In 1965 Pakistan began operating its first research reactor, a five-megawatt, highly-enriched-uranium/ light-water facility supplied through the IAEA by the United States. The plant has been under IAEA safeguards and is not believed to have contributed to Pakistan's efforts to develop nuclear arms except for the training it has provided to native technicians. The reactor went into service some nine years after India's first research reactor (Apsara) and a year after India's second, the CIRUS plant, which produced the plutonium for India's 1974 test.
Pakistan's first nuclear power plant, known as KANUPP (for Karachi Nuclear Power Project), a 137-megawatt, natural-uranium/heavy-water reactor purchased from Canada, was completed in 1972. The United States supplied the heavy water for the facility, Canada supplied the fuel. It, too, is subject to IAEA inspections; but, as discussed below, many observers fear that plutonium produced in the reactor may ultimately contribute to Pakistani nuclear weapons.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the chief architect of Pakistan's nuclear program. Between 1958 and 1971, the year he became prime minister, Bhutto held the posts of foreign minister, minister for fuel, power, and nuclear resources, and administrator in charge of atomic energy. In these various positions he supervised the negotiations to obtain Pakistan's research and power reactors, as well as the establishment of the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH), Pakistan's principal nuclear research center. The facility included a British-designed reprocessing laboratory with an insignificant plutonium output, but useful for training Pakistani technicians in this sensitive field. Design of the lab was completed in 1971 and it was probably constructed shortly thereafter. (2)
As Bhutto revealed in 1978 in a testament written while he awaited execution, from the outset his objective was to make Pakistan into a nuclear power:
When I took charge of Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission it was no more than a signboard of an office. It was only a name. Assiduously and with granite determination, I put my entire vitality behind the task of acquiring nuclear capability for my country .... A country does not have to be merely wealthy to possess nuclear capability. If that were the only requirement, every OPEC country would have nuclear capability. The essential pre-requisite is the infrastructure.
For this reason, I gave the highest priority to train thousands of nuclear scientists in foreign countries. Now we have the brainpower, we have the nuclear power plant in Karachi. All we needed was the nuclear reprocessing plant. Arrangements for the heavy water, the uranium and the fuel fabricating plant had been made. We were on the threshold of full nuclear capability when I left the Government to come to this death cell. We know that Israel and South Africa have full nuclear capability. The communist powers also possess it. Only the Islamic civilization was without it, but that position was about to change. (3)
As early as 1969, Bhutto had publicly declared his intentions. In his book The Myth of Independence, written four years after Pakistan's defeat in the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War and during a period when many Indian leaders were calling for their nation to develop nuclear weapons, Bhutto wrote:
All wars of our age have become total wars ... and it will have to be assumed that a war waged against Pakistan is capable of becoming a total war. It would be dangerous to plan for less and our plans should, therefore, include the nuclear deterrent .... India is unlikely to concede nuclear monopoly to others .... It appears that she is determined to proceed with her plans to detonate a nuclear bomb. If Pakistan restricts or suspends her nuclear programme, it would not only enable India to blackmail Pakistan with her nuclear advantage, but would impose a crippling limitation on the development of Pakistan's science and the technology .... Our problem, in its essence, is how to obtain such a weapon in time before the crisis begins. (4)
Such concerns undoubtedly contributed to Pakistan's refusal to ratify the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In this, Pakistan followed India's lead. It left Pakistan free to develop nuclear arms without violating any international undertaking.
In 1971 India dealt Pakistan a crushing military defeat in a second war, resulting in the creation of the separate nation of Bangladesh from the area that previously had been East Pakistan. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became prime minister of the now truncated Pakistani state in the west. Less then two months after taking office, Bhutto convened a group of Pakistan's top scientists in the city of Multan and announced that Pakistan would develop atomic weapons. (5) Bhutto also removed the head of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Ishrat Usmani, who reportedly opposed the development of nuclear arms, and appointed Munir Khan, a supporter of Pakistani nuclearization, to the post.
Reprocessing and Enrichment Plants. Over the next several years, Pakistan launched a number of initiatives aimed at developing nuclear arms. First, in 1973, shortly after the start-up of the Canadian-supplied KANUPP power reactor, Prime Minister Bhutto began negotiating with France for the purchase of a large reprocessing facility to be located at Chashma. The facility was to be a commercial-size plant capable of handling one hundred metric tons of spent nuclear fuel a year (1 metric ton = 2,200 pounds)--more than five times the annual output of the KANUPP reactor-and of producing perhaps one hundred and fifty kilograms of plutonium (1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds) annually, enough for possibly thirty nuclear weapons. The facility was far larger than could possibly be integrated economically into Pakistan's nuclear energy program, (6) its large annual capacity, however, would allow rapid processing of accumulated spent fuel from KANUPP to produce a stock of weapons-usable plutonium.
Before the negotiations on the plant were revealed publicly, Pakistan announced plans to construct a fivehundred- megawatt nuclear reactor near Chashma and a smaller nuclear desalinization plant, in what now appears to have been an attempt to justify the reprocessing facility. Subsequently, in its nuclear budget for 1975-76, Pakistan indicated an intention to build one nuclear power plant every *two years from 1980 until the end of the century. (7) None of these plans has been realized, however, and only in 1983 did Pakistan issue bids for its first new power plant, as discussed below.
According to a January 1975 aide-memoire to the French ambassador in Islamabad, in October 1974 - less than six months after India's nuclear test-the French firm Saint-Gobain Techniques Nouvelles (SGN) signed a detailed agreement for construction of the outsized reprocessing plant. SGN would be the principal engineer for the facility, furnish blueprints and some of the necessary hardware, aid Pakistan in purchasing other items through subcontractors, and help put the plant into operation. (8) The plant would cost some $60 million. French Atomic Energy Commission officials participated in the negotiations and, had full knowledge of the project as it evolved. Given Bhutto's response to the Indian explosion, which he characterized as a "fateful development" that has "introduced a qualitative change in the situation prevalent in the Subcontinent," and the excessive capability of the reprocessing plant relative to Pakistan's nuclear energy program, the French could have been under few illusions that Pakistan intended to use the plant to advance its ability to develop nuclear arms. (9)
While negotiations on the plant at Chashma continued, Pakistan also began construction of a smaller, secret reprocessing facility adjacent to the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology near Rawalpindi. The facility, known as the New Labs, was built with the assistance of the Belgian firm Belgonucleaire and SGN, although the French government may not have been aware of SGN participation. (10) Reportedly, the plant was designed to produce between ten and twenty kilograms of plutonium annually, enough for two to four weapons. (11)
It appears that shortly after the Indian test, Pakistan launched a separate effort to acquire the capability for producing highly enriched uranium, the alternative material usable for nuclear weapons. The key to this secret endeavor was Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan, a Pakistani metallurgical engineer who was trained in Holland and Belgium between 1963 and 1972. From 1972 to 1975 Khan worked in the metallurgical section of a Dutch engineering firm, The Physical Dynamics Research Laboratory (FDO) whose parent company was playing a key role in an ultracentrifuge uranium enrichment plant then under construction in the town of Almelo in the Netherlands. (12) The Almelo facility was being built by the British-Dutch-West German consortium URENCO to produce low-enriched nuclear power plant fuel.
As a subsequent investigation by the Dutch government revealed, Khan gained access both to secret technical data concerning the plant's highly classified uranium enrichment process and to detailed lists of the equipment used in the facility, all of which he transferred to Pakistan. (13) Even before Khan had left his post in the Netherlands in 1975, Pakistani nuclear officials were using the information he had provided to begin purchasing key components for a Pakistani ultracentrifuge pilot plant to be built in the town of Sihala (a few miles southeast of Islamabad). Later, under Khan's direction, Pakistan initiated construction of an industrial-scale plant at nearby Kahuta with thousands of centrifuge units.
Islamic Ties. In the wake of Pakistan's defeat in the 1971 Bangladesh War, Prime Minister Bhutto worked assiduously to strengthen ties with other Muslim states to counterbalance India's new dominance of the Subcontinent. Bhutto took the lead in organizing the Islamic Conference, serving as its president until his death in 1979, and hosting the second Islamic summit in Lahore in 1974. (14)
As the wealth of the oil-producing Arab states skyrocketed in the early 1970s, Pakistan benefited economically from these ties, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in economic aid, more than offsetting the increased cost of its oil imports and rivaling the amount of aid received from the Western Aid Pakistan Consortium. (15) in 1974-75, Pakistan was the second largest recipient of OPEC aid, and between 1973 and mid-1976 five Arab countries and Iran provided grants and loans worth nearly $1 billion. 16 Much of this aid was earmarked for arms purchases; at the same time, Pakistani nationals began to play an increasingly important role in the military establishments of the Arab states. According to one recent report:
Libya supported Pakistan by giving it $150 million in economic assistance and nearly $200 million for military purchases between 1975 and 1976. In return, Pakistan supplied military personnel under contract, particularly to the Libyan Air Force, where they were involved in the operation of MIG-21s, -23s, and perhaps some Mirage fighters. In addition, Abu Dhabi sponsored the largest of the arms deals financed with Arab money. It funded the direct purchase of 32 Mirage V's for the PAF [Pakistani Air Force] at a cost of $330 million and contracted for Pakistani crews to operate an additional 24 that were bought for the Abu Dhabi Air Force with the caveat that, in the case of an emergency, these too would be made available to PAR The total cost of the deal was nearly $650 million. (17)
Bhutto's ties to Libyan leader Muammar el-Khadafi appear to have been particularly strong, and in 1973 the two nations are said to have cemented a relationship under which Libya agreed to finance Pakistan's acquisition of nuclear weapons. (18) As discussed below, Libya also transferred uranium not subject to IAEA monitoring to Pakistan. Although it has been widely speculated that in return for this aid Pakistan promised to provide complete nuclear weapons to Libya, the consensus in the U.S. intelligence community, according to knowledgeable officials, is that Pakistan never agreed to such a quid pro quo. During the 1970s, however, Libya is widely reported to have sought technical assistance to develop its own reprocessing or enrichment capability; (19) it is not unreasonable to surmise that Libya may have expected to receive such knowhow in return for its contribution to Pakistan, particularly since at the time -as France and Belgium were demonstrating - international transfers of this kind were not considered contraband.
While these linkages between Pakistan and the Arab world may have helped underwrite the Pakistani nuclear program, they remain far short of a concerted Arab effort to obtain nuclear arms through the agency of Pakistan. All the same, Arab leaders may well have believed that the development of nuclear weapons by Pakistan, which was so strongly emphasizing its Muslim ties, would enhance the stature of the Muslim world generally and serve as a political counterweight to Israel's nuclear capability. This is probably the extent to which Pakistan's acquisition of nuclear weapons can be considered an "Islamic bomb," and it is in this context that Prime Minister Bhutto's comment, quoted earlier, that the "Islamic civilization" would shortly possess "full nuclear capability" should be interpreted.
Slowing the Chashma Reprocessing Plant. Following the Indian test of 1974, U.S. efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons gradually intensified. In the fall of 1974 the United States convened a secret meeting of the principal nuclear supplier nations in London in an effort to gain acceptance of a uniform set of nuclear export standards. (20) It also began to pressure Pakistan and then France to cancel the Chashma reprocessing plant sale. (At the time, Pakistan's separate programs for obtaining nuclear weapons material through the New Labs near PINSTECH and the Kahuta enrichment plant were apparently unknown to U.S. officials.)
Prime Minister Bhutto had indicated that he might consider abandoning, or at least postponing, the Chashma reprocessing plant if the United States lifted the arms embargo that had been imposed against Pakistan in 1971 at the time of the Bangladesh War. (21) Out of increasing recognition of Pakistan's legitimate security concerns and, apparently, a desire to pursue this possible opening, the Ford administration lifted the arms embargo in February 1975. (22) It also maintained pressure on France to insist, at a minimum, that the facility be safeguarded, a step France adopted in 1975. France also insisted that any other reprocessing plant Pakistan might build over the next twenty years using the same basic process as the Chashma facility likewise be placed under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. The United States voted in favor of the French-Pakistani-IAEA agreement embodying these controls when it came before the IAEA Board of Governors in February 1976 and appeared prepared to go along with the sale on those terms.
At that point, however, the U.S. Congress intervened. Alarmed over the 1974 Indian test, West Germany's sale in 1975 of reprocessing and enrichment technology to Brazil, and the pending French reprocessing plant sales to Pakistan and to South Korea, it enacted the first of a series of major non-proliferation laws, the Symington amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act. (23) The amendment prohibited U.S. economic or military assistance to any nation importing enrichment or reprocessing technology unless the recipient accepted IAEA safeguards on all of its nuclear activities. In effect, the amendment meant that sales of U.S. military equipment to Pakistan would be available only on a cash basis and that all bilateral economic assistance would be terminated if the French reprocessing plant sale were consummated.
