Iran seeking to smuggle uranium from Khazekstan

Straight out of a 007 novel!

VIENNA (AP) — Diplomats are concerned about an intelligence report that says Iran is trying to import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan in violation of U.N. Security Council sanctions.

Such a deal would be significant because Tehran appears to be running out of that material, which it needs to feed its uranium enrichment program.

A summary of the report obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday said the deal could be completed within weeks. It said Tehran was willing to pay $450 million, or close to 315 million euros, for the shipment.

An official from the country that drew up the report said Kazakh government employees acting on their own were behind the deal. The official demanded anonymity in exchange for discussing intelligence matters.

After-hours calls put in to offices of Kazatomprom, the Kazak state uranium company, in Kazakhstan and Moscow, were not answered. There was no immediate reaction from Tehran.

Iran is under three sets of Security Council sanctions for refusing to freeze its enrichment program and related activities that could be used to make nuclear weapons. Tehran denies such aspirations.
"Right, lads - the good news is, we're pulling you out of Afghanistan one year early! Now, the BAD news is... :twisted: "
leveller said:
How do you 'smuggle' 1,350 TONS of the stuff????
A quick glance at the map shows that to be a very good question. K'stans uranium mines appear to be in the SSE of the country , close to the Uzbek border.

Now, are you going to freight 1500 tons of hot rock , through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and all the security dramas that entails , or freight it right across K'stan to the Caspian, stick it on an ore carrier , and sail it straight to a Northern Iranian Port , tip-toeing past the Russian Navy?

Call me a cynic, but this has a whiff of Debka about it.

However, that said, I wouldn't put it past the greed of people to float such a plan.
PTP, could this be an attempt at establishing Casus Belli? A slightly more subtle version of "WMD's that can be deployed in 45 minutes"?
From a country desperate to strengthen ties with NATO? The denials were floated in the small piece offered "People acting under their own initative" or somesuch.

So I guess someone will be looking at the inside of a Kazakhstan chokey fairly shortly if true.

The logistics alone make it a difficult exercise to complete. Not impossible , as $450 Mil does buy an awful lot of looking the wrong way.

If it is a Causus Belli , it's a particularly weak one.
This is just part of the global propoganda against the current regime in Iran. It wouldn't surprise me if the CIA actually brokered the deal in the 1st place. after the removal of Saddam, the west has had to think alot smarter before toppling governments without there own political powerbase crumbling.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad knows he's on borrowed time, as no matter what, the west will cause either civil war, or a surgical strike on the reactor in order to weaken his position. All this is over oil, as usual. Ahmajinejad is anti-West, and the Iranians will be forced to appoint an appeaser in order to lift the UN sanctions. Just wait and see!
I guess it's a good thing we've been cozying up to the Kazakh government lately then.

Editted to add: although that hardly seems important, given Ahmadinejad's increasingly shaky grip on the country.

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