News


DATE=12/11/96

TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT

NUMBER=5-35171

TITLE=IRAN'S NUCLEAR DRIVE

BYLINE=MAXIM KNIAZKOV

DATELINE=WASHINGTON

CONTENT=

VOICED AT: 



INTRO: WITH NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION SINGLED OUT AS A MAJOR THREAT 

TO WORLD PEACE, THE NEWLY SELECTED U-S NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM IS 

EXPECTED TO KEEP A CLOSE WATCH ON IRAN.  U-S OFFICIALS AND 

NUCLEAR EXPERTS SAY TEHRAN IS MOVING AHEAD IN ITS DRIVE TO BUILD 

NUCLEAR WEAPONS.  V-O-A'S MAXIM KNIAZKOV  BRINGS US AN UPDATE ON 

THIS DRIVE. 



TEXT:  PUBLICLY, IRAN CLAIMS ITS NUCLEAR PROGRAM IS EXCLUSIVELY 

PEACEFUL AND OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL INSPECTIONS.  BUT EXPERTS SAY 

THE PROBLEM IS THAT IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM HAS A DOUBLE BOTTOM. 



THEY SAY THE COUNTRY'S NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS, AS WELL AS ITS  

PURPORTEDLY PEACEFUL RESEARCH FACILITIES, HIDE SECRET PROGRAMS 

DESIGNED TO TURN IRAN INTO A NUCLEAR POWER.  



A RECENT ITEM IN U-S NEWS AND WORLD REPORT MAGAZINE, CITING 

INTELLIGENCE SOURCES, SAYS IRAN IS BUILDING IN YAZD, THE 

COUNTRY'S URANIUM MINING CENTER, A NETWORK OF SUSPICIOUS 

UNDERGROUND SHAFTS.  ACCORDING TO THE MAGAZINE, INTELLIGENCE 

SOURCES BELIEVE THOSE SHAFTS COULD BE USED FOR FUTURE NUCLEAR 

TESTS.  



BUT THAT, SAYS GARY MILHOLLIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE 

WISCONSIN PROJECT ON NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL, IS ONLY THE TIP OF THE

ICEBERG (A SMALL PART OF PROBLEM).  MR. MILHOLLIN SAYS THE REACH 

OF TEHRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM IS INDEED GLOBAL. 



                    // ACT ONE MILHOLLIN // 



         THE IRANIANS ARE FOLLOWING BASICALLY THE SAME PATH THE 

         IRAQIS FOLLOWED.  THEY ARE BUYING AS MUCH AS THEY CAN 

         EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD TO PUT TOGETHER THEIR OWN 

         ABILITY TO MAKE NUCLEAR WEAPONS.  THEY ARE LOOKING FOR 

         HELP IN PROSPECTING FOR URANIUM, HELP IN CONVERTING THE 

         URANIUM INTO HEXAFLUORIDE GAS AND THEN HELP IN ENRICHING

         THE HEXAFLUORIDE GAS UP TO NUCLEAR WEAPON GRADE AND THEN

         TAKING THE NUCLEAR WEAPON GRADE URANIUM OUT IF IT AND 

         MAKING IT INTO A BOMB. 



                         // END ACT // 



IRANIAN OFFICIALS INSIST THEIR COUNTRY'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM HAS 

NOTHING TO DO WITH WEAPONS.  THEY POINT TO SMALL NUCLEAR RESEARCH

FACILITIES IN TEHRAN, ISFAHAN AND KARAJ -- AND AN UNFINISHED 

NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IN THE SOUTHERN CITY OF BUSHEHR.  THEY NEVER 

FAIL TO MENTION THAT THE BUSHEHR PLANT WAS STARTED UNDER THE 

SHAH, A STAUNCH U-S ALLY, AND WASHINGTON DID  NOT RAISE ANY 

OBJECTIONS AT THE TIME. 



BUT LEONARD SPECTOR, A NON-PROLIFERATION EXPERT AT CARNEGIE 

ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE, SAYS CURRENT IRANIAN RULERS 

HAVE RADICALLY CHANGED THE PROGRAM'S OVERALL CHARACTER. 