In the face of congressional opposition to the French sale, as well as sharp criticism from presidential candidate Jimmy Carter of the Ford administration's nonproliferation policies, Secretary of State Kissinger visited Pakistan in August in an attempt to persuade Bhutto to abandon the project. (24) As a further inducement, Kissinger offered Bhutto one hundred A-7 Corsair jet fighters, a transfer that would have greatly strengthened Pakistan's overall military capabilities. Nevertheless, Bhutto rejected the offer. Kissinger then flew to Paris where he attempted to persuade the French to cancel the sale, but French premier Jacques Chirac rejected Kissinger's request.
Chirac resigned shortly after this encounter, and President Valery Giscard d'Estaing took direct control of French nuclear export decision-making. In October, Giscard visited the United States and reportedly discussed overall nuclear export policy. On December 16, 1976, Paris declared it would discontinue further exports of reprocessing facilities until further notice. (25)
This policy did not directly affect the pre-existing sale to Pakistan, however, and through the spring of 1977, France planned to proceed with the next phase of the deal, the export of the cutting machine for chopping spent fuel into pieces at the "head end" of the Chashma plant. Only when American officials presented new evidence of Pakistan's intent to use the plant to aid its nuclear weapons program did France modify its position. Starting in June 1977, France began to delay performance under the sales contract while adding new conditions in the hopes that Pakistan would break off the agreement. (26) U. S. pressure on Pakistan continued as well. American military and economic assistance for Pakistan was terminated in September 1977 because of its continued pursuit of the French deal. (27)
Finally, in August 1978, France stopped performing under the contract. (28) Two months later, U.S. military and economic aid was restored. As late as December 1979, however, personnel working for SGN, the French firm responsible for building the Chashma plant, continued to assist Pakistan in various aspects of construction, while several French suppliers continued to export goods for the facility pursuant to Pakistani purchase orders. Even when this aid was stopped, apparently late in 1979, Pakistan continued efforts to build the plant by using blueprints and specifications previously obtained from France; little progress seems to have been made, however. (29) The ongoing activities at the Chashma site made it clear that President Zia ul Haq, who deposed Bhutto in July 1977, intended to continue the nuclear policies of his predecessor.
By this time, virtually all overt nuclear aid to Pakistan had ceased, the Canadians having terminated spare parts and fresh fuel for the KANUPP facility in 1976 because of Pakistan's unwillingness to accept IAEA safeguards on all of its nuclear activities. (30)
While these intensive diplomatic efforts to block the completion of the Chashma reprocessing plant were being played out, Pakistan was also pursuing two alternative routes for obtaining nuclear weapons material: construction of an enrichment facility and completion of the New Labs pilot-scale reprocessing unit. Pakistan was critically dependent on purchases from the advanced Western nuclear supplier countries to build the first of these facilities and was able to obtain much of the equipment it needed both because these governments condoned some of the exports involved and because private-sector agents were often able to circumvent such export controls as the governments did apply. Pakistan has adamantly refused to place either plant under IAEA safeguards.
While little has been reported of the specific items obtained for the New Labs unit, Pakistan's purchasing effort for the Kahuta enrichment plant has been well documented. From the Swiss firm Vakuum Apparat Technik, Pakistan obtained high-vacuum valves needed to control flows of uranium hexafluoride gas in the plant; from the Swiss firm CORA Engineering, it bought an elaborate, specially designed and engineered gasification and solidification unit, so large that three Hercules C-130 transport planes were reportedly required to fly it to Pakistan; from the British firm Emerson Electric, it purchased over sixty high-frequency inverters for regulating the centrifuges; and from the Dutch firm Van Doorne Transmissie, it bought 6,500 specially hardened steel tubes for the centrifuges themselves. (31)
In each of these cases, the sales were arguably permissible under the joint standards adopted by the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 1976 because the items involved were not explicitly mentioned on the suppliers' "trigger list," the list of items whose export is prohibited unless special licenses are issued and the recipient country agrees to place the installation using them under IAEA safeguards. Although the Dutch government reportedly expressed concern at the sale of the hardened steel tubes - which was completed nevertheless - Swiss officials apparently made no effort to intervene in the sales by their domestic corporations. And only after a member of the British Parliament asked a question in the House of Commons about the Emerson Electric sale was the matter raised publicly in Great Britain.
Shortly afterwards, the United States began to focus on Pakistan's development of the Kahuta plant. The result was a major U.S. effort to revise the joint controls of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and, in the meantime, to persuade individual supplier countries to block the export of critical items for the facility. These efforts were only partially successful.
With the evidence now plain that it was seeking to import enrichment technology, Pakistan again became ineligible for U.S. assistance under the Symington amendment. In April 1979, after the failure of a special mission to Islamabad by Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher to persuade President Zia to can- the Kahuta project, U.S. aid was terminated. (32) In May, Assistant Secretary of State Thomas R. Picketing, testifying before Congress, explained the basis for the Carter administration's concerns regarding the plant:
We believe uranium enrichment facilities or other sensitive nuclear facilities are not justified in terms of Pakistan's nuclear program which consists essentially of one research reactor, supplied by the United States, and one small heavy water power reactor supplied by Canada which does not require enriched uranium. We are concerned, therefore, that the Pakistan program is not peaceful but related to an effort to develop a nuclear explosive capability. (33)
Three months later, President Zia, in an address to the nation, responded to the U.S. aid cut-off, stating:
Our economic aid has been affected but we have absorbed its impact and the entire nation supports the government's stand because it is united on this issue .... We shall bear our vicissitudes ourselves. We shall lift our burden. We shall eat crumbs but we will not allow our national interest to be compromised in any manner whatsoever. (34)President Zia's refusal to bow to the loss of U.S. aid was more than mere rhetoric. According to U.S. officials quoted in the press, foreign intelligence reports indicated that an underground nuclear test site was being prepared in southern Pakistan. (35)
The report of Pakistan's nuclear test site came barely a week after a New York Times story that the United States was preparing to escalate its efforts to curb the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. Among the options being considered, the Times reported, were the sale of advanced F-16 aircraft to Pakistan , intensified economic sanctions such as restrictions on private American investment in the country and on grants by international lending institutions, and covert military operations to disable the Pakistani enrichment facility. (36)
The United States immediately denied that it intended to take paramilitary action against the Pakistani enrichment program, although press reports quoted government officials as acknowledging that the option had been considered and then rejected as "too dangerous and politically provocative." (37) Some U.S. officials, among them U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Arthur W. Hummel, Jr., apparently believed that the production of nuclear weapons by Pakistan was all but inevitable and that neither covert military action nor severe economic sanctions would turn it from its quest for such weapons (38) Nevertheless, it appeared that the United States was quietly beginning to impose increased economic sanctions by taking a tough stand on the country's appeals for debt rescheduling. (39) For its part, Pakistan escalated the war of nerves in September by announcing that it intended to build the Chashma reprocessing plant on its own, despite the loss of French aid. (40)
In mid-October 1979, Pakistani foreign affairs advisor Agha Shahi held a series of talks in Washington with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance on a number of issues, including Pakistan's nuclear program. (41) Given the mounting U.S. pressure on Pakistan during the previous six months, including the termination of military and economic assistance, the apparent slowdown in multilateral lending, and the veiled threats of covert military action, it is possible that during these meetings the United States threatened serious consequences if Pakistan did not cease its pursuit of the bomb. (42)
Barely two months later, on December 25, 1979, Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. Within weeks, U.S. policy towards Pakistan changed dramatically as the Carter administration urged it to accept a two-year, $400-million economic and military aid package. While the Carter administration initially intended to obtain a one-time emergency exemption from the Symington amendment barring Pakistan from any American aid because of its uranium enrichment activities, by February it had decided to seek an open-ended exemption that would allow assistance indefinitely. (43)
President Zia termed the Carter aid offer "peanuts" and instead sought a treaty with the United States formally guaranteeing Pakistan's security. During their visit to Islamabad in early February 1980, Nation
al Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher, while downplaying the possibility of such a treaty, held open the prospect of increased aid. Reportedly, however, they carried instructions warning Zia that a Pakistani nuclear test would spell the end of any renewed U.S. assistance. (44)
Although Washington and Islamabad would dicker for the remainder of 1980 over the size and content of renewed U.S. aid and the quality of U.S. security guarantees, the Brzezinski-Christopher mission appeared to represent a turning point in U.S. policy toward Pakistan's acquisition of nuclear arms. Whereas prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Carter administration had been prepared to impose economic and military aid sanctions against Pakistan and to consider more severe measures to stop the Pakistani nuclear weapons effort in its tracks, the United States was now ready to maintain the flow of arms and aid even if Pakistan continued to advance its program, provided it did not test a nuclear device. Moreover, given Washington's goal of strengthening the Zia regime as a bulwark against Soviet expansionism, halting multilateral loans to Pakistan, a move which could threaten the stability of the Zia government, was also implicitly ruled out. This left technology transfer curbs as the principal tool for retarding Pakistan's ongoing efforts to develop nuclear arms. As discussed below, the Reagan administration adopted a similar stance.
Events during 1979 and 1980 demonstrated the difficulty of relying on nuclear-supplier country export controls alone. In November 1979, press reports stated that Pakistan had obtained as much as 100 metric tons of uranium concentrate (yellowcake) not subject to IAEA monitoring from Libya. (45) The material had originally been purchased by Libya from Niger and then re-exported to Pakistan, possibly along with material that Pakistan had itself purchased from Niger through normal, above-board channels. Under the terms of the Pakistan-Niger-IAEA safeguards agreement, all of Pakistan's direct purchases of yellowcake from Niger had to be listed with the IAEA and used only in safeguarded installations, such as the KANUPP power plant. (46)
To run its unsafeguarded uranium enrichment plant, however, Pakistan needed a source of yellowcake not subject to IAEA coverage. Such material would also be needed if Pakistan was considering the possibility of surreptitiously irradiating extra uranium fuel in the KANUPP reactor and subsequently reprocessing it, a stratagem that would appear increasingly credible, as discussed below.
From 1978 to 1980, Niger apparently made a number of sales to Libya believing that IAEA coverage was satisfactory because Libya was a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and therefore, presumably, obligated to ensure IAEA monitoring of all of its yellowcake imports. In fact, however, through 1980 Libya had not concluded the detailed safeguards agreement with the Agency required under the treaty, and thus the IAEA monitoring program was not in place during that period. This gap in coverage apparently permitted Libya to transship Niger-produced yellowcake to Pakistan without the Agency's being the wiser. (47) After the ruse was discovered by U.S. officials, Niger is said to have given the United States assurances that in the future, uranium shipments would be allowed only to countries where IAEA monitoring was actually in place. (48)
How much material may have been shipped to Pakistan by this means is not clear. In 1981 Niger's president Seyni Kountche stated that 450 tons of yellowcake had been sold to Libya and 60 to Pakistan directly; it is not known how much of the Libyan material may have been subsequently transferred to Pakistan, (49)
Another difficulty the United States confronted in implementing its program to stem the flow of equipment and technology to Pakistan was the lack of cooperation by some of the key western European nuclear suppliers. According to press accounts, French nuclear firms owned 54 percent of Niger's mining company Somair, which was responsible for the shipments to Libya, suggesting that the exports from Niger could not have been authorized without the knowledge of the French government. (50) More directly, during 1979 and 1980 it appeared that the Swiss government was knowingly permitting exports of sophisticated nuclear technology to Pakistan despite U.S. objections. (51) The Swiss government claimed that none of the exports in question were explicitly prohibited by the Nuclear Suppliers' Guidelines and that, accordingly, it lacked the legal authority to stop the sales. At issue were two items discussed above: the specially designed Swiss high-vacuum valves to be used in Pakistan's enrichment plant to regulate the stream of uranium hexafluoride, and the CORA Engineering custom-made system for converting uranium hexafluoride to a gas at the beginning of the enrichment process and then condensing it into a solid after enrichment had taken place. (52) As a means for pressuring Switzerland into tightening its export control system, the United States withheld approvals for the transfer of Swiss spent fuel, which was accumulating at Swiss nuclear power plants, to reprocessing facilities in France and Great Britain. (53) By November, the Swiss had apparently gained the agreement of several firms to reject new contracts with Pakistan, although existing contracts were to be honored, and by the end of the year the Swiss government had pledged to scrutinize far more closely and possibly to ban any additional exports for the Pakistani enrichment program. (54)
Despite this apparent success in dealing with Switzerland, the United States was confronted during 1980 with additional evidence that Pakistan's clandestine efforts to obtain nuclear technology were succeeding. In September, Pakistan announced it had completed the construction of a nuclear fuel fabrication plant to supply the KANUPP reactor. (55) Canada had ceased supplying fresh fuel for the plant in 1976 when it terminated all nuclear aid to Pakistan because of the latter's refusal to accept safeguards on all of its nuclear activities. The inauguration of the complex fuel fabrication facility almost certainly indicated that Pakistan had
been successful in obtaining significant outside aid. As discussed below, Pakistan's ability to manufacture its own fuel elements for the KANUPP reactor would make it increasingly difficult for the IAEA to safeguard the plant.
