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Pakistan Admits Disgraced Scientist Gave Iran Nuclear Centrifuges


Pakistan has acknowledged that the founder of its nuclear program illegally gave centrifuges to Iran that can be used to process uranium for nuclear weapons.

This is the first time the government has made public some of the information extracted from Abdul Qadeer Khan, the disgraced scientist called the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, who is now under house arrest.

In a telephone interview, Information Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed tells VOA the Pakistani government has been sharing findings of its investigation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the world's nuclear watchdog.

Mr. Ahmed adds that Mr. Khan carried out his black market activities without the knowledge of the government.

"Dr. Qadeer has delivered few centrifuges to Iran [but] the government has nothing to do with this case," he said.

While media reports have linked Mr. Khan to Iran's nuclear program, the Pakistani government had not previously acknowledged such contacts. But the scientist publicly confessed to selling nuclear technology to Iran as well as North Korea and Libya.

Iran has admitted to buying nuclear materials on the black market, but insists these are only for civilian use.

Pakistan has come under criticism for refusing to allow the IAEA or concerned Western governments to question Mr. Khan.

But the information minister says the West is satisfied with the Pakistani investigation and that Islamabad will not hand over the scientist to a foreign country.

"We are investigating and we have investigated Dr. Qadeer and the West is satisfied and if there are more questions we are ready to ask him, but we are not going to give him to anybody," he said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected in Islamabad next week to discuss, among other things, nuclear proliferation.

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