya,”a Simon Wiesenthal Center Special Report, August 1992, p. 41-42.
- November 1986 Following a request from Iran, Pakistan’s president says Pakistan is willing to cooperate with Iran on nuclear matters. —Worldwide Report, 17 February 1987, p. 38; in Saeed Qureshi, The Muslim (Islamabad), 23 November 1986, p. 1.
- 1984 Iran may have obtained from Pakistan the knowledge of how to melt uranium. This information is said to have been diverted from Uranit GmbH of Germany to Pakistan via Switzerland. —Mark Hibbs, “Agencies Trace Some Iraqi Urenco Know-How To Pakistan Re-Export,” Nucleonics Week, 28 November 1991, Vol. 32, No. 48, p. 1; Neel Patri, “India Says Research Reactor Sale To Iran Is In Preliminary Stages,” Nucleonics Week, 28 November 1991, Vol. 32, No. 48, p. 8; Mark Hibbs, “Nuclear Commerce At Issues Tehran Leans Westward,” Nuclear Fuel, 9 December 1991, Vol. 16, No. 25, pp. 11-12.
- 1984 China may supply Iran with a research reactor. China has already supplied Iran with a small calutron similar those the Iraqis were using to secretly enrich uranium. There are reports that Pakistani and Chinese experts have set up uranium enrichment centrifuges at Moallem Kalayeh in Iran. —”Dimona Et Al,” The Economist, 14 March 1992, p. 46.
- April 1984 Jane’s Defence Weekly cites reports from West German intelligence that Iran may have a nuclear bomb within two years. According to a French report, “very enriched uranium” from Pakistan can contribute to this effort. The Germans leaked this news in the first public Western intelligence report of a post-revolutionary nuclear weapons program in Iran. —Dominique Leglu, Liberation (Paris), 29 April 1984, p. 23; Kenneth R. Timmerman, Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Cases of Iran, Syria and Libya (Los Angeles: Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1992), p. 43.