“Russian and Chinese cooperation in the 1990s with Iran created the foundation of the Iranian nuclear program today,” said Susan Voss, a former nuclear engineering analyst with Los Alamos National Laboratory who has worked closely with the U.S. intelligence community.
Many analysts in recent years have focused on how Iran obtained the centrifuge technology used at the Natanz nuclear plant and declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2002. That design, known as a P1 centrifuge, came from the illicit smuggling network of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan.
But much of Iran’s program, including the design of its uranium hexaflouride facility and the reactor used in its Arak heavy water facility to produce plutonium, can be traced to cooperation in the 1990s with China and Russia.
Ms. Voss said Chinese cooperation began in 1987 and continued for about 10 years. It provided Iran with a uranium mining capability by providing specialists as well as the design for its uranium hexaflouride plant.
An element of Russian cooperation with Iran was disclosed first in 2009 by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) when the private group wrote a technical paper describing how the Iranian Arak facility contained an element of its structure that appeared to be a copy of the Soviet-era fuel rod system used in a heavy water reactor to make plutonium.
However, she also pointed out that officially the Russian government at the time denied providing that support to Iran, leading her to conclude that the cooperation was carried out covertly.
Ms. Voss says the Iranians turned to Russia and China for help with their nuclear program after the United States and France curtailed nuclear cooperation with Iran following the 1979 Islamic revolution.
“We would like to say we are innocent, but we are not that innocent,” she said. “Many of the Iranian nuclear engineers were trained in the United States prior to the Shah’s ouster. Then the training went to China and Russia.”
By the end of the Clinton administration, much of the above-board nuclear cooperation provided by Russia and China to Iran had stopped. But some of it continues to this day with Russian assistance for the Bushehr light water nuclear reactor.View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
The young drop coverage to avoid higher premiums
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Looking at pop culture, politics and social issues.
Political commentary and literary criticism in an era of eroding liberty
First over-the-counter column approved for fast and effective relief from even your worst media-induced headache.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc