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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bolton: Iran and North Korea outsourced nuclear development to Syria

Going a step further than anyone else has gone thus far, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton claims that Iran and North Korea had 'outsourced' their nuclear development to Syria, a country that was 'not under suspicion.'
Amid reports in the American media that the alleged Israeli raid into Syria 10 days ago targeted a North Korean-Syrian nuclear facility, John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN, told The Jerusalem Post over the weekend that "simple logic" suggested North Korea and Iran could have outsourced nuclear development "to a country that is not under suspicion" - namely Syria. Tellingly, he added: "Why would North Korea protest an Israeli strike on Syria?"

Bolton suggested that Syria, which he said has long sought a range of weapons of mass destruction, might have agreed to provide "facilities for uranium enrichment" on its territory for two allied countries which are being closely watched for nuclear development.

...

Asked why Syria would take the risk of hosting part of a North Korean nuclear program, Bolton spoke of "Iranian compensation" and noted that "Syria is very aggressive in pursuing WMD capability." He said such a partnership would indeed be risky for Syria, but such risks might be considered worthwhile "when you're as aligned as seriously as Syria is with Iran."

"It's a diversion game - to carry on even when you are supposed to have halted, as in the case of North Korea. And I'd be surprised if Syria would do anything with North Korea without Iranian acquiescence," said Bolton.

Bolton noted that North Korea had cooperated in the past with both Syria and Iran, on ballistic missile development. For instance, he said, in the late 1990s, after an international outcry, he said, North Korea halted test launches of such missiles, but Iran continued testing and shared the results.

Bolton said he was also struck by the "hesitant way" in which Damascus had complained to the United Nations Security Council. "They have not pushed as hard as I know they know how to do in New York for condemnation. They have still not explained the nature of the attack. If it had been an attack on a Syrian military facility or civilians, they would have no problem explaining."

Bolton said it was still possible that Israel had been targeting an Iranian arms shipment being transported through Syria to Hizbullah, as some initial reports suggested. But he noted that Hizbullah had already heavily rearmed, and thought it unlikely that Israel would therefore resort to the "serious proposition" of an air strike in Syria to stop another such shipment.
I like John Bolton a lot, but if the Syrians, the North Koreans and the Iranians really thought they could hide outsourcing of nuclear development in Syria they are really fools. Syria has been on everyone's watch list since the AQ Khan story broke in Pakistan.

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