Powered by WebAds

Friday, March 20, 2009

Iran financed Syrian nuke plant?

A report in a Swiss newspaper that quotes Iranian defector Ali Reza Asghari claims that the Syrian nuclear plant at al-Kibar that was bombed by Israeli jets in September 2007 had been financed by Iran (Hat Tip: Power Line).
Ali Reza Asghari, a retired general in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and a former deputy defense minister, "changed sides" in February 2007 and provided considerable information to the West on Iran's own nuclear program, Ruehle said in his article in the Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung.

"The biggest surprise, however, was his assertion that Iran was financing a secret nuclear project of Syria and North Korea," he said. "No one in the American intelligence scene had heard anything of it. And the Israelis who were immediately informed also were completely unaware."

U.S. officials in Washington refused on Thursday to comment on whether there was an Iranian role in the reactor.
There are also some details here about the Israeli strike that you may not have seen before.
Intensive investigation followed by U.S. and Israeli intelligence services until Israel sent a 12-man commando unit in two helicopters to the site in August 2007 to take photographs and soil samples, he said.

"The analysis was conclusive that it was a North Korean-type reactor," a gas graphite model, Ruehle said.

...

Just before the Israeli commando raid, a North Korean ship was intercepted en route to Syria with nuclear fuel rods, underscoring the need for fast action, he said.

"On the morning of Sept. 6, 2007, seven Israeli F-15 fighter bombers took off to the north. They flew along the Mediterranean coast, brushed past Turkey and pressed on into Syria. Fifty kilometers (30 miles) from their target they fired 22 rockets at the three identified objects inside the Kibar complex.

"The Syrians were completely surprised. By the time their air defense systems were ready, the Israeli planes were well out of range. The mission was successful, the reactor destroyed," Ruehle said.

Israel estimates that Iran had paid North Korea between $1 billion and $2 billion for the project, Ruehle said.
However, an American official has denied that Iran was involved in financing the Syrian nuclear plant.
In Washington, however, a US counterproliferation official denied that Iran funded the Syrian site.

"There is strong reason to believe that only two countries were involved in building the Syrian covert nuclear reactor at Al Kibar - Syria and North Korea," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Were the Iranians not involved in this plant? If so, where did the Syrians and the North Koreans come up with $1-2 billion? That's an awful lot of money for North Korea to invest in a reactor that is so far from home. And given that Syria's entire gross domestic product for 2007 was $38-39 billion, I find it hard to believe that they could invest that kind of money in one nuclear plant.

Because of the financial aspect, I have a little trouble believing the American denial. Could it be that the Obama administration does not want to add the tag of a nuclear proliferator to the Iranian government at a time when it would like to do business with Iran?

3 Comments:

At 2:46 AM, Blogger FinanceDoc said...

1) In Washington, however, a US counterproliferation official denied that Iran funded the Syrian site.

2) "There is strong reason to believe that only two countries were involved in building the Syrian covert nuclear reactor at Al Kibar - Syria and North Korea," said the official.

I don't know what else was said during the interview but I'd simply like to point out that statement number 1 does not follow from statement number 2.

 
At 3:06 AM, Blogger Steven said...

Statement 1 and Statement 2 can both be true, yet statement 2 is leading.

 
At 7:00 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

FinanceDoc,

Good catch.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

Google