Skip to comments.1999, 2000 Iraqi memos: Procurement of 50000 Aluminum Tubes That Can Be Used For URANIUM ENRICHMENT.
Posted on 04/24/2006 9:45:15 AM PDT by jveritas
click here to read article
The United States and Russia are at odds over American and Israeli allegations that Moscow permitted a shipment of high-strength aluminum to Iran that could be used to manufacture enriched uranium for use in nuclear weapons, according to U.S. and Russian officials.
The officials said the two countries exchanged a series of diplomatic messages after the United States and Israel alerted Russia to a suspicious aluminum shipment on a Russian boat that was headed for Iran via the Black Sea soon after President Bush took office Jan. 21.
According to the American version, Russian inspectors boarded the vessel and reported that the aluminum was intended for aircraft manufacture, an explanation not accepted by the United States. The shipment was allowed to proceed to Iran.
The precise origin of the aluminum is not known, but U.S. officials said the deal was arranged by a Russian metals trader. The officials said that the United States and Israel have evidence that the aluminum was delivered to Iranian institutions connected with what they suspect is Iran's nuclear weapons project.
The aluminum shipment is the latest in a series of nuclear proliferation disputes that have clouded U.S.-Russian relations in recent years. U.S. officials said Bush is expected to raise proliferation concerns with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their first face-to-face meeting Saturday in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana without going into detail about specific cases.
"It's a big deal," said one well-placed administration official, referring to fears that Iran is experimenting with different ways of enriching uranium to produce bomb-grade material that would serve as the basis for a crude nuclear weapon.
U.S. officials said they suspected that the aluminum alloy delivered to Iran was intended for the manufacture of rotor blades used in gas centrifuges that separate out the enriched uranium that can produce a chain reaction for a nuclear explosion. U.S. experts say that Iran has been attempting to acquire centrifuge technology, as well as other technology for enriching uranium, for much of the last decade as part of a larger effort to build an atomic bomb.
--------------- "U.S., Russia At Odds on Iranian Deal : Bush to Raise Atomic Issues at Summit," By Michael Dobbs, Washington Post Staff Writer , The Washington Post, 06.15.2001
When CNN asked Ritter about the aluminum tubes, he responded, "What an absurd statement. So were going to go to war over thousands of aluminum pipes. Even the report [* My note: the London International Institute for Strategic Studies released the report] which you cite says that if Iraq was to try to do uranium enrichment it would take them many years before they could do it. This is patently ridiculous. These are aluminum pipes coming in for civilian use. They are not being transferred to a covert nuclear processing plant or any covert nuclear activity whatsoever."
--------- "CNN and Scott Ritter," By Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid, AIM.org, September 19, 2002
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.