Barely three weeks later, the United States suffered what appeared to be yet another setback. According to U.S. intelligence experts, Pakistani technicians had nearly completed construction of the New Labs reprocessing plant. (56) The facility, about ten times smaller than the French-assisted plant at Chashma, was said to be capable of extracting ten to twenty kilograms of plutonium per year, enough for several nuclear weapons. While U.S. intelligence sources believed that the plant might be ready to operate in 1981, as of mid-1984 it appeared not to have been activated. (57)
One important limitation on the use of the secret reprocessing facility at New Labs was that Pakistan did not have access to a source of unsafeguarded, plutonium-bearing spent nuclear fuel. The exclusive source of such material was the safeguarded KANUPP reactor. Nevertheless, one U.S. source said, "I think we can be relatively certain that one way or another, the material they put through the reprocessing plant will come from the KANUPP reactor." (58) Despite U.S. discovery of the New Labs reprocessing facility, Islamabad succeeded in obtaining items needed for it from Belgonucleaire and the French firm, SGN. (59)
In December 1980, it became clear that the United States had not been completely successful even in curbing the flow of American technology for the Pakistani program. Early that month, Canada charged three men with illegally exporting to Pakistan electronic components that had been purchased in the United States. Prior to their arrest, the three had made at least five other shipments of similar electronic parts. (60) In June 1981, it was also revealed that Turkish companies had for over a year circumvented U.S. and European export controls by purchasing and then transshipping millions of dollars' worth of similar components to Pakistan. (61)
Finally, during this period Pakistan was also able to obtain a facility for converting yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride, a critically important installation to produce the feedstock for Pakistan's enrichment plant. The uranium hexafluoride facility had been illegally exported from Germany by the firm CES Kalthof GmbH of Freiburg, according to the West German government. (62) The export order was signed in 1977 and completed in 1980; reportedly the West German firm also assisted in testing the installation, located in Dera Ghazi Khan, after it was completed. (63)
Expanded U.S. Aid Offer.Shortly after taking office in 1981, the Reagan administration began negotiations with Pakistani president Zia for a U.S. economic and military aid program far larger than the one that had been proposed by President Carter. (64) By June, agreement had been reached on a six-year, $12-billion aid plan, including the sale of forty F-16 aircraft, the most advanced ever offered to Pakistan. Although the foremost purpose of the aid package was to demonstrate U.S. commitment to Pakistan as a way of counterbalancing the Soviet presence in neighboring Afghanistan, Under Secretary of State James L. Buckley stated that the military aid package also would advance U.S. non-proliferation policy:
Whatever their [Pakistan's] activities are, whatever the intentions or capabilities, the policies that we have followed in the last couple of years have obviously not slowed down or changed the direction of whatever it is they are doing in developing certain atomic research facilities and capabilities.
We do believe that our best chance to influence the outcome, influence the future direction of what might be Pakistani intentions, is to help remove the very significant sense of insecurity that that nation suffers from today. We believe that if that real insecurity can be removed we will not only have a better chance to make sure that explosives are not detonated but also would be in the best position to use the argument of persuasion that this would not be in Pakistan's best interest. (65)
In urging the aid package, Buckley stated that Pakistan had pledged not to develop nuclear weapons:
I was assured by the ministers, I was assured by the President himself that it is not the intention of the Pakistani Government to develop nuclear weapons. (66)
Despite these assurances, Buckley acknowledged that Pakistan was, in fact, working towards developing a nuclear weapons capability and indicated that the Reagan administration, like its predecessor, was prepared to extend U.S. assistance, notwithstanding these activities:
Senator Glenn. Knowing what we know from our own intelligence sources and those of most other nations around the world that follow these nuclear matters, will the President of the United States be willing to state that it is his opinion that Pakistan is not in the process of developing nuclear weapons?
Mr. Buckley. One has to make the distinction between the nuclear option and nuclear weapons.
Senator Glenn. That is a big distinction, I agree ...
. . .
Senator Glenn. Do you feel the President would now assure us with the proposed arms package that in light of your conversation with General Zia, the President can send us a message and say he feels assured that Pakistan is not developing a nuclear explosives capability?
Mr. Buckley. There is, again, a distinction between developing a capability and utilizing a capability. (67)
In this hearing, however, and in other settings throughout 1981, administration aides made it clear that if Pakistan conducted a nuclear test, U.S. assistance would again be terminated, a restriction Congress firmly embedded in the legislation permitting the aid package to proceed. (68)
Even as Congress was reviewing the proposed aid package, new evidence of Pakistan's intentions emerged. In April, Senator Alan Cranston revealed that on the basis of information received from a number of executive branch sources, Pakistan was constructing a nuclear test site, a horizontal tunnel into a hillside in the Baluchistan mountains some forty miles from the Afghanistan border. Cranston noted that previous concerns about the site raised in August 1979 had waned, but that new construction in recent weeks justified renewed fears over Pakistani intentions. (69)
In June, the Washington Post quoted a State Department cable to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara as stating:
We have strong reason to believe that Pakistan is seeking to develop a nuclear explosives capability ... We also have information that Pakistan is conducting a program for the design and development for the triggering package for nuclear explosive devices. (70)
In late September, reports surfaced that administration officials were investigating the' possibility that Pakistan had secretly removed plutonium-bearing spent fuel from the safeguarded KANUPP reactor. According to sources quoted in the report, a number of "anomalies" and "irregularities" had been detected, including a high rate of failure of surveillance equipment and problems in accounting for spent fuel. (71)
Finally, in October, U.S. customs officials arrested a retired Pakistani army colonel, said to be a close friend of Zia, as he was attempting to smuggle a large shipment of zirconium metal through Kennedy Airport in New York City. (72) Zirconium alloy is used to sheathe the uranium fuel used in the KANUPP reactor, and the material would have been needed to enable Pakistan to continue fabricating fuel elements for the reactor at its fuel fabrication plant in Chashma.
Notwithstanding these revelations, in late 1981 Congress enacted legislation removing the prohibition on economic and military assistance to Pakistan for six years and implementing the $12-billion aid program. However, an amendment tightened existing provisions requiring the termination of assistance in the event Pakistan conducted a nuclear test (or received or transferred nuclear weapons) by removing the President's authority to waive this prohibition. (73)
Possible Diversion. As noted above, in September 1981 U.S. aides were said to be concerned that Pakistan might have diverted spent fuel from the KANUPP plant. In October, IAEA director general Sigvard Eklund advised the Agency's Board of Governors that because Pakistan had acquired the capability to fabricate its own nuclear fuel, the Agency could no longer certify by means of the monitoring arrangements then in place at the facility that diversions at the KANUPP reactor had not occurred. Eklund called on the Pakistani government to permit a substantial upgrading of the IAEA's existing safeguards (74) The IAEA finding was the first such determination in the the Agency's history.
Until the new fuel fabrication plant had begun operation in September 1980, the Agency had possessed complete knowledge of the amount of nuclear fuel available to be used in the KANUPP reactor, since it had all been imported from Canada and inventoried carefully. By adding up the amount of spent fuel at the reactor site and the amount of fresh fuel on hand, and then making allowance for material in use within the reactor (all of which the Agency checked by physical inspection) it had been able to verify that no material had been removed for military ends. With the completion of the Pakistani fuel fabrication plant at the Chashma atomic complex, however-which Pakistan refused to allow the IAEA to monitor-the possibility arose that Pakistan might secretly introduce additional, undeclared fuel elements into the reactor and remove them without advising the Agency. This would give Pakistan a source of plutonium-bearing spent fuel from which the plutonium could then be extracted for weapons in the New Labs reprocessing unit or the Chashma reprocessing plant, once either of these was completed.
Over the next year, negotiations on upgrading safeguards at the KANUPP site continued. In November 1982, Pakistan agreed to allow installation of most of the new equipment sought by the Agency. (75) Nevertheless, as of that date, IAEA safeguards remained insufficient to provide assurance that material was not being diverted, and it was not until March 1983 that the IAEA believed it was again in a position to safeguard the reactor properly. (76)
Thus, it is possible that from September 1980 until early 1983 Pakistan systematically diverted spent fuel from the KANUPP reactor. The reactor is said to have operated only intermittently through September 1982, however, and the Chashma fuel fabrication plant reportedly produced only trivial amounts of fresh reactor fuel. (77) During the entire period in question, moreover, IAEA safeguards, however imperfect, were being applied to the reactor and would have restricted Pakistan's use of some diversion routes. Given these factors, it seems unlikely that Pakistan could have secretly irradiated undeclared fuel in the reactor amounting to more than a fraction of the typical annual throughput of the facility. Since the reactor produces twenty-four kilograms of plutonium annually in its spent fuel under normal operating conditions enough for three to four weapons-it seems improbable that Pakistan could have diverted spent fuel containing enough plutonium for more than one or two devices, if it diverted any material at all. (78)
Threatened Aid Cut for Reprocessing. Since both of Pakistan's reactors are under safeguards, Islamabad cannot produce plutonium-bearing spent fuel that is not subject to IAEA monitoring without violating the
safeguards agreements covering the two plants. Moreover, none of Pakistan's spent fuel that is already under safeguards, or that will be produced under IAEA supervision, may be moved legally to another location unless safeguards are also applied there. (79) This means that if Pakistan began to process spent fuel in either of its unsafeguarded reprocessing plants (New Labs or Chashma), it would immediately be assumed that the material had been illegally produced in, or taken from, one of Pakistan's reactors, and thus that Pakistan had violated the IAEA regime. Although Pakistan may have already secretly produced spent fuel at KANUPP, no reprocessing is known to have taken place at either the New Labs or Chashma plants.
Apparently. using a similar analysis of safeguards coverage in Pakistan, the Reagan administration had, by April 1982, significantly tightened the ground rules covering provision of U.S. aid, advising Pakistan that if it engaged in reprocessing, it would "seriously disturbing emerging U.S.-Pakistani ties and, by implication, jeopardize continued U.S. assistance. (80) Thus, the administration had declared that an action short of a nuclear test could trigger an aid cut-off, a tougher stance than that embodied in the Foreign Assistance Act. If Washington's threat succeeds in forestalling reprocessing, Pakistan would remain many time-consuming steps away from obtaining plutonium based nuclear weapons. This would be a significant advance in reducing the proliferation risks posed by the Pakistani nuclear program.
A major non-proliferation initiative of the Reagan administration has been to persuade other nuclear suppliers to refrain from entering into major new supply commitments with countries refusing full-scope safeguards. (82) Through mid-1983, it appeared uncertain whether France and West Germany, which had long opposed such an export condition, would follow the U.S. lead. Indeed, during a visit to Islamabad in March 1983, French foreign minister Claude Cheysson declared that France was prepared to sell Pakistan a large nuclear power reactor and explicitly stated that he did not agree with the United States' position that such sales should be withheld from nations having unsafeguarded facilities. (83)
Although Pakistan had agreed that the Chashma reactor would itself be safeguarded, the effect of a French sale would have been to re-legitimize nuclear trade with Pakistan and to remove one of the few sanctions imposed against it-denial of nuclear trade-for its continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. Moreover, developing Pakistan's nuclear infrastructure even through a peaceful project would strengthen Pakistan's ability to pursue its military nuclear program through the training of skilled technicians, construction crews, and nuclear engineers.
Cheysson's statement notwithstanding, when the deadline for submission of bids on the Chashma facility came on July 31, 1983, no tenders had been submitted. (84) Pakistan thereafter postponed the final date for submitting bids until December 31, 1983. Again no bids were tendered, nor had any been through June 1984. (85)
The total boycott of the Chashma project by all the nuclear supplier nations, a significant economic and symbolic sanction, may represent an important milestone in U.S. efforts to establish a common front in curbing the spread of nuclear arms. During the 1970s, competition for nuclear sales had been an insurmountable obstacle to establishing a unified nuclear embargo against Argentina and Brazil as a means of pressuring them to adopt full-scope safeguards. Perhaps because Pakistan's interest in nuclear weapons appears considerably more clear-cut than that of Argentina or Brazil, the nuclear suppliers were prepared to set aside their commercial interests in order to express their disapproval of Pakistan's nuclear ambitions. Another, less disinterested motive may have been that Pakistan's ability to pay for the facility was uncertain without massive credits, which none of the potential suppliers was prepared to offer. (86) Whatever the reason, the solid front presented by the nuclear suppliers appears to have been a quiet victory for Reagan administration diplomacy. (87)
Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons Capability.
