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Spanish companies implicated in nuclear scandal

Published on 10/02/2004

10 February 2004

VIENNA – Spanish companies formed part of the illegal nuclear-technology ring that was uncovered after Libya announced it would dismantle its weapons of mass destruction programmes, diplomatic sources said Tuesday.

Diplomats close to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna told EFE that Spain was one of “six or seven countries,” along with Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, who worked this black market in nuclear technology.

The Spanish mission to the IAEA in Vienna told EFE that the UN agency itself, whose chief is Mohamed ElBaradei, informed Spanish authorities of the matter several days ago.

Diplomats in Vienna are saying that Malaysia and Japan may be among the other countries involved.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Kursheed Mahmud Kasuri confirmed Monday that three German nationals acted as intermediaries in the clandestine trade in nuclear materials.

The IAEA presumes that, in most cases, the companies involved did not know the material was destined for Libya, Iran or North Korea.

The sources said the Spanish material, which came to Libya via Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, “did not consist of components for gas centrifuges” used to enrich uranium ore.

“It was machinery of another type, always suitable for two types of uses, that is, military and civilian,” said a western diplomat in Vienna, where the IAEA is headquartered.

In September, British and US information services discovered that the United Arab Emirates was the centre of the network when they intercepted a German ship that left Dubai for Libya carrying parts for centrifuges allegedly manufactured in Malaysia.

On Thursday, ElBaradei said in Vienna that the case of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who exported nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea, is only “the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the clandestine market in nuclear technology.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news