Pakistan interrogates nuclear scientists over suspected transfer of ''sensitive technology'' to Iran
Pakistan acknowledged on Tuesday that several of its nuclear scientists might have been motivated by "personal ambition and greed" to share sensitive technology with the Islamic Republic of Iran, but maintained the government never authorized the transfer of such information.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan, on his part, said the government is questioning a "very small number" of its scientists over the possibility they spread sensitive technology to Tehran.
The questioning, which started five or six weeks ago, was prompted by information from Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog.
"We had been approached by the IAEA. We had been given some information by the government of Iran. The information that was shared with us pointed to certain individuals and we had to hold the debriefing sessions," Khan told a news conference.
"There are indications that certain individuals might have been motivated by personal ambition or greed, but let me add we have not made a final determination," he said. "Let's not jump to conclusions."
It should be noted that on Monday, the government said that the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, was being questioned in connection with debriefings of other scientists, but was not in custody.
At least two scientists from Khan Research Laboratories, the country's top nuclear laboratory, were held for questioning this month including Mohammad Faruq, its former director general and aide to Khan, who is still being held.
According to diplomats, the IAEA has identified Russia, China and Pakistan as probable sources for equipment used by Iran for possible "nuclear weapons development".
Khan on Tuesday restated that Pakistan's government had not authorized the transfer of sensitive technology to other countries, and had a strong "command and control system and a stringent export control regime."
"Pakistan is responsible. We have taken a proactive approach and we want to get to the bottom of the matter," he said.
"If there are any individuals who are found involved in transactions of any sort, action would be taken against them. Nobody is above the law," he said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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