In July 1984, a press report quoted an unnamed senior Reagan administration official as stating that Pakistan had produced weapons grade uranium at its Kahuta enrichment plant, thereby surmounting the final obstacle on its twelve-year quest for nuclear arms. (88) The conclusion was said to be based on documents obtained by U.S. authorities and radiation samples from the Kahuta area, although the latter were said not to be definitive. Other administration sources, however, disputed the press account, believing Pakistan had not made this breakthrough. Nonetheless, separate revelations of Pakistan's nuclear activities over the preceding year mean that Pakistan must now be considered on the verge of possessing the capability to produce nuclear weapons.
Enrichment Success Announced; Linked to Weapons. A strong indication that Pakistan might shortly produce highly enriched uranium came in February 1984, when Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan, head of Pakistan's uranium enrichment program, announced during an interview that "by the grace of God, Pakistan is now among the few countries in the world that can efficiently enrich uranium" and had "destroyed the monopoly forever" that the advanced nations had enjoyed in this field. (89) In an unusually explicit statement, linking this achievement to Pakistan's ability to manufacture nuclear weapons, Khan replied to the question "Can Pakistan make an atomic bomb?" as follows:
In brief, Pakistan has a proficient and patriotic team capable of performing the most difficult tasks. Forty years ago no one was familiar with the secrets of the atom bomb and education was not so widespread, but American scientists did the job. Today, 40 years later, we have ended their monopoly in this most difficult field of the enrichment of uranium in only 10 years. This job is undoubtedly not beyond our reach. India achieved this 10 years ago, although other countries definitely assisted it. We have the capacity to complete such a task. This is a political decision in which my colleagues and I have no concern except for the sake of the country's safety and security. Our honorable president had to make such a momentous decision and we were entrusted with this duty. We, my friends and 1, will stake our lives but we will not disappoint the country and the nation, by the grace of God. In short, I wish to say that if India could accomplish such a feat 10 years ago, we are not so abnormal or mentally retarded that we cannot do this, and God willing, we will do it better as we have proved in the field of uranium enrichment. (90)
The following day, in a second interview, Khan again raised the issue of nuclear weapons, reportedly stating that an explosion was not necessary to gain a nuclear capability. If all the tests needed were done separately, he reportedly stated, they would amount to a successful nuclear explosion. (91)
In a press conference two weeks later, President Zia sought to temper the impression created by Khan's remarks. Zia stated, "Pakistan has acquired very modest research and development capability of uranium enrichment very successfully . . . for peaceful purposes." (92)
Khan's statements appeared to be part of a larger effort by the Zia government to publicize Pakistan's achievement in the enrichment field and to make Khan, who had stolen the plans for the Kahuta plant from the Netherlands in 1975 and subsequently supervised construction of the facility, into something of a national hero. Indeed, in mid-January the Kahuta plant was named the Abdul Qadir Khan Atomic Research Center in his honor. (93)
Khan's and Zia's comments were apparently intended to signify that Pakistan's efforts to master the process of enriching uranium had crossed an important threshold, although precisely how much progress had been made was not specified. In a June 1984 speech, however, Senator Alan Cranston indicated that Pakistan had completed construction of 1,000 centrifuge units at Kahuta -enough to produce fifteen kilograms of highly enriched uranium annually (possibly enough for one well-designed weapon)- and that it "is now enriching uranium." Cranston did not state the level of enrichment or the quantities involved. (94) If, as reported, Pakistan has produced highly enriched uranium, how much of this material it may possess had not been disclosed as of late July.
Chinese Assistance. Pakistan's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons have gone well beyond its production of highly enriched uranium. U.S. officials believe it has been actively working on nuclear weapons design problems and on the high-explosives triggering mechanism for atomic weapons. (95) Indeed, in July 1984, three Pakistanis were indicted in Houston, Texas, for attempting to ship electronic parts to Pakistan that are used in such mechanisms. (96)
The People's Republic of China is said to have helped Pakistan both in obtaining nuclear weapons material and in designing nuclear arms. Reports of such aid first surfaced in 1982 when James Malone, assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs, stated that the United States was concerned about China's "relationship with Pakistan, which we're looking into now." Malone is reported to have said, further, that China had apparently supplied Pakistan with material "other than fuel-related items," which he declined to specify. (97) A month later, a separate press account stated that government officials were "disturbed by intelligence reports suggesting that China had helped Pakistan in trying to develop a capacity to enrich uranium for weapon use. " (98) The implication was that China had given Pakistan technical information on the enrichment process.
In early 1983, a still more troubling report surfaced that China had provided Pakistan with sensitive information concerning the design of nuclear weapons themselves. (99) U.S. officials were quoted as stating that China may have confirmed for Pakistani technicians that a particular nuclear weapon design would work. A June 1984 report, however, indicated that China had actually given Pakistan the design for the weapon used in China's fourth nuclear test, a low-yield uranium device detonated in 1966. (100) If either report were true, it would mean that Pakistan could have confidence in its nuclear weapons without conducting a test, thus enabling it to avoid the termination of U.S. assistance. Indeed, this may have been the basis for Abdul Qadir Khan's statement in February 1984 that Pakistan could achieve a nuclear capability without a test. China denied that it had validated a Pakistani nuclear weapon design but has not replied to the other allegations. (101) The possibility that China had aided the Pakistan' nuclear weapons program caused the United States to delay talks with Peking in late 1982 on an agreement for cooperation in the fields of nuclear energy and research. By early 1984, however, U.S. concerns had apparently been put to rest by Chinese pledges not to aid other nations in acquiring nuclear arms. During President Reagan's trip to Peking in April, a U.S.Chinese nuclear trade pact was initialed. (102)
In mid-June, however, the administration quietly announced it was not prepared to sign the accord. Sources said the administration wanted additional assurances concerning Peking's non-proliferation policies. (103) Whether information on new Chinese aid to Pakistan's nuclear program was the cause for this abrupt reversal or whether the administration had decided that the assurances it had received from China were insufficient in light of Peking's past conduct was not revealed. In either case, further Chinese aid for the Pakistani nuclear weapons program appeared to remain a serious possibility.
U.S. Reaction. As of late July 1984, it was not yet clear how the Reagan administration and the Congress would respond to the news of Pakistan's possible possession of nuclear weapons material.
Two votes in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier in 1984, however, make clear that the administration and a number of key senators, concerned over Soviet expansion in the region, were prepared to continue economic and military aid to Pakistan even though they recognized it was steadily progressing toward acquiring nuclear arms.
On March 28, Senators John Glenn and Alan Cranston proposed an amendment to. the 1984-85 foreign assistance authorization bill providing that U.S. aid to Pakistan would be terminated unless the President certified that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear explosive device and was not acquiring technology, equipment, or material for manufacturing or detonating one. The Foreign Relations Committee passed the amendment unanimously.
Less than a week later, the Reagan administration notified committee members that it would be unable to make the certifications required by the amendment for the upcoming fiscal year and that, accordingly, U.S. aid to Pakistan (a six-year program begun in 1981 amounting to $3.2 billion) would have to be terminated on October 1 if the amendment were enacted. The committee then reopened consideration of the measure, and by a vote of eight to seven substituted an administration-backed alternative that no longer required the President to certify that Pakistan was not acquiring nuclear weapons, but only that Pakistan did not yet possess an actual nuclear explosive device. (104)
The administration's inability to make the certification required by the first version makes plain that it believed Pakistan continued to be working actively to develop nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, in order to provide a counter to the Soviet presence in Afghanistan, the administration and a majority of the committee fought to continue U.S. military and economic support for Pakistan. Included in the U.S. aid package, it may be noted, are forty F-16 fighter-bombers, among the most advanced in the U.S. arsenal, which are recognized, even by Reagan administration officials, to be the probable delivery vehicle for Pakistani atomic weapons. (105) As of late July 1984, twelve of the forty F-16's promised had been received by Pakistan.
Whether the new revelations of Pakistan's possible nuclear capabilities will lead to a reduction of U.S. aid or other sanctions remains to be seen. The U.S. response is likely to have an impact well beyond Pakistan, however, since other emerging nuclear states will 'I see in it an indication of the costs they might incur for' pursuing nuclear arms.
A Pakistani nuclear test, however, does not seem likely for the moment. As noted earlier, in light of reported Chinese aid and Pakistan's years of weapons design work, a test may not be necessary for Pakistan to have confidence that its nuclear arms will work. Moreover, while the United States has tolerated Pakistan's incremental progress toward the nuclear threshold, the Reagan administration has stated that a test would jeopardize relations with Washington; in addition, under current law, it would mean the termination of U.S. aid. New Delhi, too may be prepared to tolerate Pakistan's development of a de facto nuclear weapons capability without revitalizing India's nuclear explosives program. A Pakistani test, however, would be a direct challenge to India's current nuclear superiority and would almost certainly result in further Indian nuclear detonations or other steps to manufacture and deploy nuclear arms.
Similarly, Pakistani leaders may calculate that a nuclear test would unduly antagonize the Soviet Union. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, General Zia's statements concerning Pakistan's nuclear potential are said to have become considerably more cautious, apparently out of fear of provoking a Soviet response. (107)
These various considerations also suggest that Pakistan will refrain from declaring it possesses nuclear arms. A declaration would seem unnecessary since Pakistan may soon be credited with possessing nuclear weapons even without an announcement. At the same time, a declaration could be viewed as a provocation and carry many of the adverse consequences of a test.
Fears of foreign reaction may also weigh against Pakistan's starting up its New Labs reprocessing plant. The facility, already well advanced in 1980 is now probably near completion. Indeed, in his June 21 speech, Senator Cranston stated that reprocessing had already taken place at the installation, an allegation subsequently denied by U.S. officials. (108) Since Pakistan lacks a source of unsafeguarded spent fuel, however, operation of either the New Labs reprocessing plant (or the Chashma plant should it ever be completed) would, as explained earlier, constitute a violation of IAEA safeguards. This would be an extremely serious breach of non-proliferation norms, which the Reagan administration has advised Pakistan might trigger a termination of U.S. aid, much the same as a nuclear test, and which might also be considered highly provocative by India and the Soviet Union. (In view of the considerable intelligence resources that America has apparently devoted to monitoring the Pakistani nuclear program, there is a fair likelihood that Pakistani use of either reprocessing plant in this fashion would be discovered.) Given the alternative of producing highly enriched uranium for weapons at Kahuta, which has raised fewer political difficulties since it would not entail violations of IAEA safeguards, it seems unlikely that Pakistan will activate the New Labs facility in the near term, even if it is completed.
The foregoing analysis suggests that the future course of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program will be influenced importantly by the response of the international community and especially of the United States, India, and the Soviet Union, to Pakistan's emerging nuclear capability. With the risk of a nuclear arms race in South Asia sharply increasing, and with other nations at or near the nuclear weapons threshold undoubtedly watching closely as they assess the costs and benefits of pursuing their own nuclear weapons programs, developments in the months ahead will have far-reaching implications for the future spread of nuclear weapons around the globe.
Early Developments. From the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, Iraq's modest nuclear research program was typical of developing nations and had little significance for weapons. The program centered on the training abroad in nuclear science and technology (I1) of a small number of Iraqi students and the operation of a two-megawatt Soviet-supplied research reactor, the IRT2000, which was completed in 1968 at the Thwaitha Atomic Center. (I2) Iraq ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1969.
Cooperation Agreement with France. In 1974, however, Iraq began a major expansion of its nuclear activities by concluding a nuclear cooperation agreement with France. (I3) Under the agreement, France was to supply Baghdad with a large reactor and help build the Tuwaitha center into a -nuclear university" capable of training some six hundred scientists and technicians. In return, Iraq reportedly promised to buy French arms and to assure France a long-term supply of oil. (I4)
Concern that Iraq had development of a nuclear weapons capability in mind when it entered into this accord first arose during the following year, when Iraq tried to purchase a five-hundred-megawatt natural-uranium/gas-graphite power reactor under the French agreement. (I5) This reactor type was no longer considered an up-to-date model for generating electricity and had been supplanted in France by light-water reactors some years before. It was, however, particularly efficient in producing large quantities of plutonium; indeed, the natural-uranium/gas-graphite model still furnished plutonium for the French nuclear weapons program. (I6) France rejected Iraq's proposal principally because it no longer possessed the manufacturing capability for natural- uranium/gas-graphite reactors. (I7)
Instead, France offered Iraq a duplicate of a large, forty-megawatt materials-testing reactor and an associated eight- hundred-kilowatt mock-up of that reactor-both of which France operated at its Saclay Research Institute-an offer Iraq accepted. (I8) (Iraq named the reactors Tammuz I and II, respectively, but they were known to the French as Osirak and Isis.)
