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To: DoctorZIn
Pakistan Detains More Nuke Scientists

January 19, 2004
Arab News
Matthew Pennington, AP

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan has expanded its investigation of the country’s premier nuclear weapons laboratory, detaining as many as seven scientists and administrators for questioning, amid allegations that sensitive technology may have spread to countries such as Iran, North Korea and Libya, officials said yesterday.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that over the past two or three days between five and seven personnel at the Khan Research Laboratories had been taken in for “debriefing.”

Among them was Islamul Haq, a director at the laboratory. Two uniformed men believed to be intelligence agents picked him up as he was dining on Saturday at the residence of the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

The laboratory is named after Khan, a national hero for leading Pakistan to its underground test of the Islamic world’s first nuclear bomb in 1998, designed as a deterrent to its larger rival India. Haq is Khan’s principal staff officer.

“We have had no contact with him,” Haq’s wife, Nilofar Islam, told The Associated Press. “We don’t know where he is and what he is being asked.” She was informed of Haq’s detention by Khan.

Though all the men remained in custody, Ahmed played down the detentions, saying the personnel being debriefed were not “necessarily involved in something or have allegations against them,” he said.

In the past two months, Pakistan has interrogated a handful of scientists at the laboratory, after receiving unspecified documents from the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency about Iran’s nuclear program, officials say.

Among those who have been questioned is Khan, although he has not been detained and is still treated as an official dignitary in Pakistan.

Pakistan has strongly denied any official involvement in possible proliferation to Iran, Libya and North Korea, but has acknowledged that individual scientists acting on their own account may have transgressed that rule.

In his first-ever speech to Parliament on Saturday, Pakistan’s military ruler, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, noted that the world suspects Pakistan of being a nuclear proliferator and that the country must show that it is a responsible power.

The Jan. 2 arrest of a businessman at Denver airport in the United States, accused of smuggling nuclear bomb triggers to Pakistan, has deepened suspicions of Pakistani involvement in the nuclear black market. Asher Karni, who heads a South African company, is accused of being the middleman for a Pakistani company’s purchase of dozens of triggered spark gaps — electronic devices that can be used to trigger nuclear weapons — allegedly using an elaborate scheme to try to get around US export restrictions to Pakistan.

The proliferation allegations are an embarrassment to Washington, which calls Pakistan a key ally in the war on terrorism.
4 posted on 01/19/2004 12:13:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; ...
Key Iran group threatens to boycott elections

19 January 2004
Channel News Asia

TEHRAN : The political party of President Mohammad Khatami has threatened to boycott upcoming elections if urgent measures are not taken over the rejection of reformist candidates, press reports said.

The Association of Combattant Clerics issued a statement saying that "if urgent measures are not taken to settle the current problem, which prevents free competition between legal political views, there is no further reason for the Association to take part in the parliamentary election," the reports said.

The statement was issued after a meeting of the party on Sunday, attended by both the president and the speaker of the Majlis, or parliament, Mehdi Karoubi, who is also a member.

Iran has been thrown into crisis since the powerful Guardians Council, a conservative-dominated body, announced that it was barring a large number of reformist candidates from standing in the election, which is due to take place on February 20.

The Association of Combattant Clerics groups reformists among Iran's Islamic rulers and emerged from a split in 1988 in the Association of Combattant Clergy, which is now pro-conservative.

At its meeting Sunday the association thanked Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose "directives can fully resolve the problem" sparked by the Guardians Council action.

On Wednesday Khamenei called on the Guardians to review the cases of the invalidated candidates, which it has pledged to do, but the dispute is far from settled.
5 posted on 01/19/2004 1:18:10 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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