In mid-1980s, Abdul Qadeer (AQ) Khan – Pakistan’s infamous Nuclear scientist – provided the design for the P-1 (P stands for Pak) nuclear plant to Iran. A plant that contained 5,832 P1 centrifuges in 38 individual cascades, four sets of cascades would be producing enriched uranium in stages up to weapon-grade. Iran called these IR-1. The plant was built in Iran with parts smuggled through the networks. For example, in 2002, B.S.A. Tahir – AQ Khan’s protege – was using SMB Computers as a cover to supply parts to Iran, Libya and North Korea. In fact Tahir married Nazimah Syed Majid, daughter of a Malaysian diplomat. When Khan wanted to make components for plants in Iran, Libya, and North Korea – which he could in Kahuta, but transporting out would be risky given the watch on Pakistan – Malaysia was selected as the place to make those components uninhibited and supply them to Iran.
The US knew of Pakistan’s Black market activities during Jimmy Carter’s administration. But that did not stop US from doing nothing.
Abdul Qadeer Khan’s sale of nuclear technology to rogue nations is no longer a secret. The Pakistani physicist, revered in his homeland as the father of the Islamic bomb, was forced to confess his “unauthorized proliferation activities” on Pakistan’s state television in 2004. He has been confined to house (more accurately, mansion) arrest ever since.
But the staged confession and wrist-slapping were only one act in a long-running farce whose full consequences have yet to play out. U.S. intelligence agencies first got wind of Khan’s nuclear black-market activity during the Carter administration. Yet he continued to operate, uninterrupted, through the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, the Clinton years and George W. Bush’s first term, until his network was formally shut down in 2003. (Source: Washington Post)
Actually, to say that the US did nothing to stop Pakistan’s Nuclear activities – to procure Nuclear power plant, subsequent enrichment and finally the Nuclear bomb as well as proliferate the technology and Nuke’s – is an incorrect statement. In fact, the US helped Pakistan do it!
In 1989, Barlow transferred to the office of the Secretary of Defense, where he initiated an in-house intelligence analysis program. He was in a chain of command below Stephen J. Hadley, then Assistant Secretary of Defense; the Secretary of Defense was Dick Cheney. His early work included an effort to sound the alarm about the now-discredited Pakistani nuclear scientist and proliferator, Abdul Qadeer Khan. In particular, he discovered that Pakistan’s nuclear program depended upon clandestine and illegal procurement activity within the United States. The US administration, however, knew that this was the case; indeed, his report detailed occasions when the State Department under Ronald Reagan had actually helped it happen, warning targets of sealed arrest warrants in FBI operations and approving export licenses for restricted goods. (Source)
Yes, as strange as it may sound, but the State Department under Ronald Reagan went against its own state agencies to help Pakistan acquire the Nuclear plant. The design of the plant that Pakistan built with that unusual US help was what was later handed over to Iran as the P-1 reactor. This reactor by now has been making weapons grade Uranium for Iran.
As of the end of May 2009, the underground Natanz facility had 30 cascades, each with 164 P1 centrifuges, producing low enriched uranium with an average enrichment of about 3.5 percent. Another 13 cascades were under vacuum and able to start producing LEU. In total, these 43 cascades contained 7,052 P1 centrifuges. In comparison, a plant to make significant quantities of weapon-grade uranium requires fewer P1 centrifuges. (Source)
If one says that Iran’s Nuclear program was indirectly facilitated by the Ronald Reagan himself, via special treatment to Pakistan and its incessant proliferation, then it would not be off the mark.
But Iran doesn’t just has Reagan’s benevolence to thank for. It has placed itself in the right company. With China as the kingpin, and Pakistan as the proliferation point, North Korea and Iran have gained in Nuclear area tremendously. There is a regular quid pro quo that goes on between these friends. North Korea gives Missiles to Iran and Pakistan. Pakistan gives Nukes to Iran and North Korea. Iran gives Oil and Gas to Pakistan and North Korea. The symbiotic relationship has worked for all four.
During all three detonations, Iranian representatives, including the mysterious Mohsen Fakhrizadeh—thought to be Iran’s chief nuclear scientist—were present. Tehran has been funding the North Korean nuclear program for perhaps as long as a decade, which means the Islamic Republic is already a nuclear state, at least as a practical matter. The close cooperation across national boundaries means nuclear weapons programs need not be just national in scope. We tend to think of China, Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran as having four parallel efforts, but in truth it’s better thought of as one program conducted in various locations.
It is China that ultimately makes Iran dangerous.
Netanyahu’s Speech and History of I