This alternative posed its own proliferation dangers, and within months after the signing of the August 1976 sales contract for the plants, Israel, the United States, and several European governments protested to France. (I9) They were alarmed that the reactors were to be fueled with highly enriched uranium that could be directly used for nuclear weapons. France had offered to provide Iraq with seventy-two kilograms initially, enough to fuel the reactor for a year - or to produce several nuclear bombs. (I10) If Iraq elected to disregard the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards covering the material and had prepared the necessary non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons in advance, the highly enriched material could give it a small nuclear arsenal in a matter of weeks. (I11)
A second concern, which would become more important in subsequent years, was that Osirak, with a rating of forty megawatts, would give Iraq the ability to produce substantial quantities of plutonium. If natural (unenriched) uranium "targets" were placed in and around Osirak's highly enriched uranium core and irradiated, part of the natural uranium would be transmuted into plutonium. In theory, the Osirak reactor could produce approximately ten kilograms of plutoniurn per year in this manner, enough for possibly two nuclear weapons. (I12) If Iraq were to acquire a reprocessing capability to extract the plutonium from the untransmuted uranium and other residues in the irradiated targets, it could obtain a stockpile of plutonium that, like its stockpile of new highly enriched uranium fuel, would give it the capability to assemble nuclear weapons quickly. Again, however, Iraq would have to violate IAEA safeguards openly to do this, unless it attempted to irradiate the targets and reprocess them clandestinely, a scenario that became increasingly implausible as discussed below.
Suspicions that Iraq had purchased Osirak for the purpose of obtaining nuclear weapons material were underscored by the fact that the forty-megawatt reactor was unusually large. (I13) Typically, developing countries have acquired one- to-five-megawatt research reactors that use far smaller quantities of highly enriched uranium fuel and are incapable of producing plutonium in significant amounts. (I14) Moreover, Iraq's decision to buy Osirak -a reactor that would not produce electricity - as a substitute for the natural-uranium/gas-graphite power reactor it had originally requested was hard to explain unless it was assumed that in both cases Iraq's underlying objective was to develop a nuclear explosives capability.
In 1978, after repeated protests by the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and a number of other governments (I15) against the proposed sale of the seventy-two kilograms of weapons-grade uranium, France attempted to persuade Iraq to accept an alternative fuel known as caramel. (I16) With an enrichment level of only 7 percent, caramel would have been unusable for nuclear weapons. Although the new fuel had apparently been tested in the French reactor at Saclay on which Osirak was modeled, Iraq insisted on delivery of the weapons-grade fuel, claiming that the reliability of caramel had not been proven. (I17) Iraq's insistence on obtaining weapons-grade material, when the caramel fuel would probably have sufficed for most of its legitimate research activities, has been taken as further evidence that the Osirak project veiled a nuclear weapons program.
France ultimately gave in to Iraqi demands, announcing its decision in March 1980. In the negotiations, however, Iraq accepted three important additional safeguards to prevent any misuse of Osirak and its fuel. First, France would not supply all seventy-two kilograms of fresh highly enriched uranium a once, but would transfer it in stages, as it was needed, so that no more than twenty-four kilograms (enough to load Osirak and reload it once) would be in Iraq at any time. Spent fuel would be returned promptly to France. (I18) Although twenty-four kilograms would easily be enough for one nuclear device, half of the material would normally be in use in Osirak and highly radioactive, making it unsuitable for weapons without extensive processing.
Second, Iraq agreed to pre-irradiate all fresh highly enriched uranium fuel, when received, in the small Isis reactor. (I19) While not precluding use of the material for nuclear arms, the pre-irradiation would make it difficult to move and work with the fuel without special precautions and radiological shielding to protect workers. Iraq received the first (and only) shipment, 12.5 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, in July 1980.
The third safeguard required French technicians to remain at Osirak and participate in research activities there through 1989. In principle, these technicians would help ensure both that the reactor's highly enriched uranium fuel was not diverted clandestinely and that significant amounts of unenriched uranium were not secretly introduced into the core to produce plutonium. (I20)
Although the efforts of the United States, Israel, and other concerned nations failed to reverse France's decision to provide highly enriched uranium to Iraq, these safeguards did significantly reduce the proliferation threat posed by the transfer.
Assistance from Italy. Paralleling its dealings with France in 1976, Iraq purchased from Italy five laboratories for the Tuwaitha center, including three hot cells, lead-shielded rooms with remote-handling equipment for examining and processing radioactive materials. (I21) U.S. officials believed that if Iraq produced plutonium by irradiating unenriched uranium targets in Osirak, the hot cells could separate enough plutonium for approximately one nuclear device per year. (I22) As in the case of the apparently oversized Osirak reactor, the scale of the hot cells, officials believed, far exceeded the needs of a civilian nuclear program, raising concerns that the hot cells, too, had been acquired to aid an Iraqi nuclear weapons effort.
Apart from the hot cells, the Italian nuclear laboratories provided Iraq with the capability to purify processed uranium, or yellowcake, and fabricate it into forms that could be inserted into the Osirak reactor. Such facilities could legitimately be used to fabricate nuclear fuel, but not for the type of reactors that Iraq possessed, suggesting that the fuel fabrication laboratory had also been acquired to help Iraq produce plutonium. (I23)
Between 1978 and 1980, the United States worked intensively to persuade the Italian government to block the sale, but without success. (I24) Italy's rebuff to the U.S. protest was based on factors similar to those that led France to overrule foreign. objections to its export of highly enriched uranium. Italy depended upon Iraq for nearly one third of its oil and had apparently agreed to provide nuclear assistance in return for assurances of a long-term oil supply. Moreover, it too was seeking to close an arms sale with Iraq (for eleven naval vessels worth $2.8 billion). Reneging on its promised nuclear transfer could have jeopardized both those arrangements. (I25)
During 1980 and 1981, numerous Iraqi technicians reportedly studied reprocessing in Italy, and Iraq is said to have entered into negotiations with Italy for the purchase of a small-scale reprocessing plant. (I26) Like Iraq's purchase of the hot cells, neither the training nor the acquisition of a larger reprocessing capability was in keeping with Iraq's limited civilian nuclear research needs.
Finally, it has also been reported that by the time of the June 7, 1981, Israeli raid, Iraq was trying to purchase a natural-uranium/heavy-water reactor from Italy that could generate in its spent fuel quantities of plutonium many times greater than Osirak could produce. (I27) Used in conjunction with the small reprocessing facility then being pursued, the reactor would have enabled Iraq to produce plutonium for at least several weapons annually.
Iraq's Uranium Purchases. In concert with acquisition of the outsized Osirak reactor with its highly enriched uranium fuel and the unusually elaborate Italian nuclear laboratories, from 1979 through 1981 Iraq raised further suspicion by arranging a series of uranium purchases.
In January 1980, for example, after seven months of negotiations Brazil agreed to supply Iraq with a wide range of nuclear assistance, including large quantities of processed uranium ore (yellowcake). (I28) Two months later, Iraq purchased 138 tons of yellowcake from Portugal, which was delivered in April of the following year. And in May 1981, it bought one hundred tons of the material from Niger. (I29)
These purchases, which were duly reported to the IAEA pursuant to Iraq's Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations, alarmed IAEA and Western officials because the amounts of uranium involved greatly exceeded the possible needs of Iraq's research reactors, and even if it were assumed that Iraq intended to build a nuclear power reactor in the future, stockpiling uranium ten to fifteen years ahead of time was highly unusual. (I30) On the other hand, if Iraq were seeking to produce plutonium in Osirak by irradiating uranium target specimens, the yellowcake was the missing link that made this alternative feasible. (I31)
Two additional transactions during 1980 involving depleted uranium lent further credence to these concerns: Iraq's purchase from Italy of six tons of this material (along with four tons of yellowcake) and its attempted purchase of fabricated depleted uranium fuel pins from West Germany. (I32) Depleted uranium is not useful as a nuclear fuel and could not have powered any Iraqi reactor, current or future. But depleted uranium, like natural uranium, can be irradiated to produce plutonium.
Moreover, the depleted uranium deals were at least partly clandestine and appear to have involved subterfuge, further suggesting that they were not part of Iraq's legitimate nuclear research program. In the first transaction, an Italian firm sold ten tons of depleted and natural uranium to Iraq, which it had purchased from a West German supplier, NUKEM. In buying the material, however, the Italian firm had reportedly indicated it was intended to be used in Italy, presumably because West Germany might not have permitted export of the material if it had known it was destined for Iraq. (I33)
In the second transaction, Iraq attempted to obtain fabricated depleted uranium fuel pins directly from NUKEM. Iraq reportedly claimed the pins were being purchased for use in a yet-to-be-built training reactor. A more likely reason in the eyes of some experts, particularly since Iraq is not known to have had such a training reactor on order, was that the pins were intended to be inserted into Osirak and that Iraq was seeking to avoid the necessity of fabricating the pins itself. (I34) NUKEM tried to subcontract portions of the job to Canadian and American firms reportedly without disclosing the ultimate destination of the finished product. When U.S. and Canadian regulatory officials looked into the matter, they discovered this, and the contract went no further. (I35)
The unusual physical properties of depleted uranium and the clandestine aspects of Iraq's efforts to obtain this material are particularly strong indicators that Iraq was moving toward the undeclared acquisition of nuclear weapons material.
Statements of Intent. In addition to the mounting circumstantial evidence that Iraq was seeking to use its civilian nuclear program for military ends, Baghdad's belligerent foreign policy, support for radical and terrorist organizations, and intense hostility toward Israel contributed to fears that Iraq might be seeking to develop nuclear arms to advance its radical objectives and enhance its status in the Arab world. This view is supported by several official statements, by Iraqi spokesmen indicating Baghdad's support for the development of nuclear arms by Arab nations in general or by Iraq itself.
Most telling is a 1975 statement by Saddam Hussein, then a member of the Revolutionary Command Council. In an interview with a Beirut magazine, he declared his nation's expanding nuclear program was "the first Arab attempt at nuclear arming. " (I36)
In 1977, after the conclusion of the nuclear contracts with France and Italy, Naim Haddad, also a member of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council, reportedly stated at a meeting of the Arab League, "The Arabs must get an atom bomb. The Arab countries should possess whatever is necessary to defend themselves." (I37) Haddad's unqualified enthusiasm for nuclear weapons at a time, when Iraq was building a large nuclear program that would provide it with virtually all of the necessary components caused considerable concern in Israel and other countries.
Three years later, in July 1980, the London Times quoted Saddam Hussein, by now Iraq's president, as saying, "We have no program concerning the manufacture of the atomic bomb.` The article went on to state, however, that:
President Husain [sic] implied several times that Arab nations would be able to use atomic weapons, adding-after his denial of any intention to make a bomb-that "whoever wants to be our enemy can expect that enemy to be totally different in the very near future." Circumspect though this phrase may appear, it is no secret that Iraq's nuclear reactor is expected to be commissioned in five months. (I39)
While not a direct contradiction of his disavowal of nuclear weapons, Hussein's statements raised serious doubts as to its credibility.
Finally, on October 4, 1980, shortly after an Iranian aircraft attacked the Osirak facility, an editorial in the Iraqi government-controlled newspaper Al-Jumhuriyah stated:
We ask Khomeini and his gang: Who will benefit from hitting the nuclear reactor in Iraq-Iran or the Zionist entity? The nuclear reactor cannot be a threat to Iran because Iraq looks upon the Iranian people as brothers. And if it were not for Khomeini's bloodthirsty bunch and its bitter arrogance and hatred, then there would not have been a war between Iraq and Iran. Instead, there would have been peace, friendship, and cooperation in the shadow of true Islam ....
The Zionist entity is the one that fears the Iraqi nuclear reactor. The entity has tried so hard to undermine Iraqi efforts to obtain nuclear technology. Further, that entity has warned that it will not stand with its hands tied behind its back in that regard, but rather it will try to destroy the Iraqi nuclear reactor by any means available to it, especially since the reactor constitutes a grave danger for "Israel".
