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In August 2006, FrontPage Magazine published an interview with a Danish official named Regnar Rasmussen who worked at the Central Police Department on immigration and criminal investigations. He told Jamie Glazov that in November 1992, he met with a high-level official from an unnamed former Soviet republic. The official told him that in the autumn of 1991, the Iranians made a deal with the president of Kazakhstan to obtain nuclear weapons, believing it would help them make their own. He expresses his certainty that exactly three warheads were purchased for $7.5 billion, though Rasmussen concedes that may be an exaggeration.
Rasmussen said that the warheads were transported by train to Makhachkala in Dagestan, and then driven to Turkey using trucks. The Iranians took control of the three trucks at the Turkish city of Dogubeyazit and brought them to Tehran through the Bazargan border post in northwestern Iran. Rasmussen says that an Iranian soldier saw the warheads in Lavizan and later defected to Israel. He notes that as early as April 1992, the British newspaper, The European, was reporting that a top-secret Russian intelligence report stated that at least two nuclear weapons from Kazakhstan had gone to Iran.
Reza Kahlili, a pseudonym for an Iranian Revolutionary Guards member who spied for the U.S., says he was asked by the CIA around this time to locate an Iranian scientist who could confirm the acquisition, as Iranian delegations had been visiting nuclear sites in the former Soviet Union. Kahlili says that Russia confirmed that three nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan had gone missing and that the Vice President of German Federal Intelligence Service confirmed that two bombs had gone to Iran. There were also reports that four 152-mm nuclear artillery shells were bought by Iran as well, he says.
In 1998, the Jerusalem Post reported that Iranian government documents from 1991 and 1992 stated that two nuclear warheads from a former Soviet republic were obtained by Iran and were being maintained by Russian scientists at Lavizan. However, GlobalSecurity.org comments, “it is probable that these claims are in fact incorrect. These reports are almost certainly the product of efforts by the Israeli government to pressure the United States into stronger trade sanctions on Russia.”
Bodansky takes the story one step further. He writes that in the fall of 1992, Iran purchased an additional four 50-kiloton nuclear warheads from Kazakhstan. In December 1992, a conversation was recorded between an Iranian diplomat in Geneva and a senior diplomat in central Asia about the deal. The former asked if “the guys who wanted to buy a few warheads…completed their task in the best manner possible.” The official in central Asia replied in the affirmative, but said technical difficulties delayed the transfer. Bodansky says the warheads were shipped to North Korea instead.
Kahlili says that the intelligence about this nuclear transfer is apparently still being taken seriously. He says that Mathew Nasuti, a former U.S. Air Force captain that served as an advisor in Iraq, was told in a briefing at the State Department that it was “common knowledge” that Iran got nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union. Another intelligence officer and recipient of the Bronze Star, Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, told Kahlili that his sources confirmed that Iran had two “workable nuclear warheads.”
If the story isn’t true, it’s still possible that Iran has developed nuclear weapons on its own using secret uranium enrichment sites. After all, Iran already has enough enriched uranium for at least three bombs and would only need six months to enrich its uranium to bomb-grade levels. During a meeting with a high-level Iranian defector in March 2005, Ken Timmerman was told about five secret enrichment sites, including one that supposedly contained Shahab-3 ballistic missiles and 15 nuclear warheads—“not material for fifteen warheads, but actual warheads,” he wrote in his book.
The defector learned about it from someone at the site in 2004. To verify his claim, he told Timmerman look at satellite images of the area before construction began in 2002. He described how the site was built in detail, pointing out that a housing development where 50 North Korean technicians live nearby. There’s a swimming pool to store the irradiated nuclear material and 200 Revolutionary Guards missile soldiers reside at the site, the defector claimed. Timmerman checked with his intelligence sources and they saw exactly what the defector described.
If Iran doesn’t already have atomic weapons, then we may be living in the final moments of a world without a nuclear-armed Iran.
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