                     // ACT TWO SPECTOR // 



         THERE IS A NATIONAL COMMITMENT IN IRAN TO ACQUIRE 

         NUCLEAR WEAPONS, WHICH IS MANIFEST THROUGH THE EXISTENCE

         OF A CLANDESTINE PROGRAM, EVEN IF THAT PROGRAM HAS  NOT 

         GOTTEN TOO FAR AS YET. 



                         // END ACT // 



PUBLISHED REPORTS SAY ONE OF IRAN'S SECRET NUCLEAR FACILITIES IS 

LOCATED NORTH OF TEHRAN, IN UNDERGROUND CHAMBERS DUG BENEATH THE 

VILLAGE OF MOALLEM KALAYEH.  ANOTHER NUCLEAR COMPLEX IS BELIEVED 

TO BE HIDDEN AT DARKHOVIN, A MILITARY BASE RUN BY THE 

REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS, IRAN'S ELITE MILITARY SERVICE.  



ON TOP OF THAT, U-S OFFICIALS SAY TEHRAN IS TRYING TO USE ITS 

PEACEFUL FACILITIES AS A GUISE FOR OBTAINING NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY 

THAT COULD BE APPLIED FOR MANUFACTURING WEAPONS. 



MR. SPECTOR OF CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT SAYS THAT IN THAT REGARD, 

TEHRAN IS RELYING ON COUNTRIES OF THE FORMER SOVIET UNION.  



                    // ACT THREE SPECTOR // 



         YOU HAVE A SITUATION IN RUSSIA, WHERE APART FROM 

         OFFICIALLY SANCTIONED EXPORTS, THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY 

         OF NUCLEAR SMUGGLING.  THERE IS AN AWFUL LOT OF 

         MATERIAL, HUNDREDS OF TONS OF MATERIAL, THAT COULD BE 

         USED FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS, WHICH IS COVERED BY RATHER 

         POOR SECURITY. 



                         // END ACT // 



U-S OFFICIALS HAVE REPEATEDLY WARNED THAT, DANGEROUS AS THEY ARE 

IN THEMSELVES, IRAN'S NUCLEAR PURSUITS BECOME A REAL NIGHTMARE IN

LIGHT OF THE COUNTRY'S SUPPORT FOR INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST 

NETWORKS. 



MR. MILHOLLIN OF THE WISCONSIN PROJECT SAYS THAT A COUNTRY DOES  

NOT  NECESSARILY NEED SOPHISTICATED BALLISTIC MISSILES TO DELIVER

NUCLEAR WARHEADS.  



                    // ACT FOUR MILHOLLIN // 



         THEY (THE WARHEADS) CAN BE SMUGGLED IN AND DETONATED IN 

         A BUILDING.  THEY CAN BE BROUGHT UP A RIVER ON A BOAT.  

         THEY CAN BE SHOT IN FROM A SUBMARINE 200 MILES OFF SHORE

         OR EVEN FOR THAT MATTER FROM THE DECK OF A CONTAINER 

         SHIP 100 MILES OFFSHORE.  THERE ARE LOTS OF WAY TO 

         DELIVER A NUCLEAR WEAPON THAT DON'T REQUIRE AN 

         INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILE. 



                         // END ACT // 



BUT MR. MILHOLLIN SAYS IRAN  IS  LIKELY TO ACQUIRE BALLISTIC 

MISSILES, DUE PRIMARILY TO ITS COOPERATION WITH NORTH KOREA, EVEN

EARLIER THAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS.  AS FOR NUCLEAR WARHEADS, U-S 

OFFICIALS AND PROLIFERATION SPECIALISTS AGREE THAT TEHRAN WILL 

PROBABLY HAVE THEM WITHIN 10 YEARS, IF ITS NUCLEAR DRIVE GOES 

UNIMPEDED. (SIGNED) 



NEB/MAX/KL



   







    







11-Dec-96 2:41 PM EST (1941 UTC)

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Source: Voice of America

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