Time to send Joe Wilson to Tanzania

Sunday Times:

IRAN is seeking to import large consignments of bomb-making uranium from the African mining area that produced the Hiroshima bomb, an investigation has revealed.

A United Nations report, dated July 18, said there was “no doubt” that a huge shipment of smuggled uranium 238, uncovered by customs officials in Tanzania, was transported from the Lubumbashi mines in the Congo.

Tanzanian customs officials told The Sunday Times it was destined for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, and was stopped on October 22 last year during a routine check.

The disclosure will heighten western fears about the extent of Iran’s presumed nuclear weapons programme and the strategic implications of Iran’s continuing support for Hezbollah during the war with Israel.

It has also emerged that terror cells backed by Iran may be prepared to mount attacks against nuclear power plants in Britain. Intelligence circulating in Whitehall suggests that sleeper cells linked to Tehran have been conducting reconnaissance at some nuclear sites in preparation for a possible attack.


A senior Tanzanian customs official said the illicit uranium shipment was found hidden in a consignment of coltan, a rare mineral used to make chips in mobile telephones. The shipment was destined for smelting in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, delivered via Bandar Abbas, Iran’s biggest port.

“There were several containers due to be shipped and they were all routinely scanned with a Geiger counter,” the official said.

“This one was very radioactive. When we opened the container it was full of drums of coltan. Each drum contains about 50kg of ore. When the first and second rows were removed,the ones after that were found to be drums of uranium.”

In a nuclear reactor, uranium 238 can be used to breed plutonium used in nuclear weapons.

The customs officer, who spoke to The Sunday Times on condition he was not named, added: “The container was put in a secure part of the port and it was later taken away, by the Americans, I think, or at least with their help. We have all been told not to talk to anyone about this.”

The report by the UN investigation team was submitted to the chairman of the UN sanctions committee, Oswaldo de Rivero, at the end of July and will be considered soon by the security council.

It states that Tanzania provided “limited data” on three other shipments of radioactive materials seized in Dar es Salaam over the past 10 years.

The experts said: “In reference to the last shipment from October 2005, the Tanzanian government left no doubt that the uranium was transported from Lubumbashi by road through Zambia to the united republic of Tanzania.”

Lubumbashi is the capital of mineral-rich Katanga province, home of the Shinkolobwe uranium mine that produced material for the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.


I don't think this story can be washed down the drain with sweet tea and a leak to the NY Times. I think this substantial evidence could be why the Russians and the Chinese have backed the latest resolution concerning Iran. They have generously bargained for time for Iran to quit before action is taken, but there is little reason to believe that Iran will do what is needed to avoid further action.

Will the left wing start now to try to discredit this information in order to avoid the reality of what Iran is up to? Probably. Will the anti war left support taking action against Iran? Probably not. Will the Democrats try to blame Iran's bad conduct on President Bush? You can take it to the bank.

Update: AP reports that Iran is expanding its nuclear activitis:

Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Sunday that Iran will expand uranium enrichment, in defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution giving the Islamic Republic until Aug. 31 to halt the activity or face the threat of political and economic sanctions.

Ali Larijani called the U.N. Security Council resolution issued last week illegal and said Iran won't respect the deadline. ''We reject this resolution,'' he told reporters.

''We will expand nuclear activities where required. It includes all nuclear technology including the string of centrifuges,'' Larijani said, referring to the centrifuges Iran uses to enrich uranium.


Iran is determined to develop nukes and it is unlikely to stop before force is used to stop it.


  1. This is nonsense, and the phrase "bomb-making uranium" is a giveaway that this is BS scaremongering.

    First, Iran is a shareholder in the uranium mines of Niger, and has been since before the revolution. This isn't a secret to anyone who actually knows anything about int'l nuclear trade.

    Second, Iran has announced openly in the past when it made deals to import uranium. See for example BBC Monitoring Service Aug 14 1984 article.

    Third, Iran doesn't need to import uranium - it has uranium mines and the world knows it. In fact Iran specifically invited IAEA monitors to come and see them back in 1994.

    Fourth, as for the "bomb-making uranium", uranium ore is about as useful for making bombs as a bunch of rocks. In fact, that's what uranium ore is. You can buy the stuff on the internet if you're into geology.

    Fifth, there's no law which prohibits selling-buying uranium.
    To be used to make bombs, the stuff has to be purified to over 90%. Iran's nuclear facilities are under IAEA monitoring, just like other states. The IAEA, there's no evidence of any "bomb-making" in Iran.

  2. So that is why they were trying to hide it.

  3. The most interesting thing about this incident is that Iran thinks that securing yellowcake is necessary while it has domestic uranium ores. These ores are of lower quality than the African sources, but if Iran has the number of centrifuges it claims to have, then refining the lower grade stuff is not a problem. Hence, the Iranian attempt to buy African yellowcake can be interpreted two ways. First, the attempt to refine Iran's lower grade ore into nuclear fuel has failed. Second, the refining process works, but is not yielding enough nuclear fuel to produce the number of bombs Iran wants. I think the latter is the more plausible, and safer interpretation.



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