That is what Begin and Zionist enemy circles have said. Those who tried to carry out the act are Khomeini, Bani-Sadr, and the suspicious defense minister Fakuri. (I40)
Although the phrasing of the editorial is ambiguous - it may simply have been restating supposed Israeli views and fears-the likeliest interpretation is that the statement was asserting that Osirak in fact posed a danger to that country. Thus the statement appears to be an acknowledgment that Baghdad intended to use Osirak in the development of nuclear arms.
Against the foregoing, sometimes ambiguous statements, must be balanced Iraqi officials' repeated assurances to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations, and similar bodies expressly denying this intent, as well as Iraq's early ratification of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. (I41)
Efforts to Sabotage Iraq's Nuclear Program. Despite diplomatic interventions by the United States, Israel, and others, Iraq thus succeeded in acquiring nuclear technology, equipment, and materials that would give it access to highly enriched uranium and, potentially plutonium. Beginning in April 1979, however, its program became the target of a series of bombings and assassinations that dealt it several setbacks.
In April 1979, the core structures for Osirak and the smaller Isis reactor were destroyed by a bomb planted in a warehouse in Seine-sur-Mer, France, where the equipment was awaiting shipment to Iraq. (I42) The previously unknown French Ecological Group claimed responsibility, although French officials speculated that Israeli agents had perpetrated the act. Others blamed the French government, charging that it was unhappy with the reactor sale but unwilling to renege openly on the contract. The issue was never resolved. In any event, France rebuilt the reactor cores and delivered them about six months later. (I43)
This incident was followed in June 1980 by the murder of Dr. Yahya el-Meshad, an Egyptian nuclear scientist working for the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission. At the time of the murder, France was preparing to ship the first 12.5 kilograms of highly enriched uranium fuel for Osirak. (I44) Meshad, who was slain in his Paris hotel room, was in France to inspect the fuel prior to shipment. As in the case of the Seine-sur-Mer bombing, the perpetrator was not found, and suspicions focused on Israeli agents.
Two months later, a series of bombings occurred at the residences or offices of several officials of Iraq's key nuclear suppliers: SNIA-Techint, the Italian company supplying the hot cells to Iraq; its partner in the sale, Ansaldo Mercanico Nucleare; and Techniatome, the French government-owned subsidiary supplying the Osirak reactor. In addition, officials and workers in these and several other French and Italian companies received threatening letters from the Committee to Safeguard the Islamic Revolution, warning them to stop their work on Iraq's nuclear program. (I45) Again, the parties actually responsible were never identified; this time speculation centered on Israel and Iran. The French and Italian firms involved went ahead with their nuclear exports despite the threats.
Iraq's nuclear program suffered a more serious setback on September 30, 1980 - eight days after Iraq launched the war against Iran-when two Iranian Phantom jets attacked the Osirak reactor, then still under construction. Although the attack caused only modest damage to the reactor's dome and cooling system, the incident postponed the plant's planned startup from December 1980 to mid-1981 or later. (I46)
The Gulf War also impaired international monitoring of the Iraqi nuclear program. Of some four hundred French technicians working at the Osirak site, all but seventy returned to Europe after Iraq declared war on Iran; and the group shrank to seven or so after the Iranian raid. (I47) Moreover, these workers were no longer on duty full time. Although they could still verify that the 12.5 kilograms of French highly enriched uranium were properly stored, they could not maintain constant surveillance over the center. Second, in November 1980, Iraq advised the IAEA to postpone a planned safeguards inspection of the facility and fuel in view of the wartime conditions. (I48) IAEA inspections did not resume until January 18, 1981, some six and a half months after the previous inspection; however, all of the highly enriched uranium supplied by France was duly accounted for. (I49)
Although these lapses in surveillance by the French technicians and the IAEA were temporary and did not result in any misuse of Iraq's nuclear material, they revealed the potential fragility of the measures intended to help ensure that Iraq's nuclear program would remain peaceful. In effect, the episode demonstrated that by declaring a national crisis, Iraq might be able to suspend international observation of its nuclear program for months at a time, if not longer.
Israel's plans for its June 1981 bombing reportedly began in earnest in January or February 1980 and accelerated during the summer after Israeli diplomatic efforts failed to persuade France and Italy to curtail their nuclear assistance to Baghdad. (I50) Israel apparently scheduled its attack on Osirak for September--only to be forestalled by Iran's raid against the facility late that month. When it became clear that the damage from that raid was limited and that, with the return of the French workers in the early months of 1981, Osirak would be ready to start up later that year, Israel destroyed the reactor on June 7. (I51)
Assessment of the Iraqi Program Prior to the Israeli Raid. Israel's surprise attack generated an inquiry into Iraq's nuclear capabilities. (I52) As suggested above, considerable circumstantial evidence indicates that Iraq was seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability through use of its expanded civilian nuclear program. To this must be added a statement by Iraqi president Saddam Hussein; in a speech to his cabinet on June 24, 1981, some two weeks after the Israeli raid, he called upon all peaceloving nations to, "assist the Arabs in one way or another to obtain the nuclear bomb in order to confront Israel's existing bombs." (I53) While not necessarily reflecting his thinking before the raid, Hussein's June 24 statement is consistent with several previous official Iraqi pronouncements and suggests that Iraq had long harbored the goal of bending its nuclear program to develop nuclear arms.
Two routes were theoretically available to Iraq for acquiring the necessary nuclear material for weapons. It could either use Osirak's highly enriched uranium fuel, or it could produce plutonium in the reactor and subsequently extract the material in the Italian hot cells.
With respect to the highly enriched uranium route, there is little dispute that the IAEA safeguards covering the reactor were technically capable of detecting efforts to remove small quantities of Osirak's fuel surreptitiously. In addition, Iraq would have had to deceive the French technicians working with the reactor. This strategy, moreover, would have taken considerable time, and if Iraq were found out before it had obtained the quantity necessary for a single weapon, France would certainly have terminated further supplies, making it impossible for Iraq to accumulate the quantity of highly enriched uranium it needed. (I54)
On the other hand, once France had supplied the fresh highly enriched uranium fuel, Iraq might have considered abrogating IAEA safeguards and seizing all of the material abruptly, perhaps after restricting French and IAEA access to the reactor (as it did during the early stages of the Iran-Iraq war) to delay detection for a number of months. Detection would be certain ultimately, however, and in response, France would have cut off further fuel shipments. At best, Iraq would by then have one or conceivably two untested nuclear weapons-an uncertain long-term deterrent and an inviting target for pre-emptive attack by its adversaries.
Secretly acquiring enough plutonium for nuclear weapons would have been even more difficult. To use Osirak to produce the maximum eight to sixteen kilograms of plutonium per year while avoiding French or IAEA detection appears to have been virtually impossible, since among other steps, it would have necessitated either major structural modifications of the reactor's easily observed interior or the insertion of hundreds of uranium targets and rearrangement of scores of fuel elements-all of which would be most difficult to conceal. (I55) Moreover, using the reactor in this fashion would have led to unusually high fuel consumption, which would undoubtedly have prompted French and IAEA inquiries and led to restrictions on further fuel shipments.
Iraq might have succeeded in irradiating smaller quantities of uranium in the reactor without detection or might have used the reactor's neutron-beam chamber for this purpose. The neutron beam chamber is a channel beneath the reactor intended for irradiation of target specimens-which the IAEA might not have routinely inspected.
These strategies, however, like the larger-scale secret plutonium production option, would have necessitated secret fabrication of the uranium targets and their subsequent reprocessing. Once the Italian laboratories were placed under IAEA inspection, detection of these activities would have been highly likely. (I56)
It is also possible that Iraq might have openly produced small amounts of plutonium over a number of years as part of its safeguarded nuclear research program. The Non-Proliferation Treaty does not prohibit this activity, provided it is subject to Agency inspections. Though France might have objected initially, it might eventually have gone along, as it did in supplying Osirak's highly enriched uranium fuel, provided the plutonium production did not have obvious earmarks of an attempt to develop nuclear arms. Apart from the weapons material this would have given Iraq, it also would have provided valuable training and experience that Iraq could have later used if its negotiations with Italy for a pilot-scale reprocessing plant had been successful.
Taken together, the French controls and IAEA safeguards would have made it very difficult for Iraq to
obtain nuclear weapons material from Osirak in any quantity. Nonetheless, there is considerable evidence that such an illicit goal was a central objective of the Iraqi nuclear program.
These two conclusions are not as incompatible as they may at first appear. In the mid-1970s Iraq may have anticipated that by using Osirak and the Italian hot cells, it could obtain substantial quantities of weapons-usable material, only to find that its plans were unexpectedly thwarted by new French non-proliferation controls. Under its original game plan, it would have had at least three bombs' worth of highly enriched uranium on hand at all times and, given France's permissive attitude in the mid-1970s, it might have expected that as long as IAEA safeguards were applied it could openly produce and separate one bomb's worth of plutonium annually. If the non-nuclear components for atomic weapons were assembled in advance, this would have provided Baghdad with a ready nuclear weapons option that it could have exercised quickly by abrogating IAEA safeguards or withdrawing from the Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
As France imposed new restrictions on Osirak and its fuel, Iraq appears to have revised its plans and integrated the facility into a longer-term strategy for accumulating nuclear weapons material. Indeed, in the immediate aftermath of the Israeli raid, the United States appears to have seen Osirak, as part of such a longer-range plan. On June 9, 1981, for example, State Department spokesman Dean Fischer stated, 'We have no evidence that Iraq has violated its commitments under the [Non-Proliferation] Treaty." He went on to say, however, that the United States was concerned that the Iraqi nuclear program could "pose a threat at some point in the future." (I57) A senior Senate staff expert has outlined the following scenario suggesting how Iraq might have used its civilian nuclear program (assuming Osirak had remained available) to aid its quest for nuclear weapons:
While fully complying with its NPT and bilateral obligations, Iraq gains essential hands-on experience in reactor operation and reprocessing through use of Osirak and the Italian-supplied hot cells, while training numerous specialists at home and abroad. Gradually, over the next two to four years enough plutonium is separated openly for one or more nuclear weapons. Enough highly enriched uranium, in the form of Osirak fuel, for another weapon is also available from time to time. Secretly, Iraq also begins testing and manufacturing the non-nuclear components for atomic weapons. From this point on, Iraq could quickly assemble actual weapons in a matter of weeks without violating the NPT until the moment of assembly. The size of Iraq's potential nuclear arsenal would now be of the same order of magnitude as that of the United States at the time of the Hiroshima bombing.
Simultaneously, and still fully adhering to its non-proliferation commitments, Iraq uses its oil supply leverage, as it has apparently done in the past, to conclude the purchase from Italy of the natural uranium reactor and small reprocessing plant mentioned earlier. Once these are in place, perhaps five to eight years later, Iraq could begin separating larger quantities of plutonium from the new reactor's spent fuel; this could be done openly, under IAEA safeguards. Larger numbers of weapons could now be assembled in a national crisis. At this point, Iraq would have achieved rough parity with Israel.
If Iraq moved to actual weapons manufacture it would violate the NPT and its other non-proliferation commitments. However, in the event of a regional crisis - or even on the pretext of some act of Israeli belligerence---Iraq could legally withdraw from the Treaty on ninety days' notice. While a violation of Iraq's bilateral commitments might trigger a nuclear supply cut-off, Iraq could continue to manufacture plutonium by irradiating uranium from its stockpile in either the Osirak reactor (until its supply of highly enriched uranium fuel was exhausted) or in the larger reactor purchased from Italy. (I58)
France revealed the specific terms of its plan early in 1982. Iraq would have to accept low- enriched caramel fuel for the plant; French technicians would remain at the site permanently; and, in addition, Iraq would have to include other states in the operation of the installation, making it a regional research center. (I62)
Iraq did not indicate whether it would agree to these new measures. (I63) Although France and Iraq had settled outstanding issues concerning payments for the demolished facility by September 1983, they had not as yet reached any substantive agreement to rebuild it. (I64) As of mid-1984, no significant reconstruction work was known to have begun on Osirak. (I65)
In late 1982, Italy advised U.S. officials that it did not plan to offer additional nuclear equipment to Iraq. (I66)
Iraq's use of chemical weapons directly violated its. obligations under the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which it' ratified in 193 1, prohibiting the "use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases." Baghdad's action, also defied the long-standing moral taboo against the
use of these inhuman weapons that has, with only a handful of exceptions, prevailed since World War 1. The development thus casts serious doubt on Iraq's intention to uphold its commitment to another treaty it has ratified that seeks to control unconventional weapons: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, prohibiting the manufacture of nuclear explosives. It also raises questions whether, if Iraq had obtained nuclear arms, it would have hesitated to use them during the Gulf War. Indeed, Iraqi officials, while denying that their nation had used poison gas, insisted on its right to use any weapon to defend itself against invasion. (I69) At least one Israeli politician has cited these events as justifying, in retrospect, Israel's destruction of the Osirak reactor. (I70)
As indicated above, Iraq has not yet rebuilt its nuclear program. Nevertheless, Iraq's apparent desperation to end the war with Iran, coupled with its flagrant disregard of its arms control commitments, raises a more immediate proliferation concern. The Israel
raid did not destroy the 12.5 kilograms of French-supplied highly enriched uranium fuel for Osirak. This material may be sufficient to manufacture a single nuclear weapon, especially if it is combined with a smaller amount of highly enriched fuel previously supplied by the Soviet Union for Iraq's IRT-2000 research reactor. If confronted by an overwhelming Iranian invasion force, Iraqi leaders might seriously consider using this material to threaten Teheran with even a single untested nuclear weapon. An additional risk is that even if Iraq's current leadership does not use the French fuel in this manner, the material might fall into less responsible hands if an Iranian victory led to a period of political turmoil and internal strife within Iraq.
