European Firms Supplying Iranian Nuclear Program
“The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
The governor of the Turkish region of Agri announced earlier this week that Turkish border security had stopped and seized two trucks carrying over 7,100 pounds of Italian-made aluminium alloy to Iran this past December. Aluminium alloy is used to manufacture parts, such as centrifuges, for nuclear weapons and enriched uranium production. The Milan company loaded the aluminium alloy onto trucks with Iranian drivers from an Iranian company based in Istanbul, Turkey.
Four months earlier, in August 2005, the Bulgarians intercepted a shipment of zirconium silicate from Britain bound for Iran. Zirconium silicate is a sand with traces of radioactive zirconium, which can be refined and the zirconium purified/extracted for use as cladding inside nuclear equipment in order to minimize internal fuel rod erosion during operation or for the warhead itself. Astonishingly,the shipment was permitted to proceed.
In April 2005, Germany allowed the shipment of a massive world-class crane to Iran intended to assist them in their missile program, currently developing the Shahab-4, capable of hitting targets in Europe, including all of Germany. By the time German customs officers realized that the equipment was put on a ship for an Iranian company forbidden to receive such goods in Germany, the ship was already in international waters. In fact, it was already docked for a stop at Port Said in the Suez Canal.
Also in April 2005, and also in Germany, three German executives were arrested when the government charged they had sold Iran missile launching technology.
Yet, while either some European countries’ firms were sacrificing security in the name of money or their governments were asleep at the security wheel, one country as of late has stood surprisingly apart and unexpectedly firm with regards to the Iranian nuclear threat.
France has yesterday openly accused Iran of developing a secret military nuclear program, as Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said point blank, “No civilian nuclear program can explain the Iranian nuclear program. It is a clandestine Iranian military nuclear program.”
In reaction to the French Foreign Minister’s direct words, Iran’s head nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said on Iranian state television, “I suggest that Mr. Douste-Blazy use a diplomatic tone and avoid increasing the tension.” This coming from a nation whose president recently said that Israel should and could be ‘wiped off the map’. Perhaps that is the diplomatic tone Mr. Larijani is seeking.
Inside Iran, a disciple of Ahmadinejad’s radical religious mentor has issued a new fatwa stating that Islamic law does not forbid nuclear weapons, contrary to Iran’s long held public religious assertion. As Iran gets closer to actually possessing an arsenal they can field, the religious justification will naturally become stronger. The previous position opposing the use of nuclear weapons seemingly applies only when Iran has none.
Meanwhile, Europe remains plagued by companies willing to sell Iranians the rope they seek and by governments unconcerned or too distracted to halt it.
Calling that familiar Lenin quote to mind, it seems that, at least with regard to the Iranian nuclear program and after their own ‘French Intifada’ this past October, France is officially out of the rope business.