Very worrisome news from the UK, via, of all sources, the leftist Sunday edition of the Guardian, the Observer.
British officials have allowed the export to Iran of a cargo of radioactive material that experts believe could be used in a nuclear weapons programme, The Observer can reveal.
The disclosure has prompted calls for an inquiry into how the international trade in such compounds is controlled.
On 31 August a truck carrying 1,000kg of zirconium silicate supplied by a British firm was stopped by Bulgarian customs at the Turkish border on its way to Tehran, after travelling 2,400 kilometres (1,500 miles) from Britain, through Germany and Romania, without being stopped. Zirconium can be used as a component of a nuclear programme. According to one expert, it is used in nuclear reactors to stop fuel rods corroding and can also be used as part of a nuclear warhead. The metal can be extracted from zirconium silicate. It is because the compound can be used for military purposes that its trade is usually tightly controlled.
The fact that a British firm was allowed to sell the compound without scrutiny will raise questions for the British government over its controls on sensitive materials.
Ed Lasky 1 10 06