The measures taken to prevent misuse of the Osirak fuel may not be sufficient in this setting. Although the IAEA periodically inspects the French-supplied fuel, inspections were suspended at the Osirak site for a total of six months during 1980-81 because of the ongoing hostilities with Iran. In any event, Iraq's blatant violation of the Geneva Protocol suggests Baghdad would have few qualms about openly abrogating its IAEA safeguards commitments. As for France's precaution of lightly irradiating the Osirak fuel, a number of U.S. experts believe this would no longer interfere with building a nuclear device, since the radiation level of the material would have diminished. Similarly, Iraq's building such a device would not be precluded by the fact that it now possesses substantially less than the twenty-five kilograms of highly enriched uranium the IAEA considers to be the minimum needed to make a crude bomb. According to several U.S. experts, the amount on hand might be sufficient if Iraq used a number of widely published weapons design improvements. (I71)
Whether the Soviet Union will require tough nonproliferation controls of this kind, however, is uncertain. The very fact that Moscow decided to make a major new nuclear transfer to Iraq when it appeared that Iraq had initiated a nuclear-weapons development program and when it had only recently violated a major arms limitation treaty, suggests that the Soviet Union's interest in strengthening its ties to Iraq may outweigh its concerns over the possibility of proliferation there. On the other hand, the Soviet-Iraqi nuclear sales agreement may amount to little more than a symbolic gesture. The Soviets made a similar commitment to Libya in 1977 but have yet to supply the nuclear power plant as promised.
Attempt to Purchase Plutonium
According to Italian news reports published as this book went to press, sometime over the past four years Iraq appears to have adopted a clandestine strategy to obtain nuclear arms unrelated to Osirak, by purchas
ing plutonium on the black market. In June 1984, after a four-year investigation, Italian authorities arraigned Colonel Massimo Pugliese, a former member of the Italian secret service, and twenty-nine other individuals, charging them with conspiring to export weapons illegally to Iraq and Somalia. Among the items Iraq was to have bought were thirty-four kilograms of plutonium (enough for four to six weapons), a metric ton of uranium (probably yellowcake), two metric tons of plastic explosives, and other equipment. (I73)
When Iraq may have placed the order for the plutonium was not disclosed. If this occurred at about the time the Italian investigation began, apparently in early 1980, it would roughly coincide with France's imposition of new restrictions on the use of Osirak, which limited its potential for aiding Iraq in developing nuclear arms in the near term. The attempted plutonium purchase may thus have been an alternative strategy for obtaining nuclear arms relatively quickly, while Osirak was integrated into a longer-term nuclear weapons development program, as hypothesized above. It is also possible that the plutonium purchase order was placed after Osirak was destroyed, when indigenous production of nuclear weapons material no longer appeared feasible.
It seems unlikely that the Pugliese ring could have delivered the material to Iraq, however, since plutonium is subject to strict export controls and security measures. The episode is significant, nonetheless, because, if the facts as they have been alleged by Italian authorities are correct, there would no longer seem to be any question of Iraq's intent to obtain nuclear weapons as rapidly as possible or of its readiness to break its Non-Proliferation Treaty pledges not to manufacture such arms and to maintain IAEA safeguards on all of its nuclear activities.
In addition, Iraq's ongoing war with Iran has cut Iraqi oil exports to a trickle, and this is likely to restrict for some time Baghdad's ability to build a serious nuclear program. Without the leverage it once enjoyed as a major oil supplier, Iraq will have difficulty obtaining any but the most innocent nuclear commodities from the nuclear supplier countries. Moreover, the costs of the war, coupled with the loss of oil revenues, have taken a severe economic toll on Iraq, which is likely to preclude expenditures necessary for a substantial nuclear program.
On the other hand, the recent revelations in the Italian press of Iraq's attempt to purchase plutonium from black market sources would appear to indicate that its efforts to acquire nuclear arms have not ceased and to raise added doubts as to Iraq's commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. lraq
Osirak, Tammuz 1 (light-water/highly enriched uranium, 40 MWt)
(*) supplier: France
(*) start up: Destroyed by Israel June 1981, prior to start up; future status uncertain.
(*) fuel source: France
1sis, Tammuz H (light-water/highly enriched uranium, 800 KWta)
(*) supplier: France
(*) start up: 1980 (?)
(*) fuel source: France
(*) Safeguards: yes
IRT-2000 (fight-water/highly enriched uranium, 5 MWt)c
(*) supplier: Soviet Union
(*) start up: 1968
(*) fuel source: Soviet Unione
(*) safeguards: yes
Uraniun Resources/Active Mining Sites/Uranium Mills
(*) reasonably assured reserves: none
(*) currently active site: none
(*) mills in operation: none
Uranium Purification (U06)
Thwaitha (laboratory scale)
(*) capacity: ?
(*) supplier: Italy
(*) start up: not operating (?)
(*) safeguards: yes
(*) capacity: ?
(*) supplier: Italy
(*) start up: not operating (?)
(*) Safeguards: yes
(*) capacity: 8 kg plutonium per yeare
(*) supplier: Italy
(*) start up: not operating
(*) safeguards. yes
Sources and Notes
a, Steve, Weissman and Herbert Krosney, The Islamic Bomb (New York: Times Books. 1981) pp. 94, 100, 266.
b. Congressional Research Service, Analysis of Six Issues About Nuclear Capabilities of India, Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan, prepared for the Subcommittee of Arms Control Oceans, and International Operations and Environment of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1982).
c. Jed C. Snyder, "TheRoad to Osiraq: Baghdad's Quest for the Bomb," The Middle East Journal, (Autumn 1983), p. 1.
d. Yellowcake supplied from Portugal, Brazil, and Niger, Congressional Research Service, Six Issues, p. 46.
e. Richard Burr, "U.S. Says Ita . Sells Iraq Atomic Bomb Technology,- New York Times, March 18,1980, p.1. Five to ten kg of plutonium per year. Weissman and Krosney, The Islamic Bomb, p. 268.
1. U.S. General Accounting Office, Difficulties in Determining If Nuclear Training of Foreigners Contributes to Weapons Proliferation, Report ID-79-2, April 23, 1979, pp. 20-23. Among this group was the head of Pakistan's atomic energy program. By 1974, 120 Pakistani nuclear experts had been trained (Roberta Wohlstetter, "The Buddha Smiles": Absent-minded Peaceful Aid and the Indian Bomb, Monograph 3, Energy Research and Development Administration, Contract No. (49-1)-3747, April 30, 1977, p. 28, citing U.S. Atomic Energy Commission data).
2. On Bhutto's role, see Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, "If I Am Assassinated . . ." (New Delhi: Vikas, 1979), pp. 135-138. On small reprocessing lab, see Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney, The Islamic Bomb, (New York: Times Books, 1981), p. 81.
3. Bhutto, "if I Am Assassinated . . ., " pp. 137-138.
4. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, The Myth of Independence (London: Oxford University Press, 1969), p. 153. Bhutto may have been even more emphatic in 1965, when he reportedly made the remark, "If India builds the bomb, we will eat leaves or grass, even go hungry, but we will have to get one of our own." (Weissman and Krosney, The Islamic Bomb, p. 162).
5. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, pp. 43-46. The authors' information comes from two participants in the meeting. The date of this meeting, some two years before India's nuclear test, is significant because it shows that Pakistan's quest for nuclear arms was not stimulated by a direct nuclear threat from India. Rather, more generalized concerns over the disparity in conventional military strength and nuclear potential between the two nations seem to have been decisive.
6. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 75.
7. Zalmay Khallizad, -Pakistan: The Making of a Nuclear Power, Asian Survey, June 1976, p. 589; D. K. Palit and P. K. S. Namboodiri, Pakistan's Islamic Bomb (New Delhi: Vikas, 1979), p. 20.
8. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 75. Although Weissman and Krosney offer the rough estimate that the plant could produce 800 kilograms of plutonium per year, India's similarly-sized Tarapur reprocessing plant is said to have an output of 135 to 150 kilograms. The more conservative estimate is used here. See India section, note 109 and accompanying text.
9. Palit and Namboodiri, Pakistan's Islamic Bomb, p. 16. Weissman and Krosney also state, based on interviews with Pakistani officials, that in 1973 and 1974 Islamabad asked France for certain types of analyses that were specifically relevant for the production of a nuclear weapon. Although the aid was not given, the request plainly put France on notice as to Pakistan's apparent interest in developing nuclear arms (Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 76).
10. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 83.
11. Milton R. Benjamin, -Pakistan Building Secret Nuclear Plant," Washington Post, September 23, 1980. The New Labs is a separate facility from the small reprocessing laboratory noted earlier (Weissman and Krosney, The Islamic Bomb, p. 8 1; Thomas W. Graham, "South Asian Nuclear Proliferation and National Security Chronology," Center for International Affairs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1984).
12. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 175
13. A report on the investigation is reprinted in K. Subrahmanyam, ed., Nuclear Myths and Realities: India's Dilemma (New Delhi: ABC, 198 1), App. 1 to Ch. 8.
14. Shirin Tahir-Kheli, The United States and Pakistan: The Evolution of an Influence Relationship (New York: Praeger, 1982), pp. 63-64.
15. Palit and Namboodiii, Pakistan's Islamic Bomb, p. 36; Khallizad, "Pakistan," p. 583.
16. Sheikh R. Ali, -Pakistan's Islamic Bomb," Asia Pacific Community, Spring 1982, p. 77.
17. Tahir-Kheli, The U.S. and Pakistan, p. 89, citing figures from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance: 1979- 1980 (London, 1980), p. 106. According to another account of Pakistani-Arab relations, in addition to these ties there are about 5,000 troops in Saudi Arabia alone, including a large training group for the Royal Guards, most of whose officers are Pakistanis. Pakistani forces were reported to have been deployed in Jordan after the Camp David agreement and on the Yemen border at the time of border clashes in February 1979. Palit and Namboodiii, Pakistan's Islamic Bomb, pp. 42-43.
18. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, pp. 62-65.
19. See chapter on Libya.
20. The original London Suppliers Club included the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, West Germany, Japan, and Canada. As time went on, the following states joined: Belgium, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland. Australia and Finland indicated their compliance with the guidelines in later communications to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
21. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 164.
22. Tahir-Kheli, The U.S. and Pakistan, p. 88.
23. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, Sec. 669 (1976) 22 U. S.C. 2429.
24. Tahir-Kheli, The U.S. and Pakistan, p. 124.
25. Ibid., pp. 127-129; Communique of the French Council for External Nuclear Policy, December 16, 1976, as cited in Charles N. Van Doren, Nuclear Supply and Non-Proliferation: The IAEA Committee on Assurances of Supply, Congressional Research Service Report 83-202 S (Library of Congress: Washington, D.C., 1983, p. CRS-192);
26. Tahir-Kheli, The U.S. and Pakistan, p. 129; personal communication with knowledgeable former U.S. officials.
27. The Symington amendment the amendment was not formally invoked against Pakistan, however.
28. Personal communication with a knowledgeable French official.
29. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 167; -Pakistan for the First Time Has Officially Acknowledged It Is Building Its Own Reprocessing Plant,- Nuclear Fuel, September 17, 1979, p. 10; "The Last Two French Engineers Overseeing the Civil Work at Pakistan's . . .," Nucleonics Week, July 12, 1979, p. 6. According to a knowledgeable former U.S. official, the actual aid provided by French personnel during this period was nominal, and Washington saw the French presence as beneficial since it allowed monitoring of Pakistan activities at the site.
30. The Canadian policy was triggered by India's 1974 test and resulted in the termination of nuclear assistance to both India and Pakistan in 1976.
