Syria reportedly turned down offer from Khan nuclear network in 2001

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(Photo of Pakistani rogue nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the most unprincipled man of the 20th century. AP Photo)

The timing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s remarks is most bizarre. Why has Assad decided to bring up the nuclear issue, seemingly out of the blue, during an interview with the Austrian daily “Die Presse” just now? If Assad intended the interview to prove his country’s non-involvement in a secret nuclear weapons program despite being offered assistance by Pakistani rogue nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan’s black market network in 2001, why did we hear nothing of this during the storm of speculation about possible Syrian nuclear activity immediately following Israel’s strike (Operation Orchard) on an unknown facility deep inside the country? One possibility is that since both sides had maintained uncharacteristic secrecy about the details of the strike, Assad preferred to avoid addressing the issue head on, lest even mentioning Khan’s name in the same breath as his own country lead to more speculation. Another more likely possibility is that, against the background of immense political fallout from the release of the United States’ National Intelligence Estimate report on the Iranian nuclear program, Assad was emboldened to speak out against yet another case of unfounded American nuclear accusations with regard to his country. If this was Assad’s intention, he’d do well to know that his own statements in an interview with an Austrian daily won’t produce even a fraction of the fallout which resulted from the release of the NIE, with its conclusions backed by the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. Those enigmatic Syrians…

(Associated Press) — Syria received a letter purportedly written by the head of the same nuclear black market that supplied Iran and Libya with technology but did not respond, the country’s president said in comments published Wednesday. President Bashar Assad’s remarks to the Austrian daily “Die Presse” appeared to be the first time that a senior official linked the country to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the top Pakistani scientist who was exposed in 2004 as the head of an international black market in nuclear technology. Khan’s black market network was the key supplier of nuclear technology to both Iran and Libya. In the interview, Assad said that in early 2001, “someone brought a letter from a certain Khan,” adding, “we didn’t know whether the letter was real or a fake from the Israelis who wanted to entice us into a trap. “In any case, we turned it down,” he was quoted as saying. “We had no interest in nuclear weapons or a nuclear reactor. We never met with Khan… Click for full article

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