Syria Brokers Secret Deal to Send Atomic Scientists to Iran

(Telegraph-UK) Con Coughlin - Syria's President Bashir al-Assad is in secret negotiations with Iran to secure a safe haven for a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists who were sent to Damascus before last year's war. About 12 middle-ranking Iraqi nuclear technicians and their families were transported to Syria before the collapse of Saddam's regime in cooperation with Syrian Military Security, headed by Arif Shawqat, Assad's brother-in-law. The Iraqis brought with them CDs crammed with research data on Saddam's nuclear program, and have been hidden away at a secret Syrian military installation where they have been conducting research on behalf of their hosts. American intelligence officials are concerned that Syria is secretly working on a number of WMD programs. They have also uncovered evidence that Damascus has acquired a number of gas centrifuges - probably from North Korea - that can be used to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb. Under the terms of the deal Assad offered the Iranians, the Iraqi scientists would be transferred to Iran together with a small amount of essential materials, to assist Iranian scientists to develop a nuclear weapon. Assad wants the Iranians to agree to share the results of their atomic weapons research with Damascus.

2004-09-27 00:00:00

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