Reprinted from the ICEJ NEWS SERVICE from Jerusalem of April 9, 1998
THE JERUSALEM POST has obtained Iranian government documents discussing Tehran's successful efforts to purchase nuclear warheads from former Soviet republics.
According to the documents, "Iran received several nuclear warheads from a former Soviet republic in the early 1990s and Russian experts maintained them", the POST reports in an exclusive article today by Steve Rodan.
In one of the documents, dated December 1991, the deputy head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards tells Atomic Energy Agency chief Rezi Amrullahi that "two war materiel of nuclear nature" had arrived from Russia and were being held by the guards.
According to another (in 1992), the nuclear warheads were being stored in the Lavizan military camp in the Teheran area. A third document (also dated 1992) discusses the production of a solid fuel missile prototype, Zalzal 300, completed in Lavizan which was soon to be ready for launch.
US congressional experts believe the documents to be authentic, reports the POST.
In 1992, the US Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the House Republican Research Committee said there was a "98 per cent certainty that Iran already had all [or virtually all] of the components required for two to three operational nuclear weapons made with parts purchased in the ex-Soviet Muslim republics."**
An Israeli official said the Iranian missile program topped the government's list of priorities. "Israeli officials said that both Jerusalem and Washington agree on the amount of progress achieved by Iran in developing a missile with a range of 1,300 kilometres, which is able to reach Israel. The disagreement is about whether Russia supports the technology transfer to Iran and whether Moscow is capable of stopping the flow."
* Yesterday, THE JERUSALEM POST reported that US envoy Robert Gallucci held meetings on Tuesday with Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to coordinate efforts to halt Russia's massive aid to Iran's medium-range ballistic missile program. Gallucci is President Bill Clinton's newly-appointed special envoy to Russia on the missile issue.
** For a copy of the US Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare report (32 kb), send an email (leave "message" empty) to <email@example.com>