Inquiry demanded over nuclear export
2 February 2006
BRUSSELS — Opposition party Christian Democrat CD&V is demanding a parliamentary commission investigate the controversial export of a machine to Iran that can be used in the production of nuclear weapons.
A report from the intelligence service’s supervisory authority, Committee I, indicated on Wednesday that the federal security service VS-SE had made crucial errors handling the incident.
The CIA tipped off the Belgian security service about the looming export of an isostatic press in November 2004 to Iran by the Temse-based company Epsi.
The press is listed under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but it was exported to Iran despite the CIA request for Belgian authorities to intervene.
The Committee I report lodged in the Senate earlier this week indicated that the VS-SE ignored the tip and withheld crucial information from Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx.
The incident cost the job of the security’s service’s chief, Koen Dassen, who tendered his resignation on Tuesday night.
Despite the report’s tabling in the Senate, the CD&V still claims there are unanswered questions. The party’s Senators said it remains unclear whether a permit was issued for the press.
The CD&V stressed further during a Senate debate on Thursday that an investigation by a parliamentary commission would shed more light on the matter.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news