31. Based on Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, pp. 182-192.
32. At the time, military aid to Pakistan was marginal, and economic assistance was limited to $40 million (Tahir-Kheli, The U.S. and Pakistan, p. 134). Between October 1978, when the U.S. aid pipeline had been reopened following France's termination of its agreement with Pakistan for the sale of the Chashma reprocessing plant, and the subsequent termination of aid in early 1979, the Carter administration had offered to supply F-5 fighters to Pakistan. No specific nuclear strings were attached, but undoubtedly it was hoped that by increasing Pakistan's conventional military strength, its incentives for developing nuclear weapons would be reduced. Pakistan rejected the limited-range F-5s as not powerful enough in comparison to India's capabilities. In fact, the Carter administration had previously offered the F-5 to Pakistan in June 1977 in lieu of the more powerful A-7 which Pakistan was seeking. At that point, too, Pakistan had rejected the F-5 offer. Ultimately, Pakistan turned to France for its military aircraft, purchasing the Mirage V. (Don Oberdorfer, "Arms Sale to Pakistan Urged to Stave Off A-Bomb There," Washington Post, August 6, 1979; Tahir-Kheli, The U.S. and Pakistan, pp. 90-9 1.
33. Senate Subcommittee on Energy, Nuclear Proliferation, and Federal Services of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, Hearing on Nuclear Proliferation: The Situation in India and Pakistan, May 1, 1979 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979), p. 10. Pakistan's one nuclear power plant, it may be noted, does not require enriched uranium, and as mentioned earlier, although a considerable long-term nuclear energy plan had been drawn up involving numerous low-enriched-uranium light-water power plants, none of these had gone beyond the planning stage as late as mid-1984.
34. -Address to the Nation," The Moslem, July 28, 1979, as cited in Tabir-Kheli, The U.S. and Pakistan, p. 135.
35. Richard Burt, "U.S. Aides Say Pakistan Is Reported to Be Building an A-Bomb Site," New York Times, August 17, 1979.
36. Richard Burt, "U.S. Will Press Pakistan to Halt A-Arms Project," New York Times, August 12, 1979. India may well have been the intelligence source cited by administration officials in the August 17 story (see note 35) on the supposed Pakistani nuclear weapons test site. On August 15, India's new prime minister, Charan Singh, had warned the Indian parliament that his government would review its earlier stand of not building nuclear weapons if Pakistan pursued its nuclear bomb program. In an August 15 address on the thirty-second anniversary of India's independence from Britain, he stated:---Weknow they are making the bomb. Why are they making the bomb? Against whom is it aimed? The bomb is aimed at us. It poses a danger to India's peace and security. But if Pakistan persists in its efforts to complete the bomb and continues to collect the materials for it we shall have to reconsider our earlier view" (Peter Niesewand, "India To Revise Nuclear Plans if Pakistan Acts, Leader Says, Washington Post, August 15, 1979).
37. Burt, -Pakistan Reported Building A-Bomb Site.
38. Burt, "U.S. Will Press Pakistan."
39. Michael T. Kaufman, "Pakistan Perplexed by U.S. Stand on Nuclear Arms," New York Times, August 9,1979. Section 701 of the International Financial Institutions Act of 1977 (22 U.S.C. 262g), as noted elsewhere, requires American executive directors at multilateral lending institutions to take into account in the course of making loan decisions whether a nation is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
40. "Pakistan for the First Time Has Officially Acknowledged It Is Building Its Own Reprocessing Plant," Nuclear Fuel, September 17, 1979, p. 10. Pakistan justified the facility as necessary to allow it to extract plutonium from spent reactor fuel to be reused in breeder reactors. Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission chairman Munir Khan stated that the reprocessing plant would be part of an enlarged Pakistani nuclear power program entailing the construction of the sixteen or more nuclear power plants by the year 2000.
41. Don Oberdorfer, "Uranium Parley with Pakistanis Inconclusive," Washington Post, October 18, 1979.
42. Shahi reportedly assured Washington that Pakistan would not manufacture nuclear weapons or aid other countries to do so (Don Oberdorfer, "Effort to Block Pakistan from A-Bomb Faltering, - Washington Post, October 20, 1979; personal communication with former U.S. Official). As noted below, however, even as these assurances were being given, Pakistani purchasing agents were obtaining key technology from Western Europe for the Kahuta plant and uranium from Libya to be upgraded in the facility.
43. Bernard Gwertzman, "White House Seeks Long-Term Aid to Bolster the Defense of Pakistan," New York Times, February 1, 1980.
44. Gwertzman, "White House Seeks Long-Term Aid,- Tahir Kheli, The U.S. and Pakistan, pp. 102-103.
45. John J. Fialka, "West Concerned by Signs of Libyan-Pakistan A-Effort," Washington Star, November 25, 1979.
46. IAEA document INFCIRC/248.
47. Fialka, "West Concerned;""Niger Says It Sold Uranium to Libya, Use for Nuclear Weaponry Feared," Washington Star, April 14, 1981; Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, pp. 212-213.
48. "Niger Says Adherence to IAEA Safeguards Will Be Required for Export of Uranium," Nuclear Fuel, March 31, 1980, p. 2.
49. Fialka, "Niger Sold Uranium to Libya."
50. "Niger Says Adherence Required," Nuclear Fuel.
51. "Swiss To Allow Firms To Sell Nuclear Technology to Pakistan, Washington Star, September 23, 1980; Richard Burt, -Nuclear Issue Mars U.S. Ties with Swiss," New York Times, September 23, 1980; Leonard Downie, Jr., "Swiss Send Aid to Pakistan," Washington Post, September 21, 1980.
52. Leonard Downie, Jr. "Swiss, U. S. Prepare to Resume Nuclear Cooperation," Washington Post, December 31, 1980.
53. Leonard Downie, Jr., "US, Swiss at Impasse on A-Policy," Washington Post, September 22, 1980; "Swiss Investigate Exports to Pakistan While U.S. Withholds Okay on Pu Sale," Nuclear Fuel, September 29, 1980, p. 17.
54."Swiss Firms May Avoid Further Deals, But Honor Existing Pacts With Pakistan," Nuclear Fuel, November 10, 1980, p. 1; Downie, "Swiss, U.S. to Resume Cooperation." In March 198 1, one Swiss firm, CORA Engineering AG, which had been continuing exports to Pakistan, stated that all further transfers would be halted as a result of a bomb attack and threats against company executives by opponents of the nuclear facility ("Firm Halts Supplies to Pakistani A-Unit," Washington Post, March 20, 1981;---Swiss Firm Discontinues Sale of Nuclear Components to Pakistan," Le Figaro, March 17, 1981, translated in Foreign Broadcast Information Service/Nuclear Development and Proliferation (hereafter FBIS/NDP), April 21, 1981, p. 1.
55. "Pakistan Makes Its Own Nuclear Fuel,- Washington Star, September 1, 1980; "Pakistan's KANUPP Reactor Is Now Operating on Domestically Fabricated Fuel," Nucleonics Week, September 4, 1980, p. 11. Canadian plans for the plant had apparently been provided before Ottawa terminated nuclear aid to Pakistan.
56. Milton R. Berjantin, "Pakistan Building Secret Nuclear Plant," Washington Post, September 23, 1980. U.S. experts apparently identified the facility well before the Post story and may have had some success in retarding its completion. (Personal communication with knowledgeable former U.S. official).
57. In June 1984, Senator Alan Cranston declared that the facility had conducted tests with non-radioactive materials in 1982 and had subsequently processed radioactive material -by implication, spent fuel. (Congressional Record, 9th Congress, 2nd Session, June 21, 1984, p. S 7901). U.S. officials denied the allegation, however. (Personal communication with knowledgeable U.S. officials; see also Ann MacLachlan, "Belgians Awaiting Government Approval to Complete Pakistani Reprocessing Lab," Nuclear Fuel, March 26, 1984, p. 9.)
58. Benjamin, "Pakistan Building Secret Plant."
59. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, pp. 214-215.
60. Richard M. Weintraub, "Pakistan Said To Receive Nuclear Arms Parts Illegally Via Canada," Washington Post, December 7,1980.
61. Barry Schweid, "Turks Ship U.S. A-Tools to Pakistan," Washington Post, June 28, 1981. Turkey apparently adopted the same attitude Switzerland had, claiming that the Non-Proliferation Treaty "trigger list" (items whose export would require safeguards) did not explicitly identify the items re-exported from Turkey as being subject to controls. After considerable U.S. urging, however, Turkey agreed to reconsider its position.
62. John M. Geddes, "Bonn Says Firm Illegally Sent Pakistan Gear That Can Be Used for Atomic Bombs," Wall Street Journal, July 16, 1981.
64. Don Oberdorfer, "US, Pakistan Progressing on New Aid Package," Washington Post, April 22, 1981.
65. Senate Subcommittee on Energy, Nuclear Proliferation, and Government Processes of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, Hearing on Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy, 97th Congress, Ist Session, June 24, 1981 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981), pp. 16-17.
66. Ibid., p. 16. President Zia reiterated these assurances during a visit to Washington in December 1982.
67. Ibid., pp. 16, 18-19.
68. Ibid., p. 18; Bernard Gwertzman, "Pakistan Blast Could End Aid," New York Times, September 17,1981; Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, Sec. 670(bX2), 22 U.S.C. 2429a(b)(2) (1981).
69. Alan Cranston, "Nuclear Arms Race in South Asia Endangers U. S. Security Interests, " Congressional Record, 97th Congress, Ist Session, April 27, 1981, p. S 3929.
70. Schweid, "Turks Ship U.S. A-Tools. "
71. Judith Miller, "U.S. Aides Studying Pakistani Reactor," New York Times, September 30, 1981.
72. Leslie Maitland, "U.S. Studying Foiled Bid to Export a Key Reactor Metal to Pakistan," New York Times, November 20, 1981.
73. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, Sec. 670(b)(2), 22 U.S.C 2429a(b)(2)(1981). Under the amendment, U.S. aid would be cut off automatically, although the president could continue assistance for sixty days if he determined that termination of assistance would be detrimental to the national security of the United States. After that time, however, aid would cease unless restored by vote of both houses of Congress.
74. "IAEA Is Facing Major Problems in Safeguarding Pakistan's KANUPP Power Station," Nucleonics Week, October 8, 1981, P. 6; "]be Delicate Negotiations Between IAEA and Pakistan Aimed at Upgrading. . .," Nucleonics Week, November 12, 1981, p. 4. The two primary areas of concern with respect to IAEA monitoring of the facility were the absence of surveillance equipment at an emergency hatch through which spent fuel might be surreptitiously removed and the lack of backup cameras for several key areas of the station. IAEA concerns had first arisen in late 1980.
75. Milton R. Benjamin, -Pakistan Backs Atomic Safeguards, Washington Post, November 17, 1982.
76. Ibid.; Arm MacLachlan, "IAEA Completes Its Desired Ungrading of Safeguards at KANUPP," Nucleonics Week, March 3, 1983, p. 1.
77. "Two Primary Deficiencies in IAEA Safeguards at Pakistan's KANUPP . . .... Nucleonics Week, September 23, 1982, p. 2.
78. Albert Wolilstetter et al., Swords from Plowshares: The Military Potential of Civilian Nuclear Energy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977), p. 195.
79. Small exemptions are sometimes permitted to this rule, but these must be formally requested and approved by the IAEA. Pakistan, according to knowledgeable U.S. officials, has not sought such an exemption.
80. Ambassador Ronald I. Spiers, "Speech to the Karachi Institute of Foreign Relations,- on April 20, 1982, (International Communication Agency news release on same day), p. 13. Although neither of Pakistan's reprocessing plants is inspected by the IAEA, U.S. intelligence monitoring could presumably detect any reprocessing activity, since this would require processing of highly radioactive material.
81. "Pakistan Could Be Ready To Accept Bids for a 600-900-MW Nuclear Unit," Nucleonics Week, October 8, 1981, p. 2. Pakistan has been assisted by a Spanish engineering firm, Sener, in developing the studies necessary for the procurement of such an installation.
82. -Statement on United States Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy," July 16, 1981, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Ronald Reagan (Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C., 1981) p. 630.
83."Cheysson Discusses Nuclear Plant", Washington Post, March 30, 1983.
84. "Deadline for Chasma Tenders Ends,- Dawn (Karachi), August 3, 1983, reprinted in FRIS/NDP, September 2, 1983, p. 42.
85. "While the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Has Postponed the Deadline Nucleonics Week, November 10, 1983, p. 80; "Pakistan Has Indefinitely Postponed, Nucleonics Week, April 5,1984, p. 6.
86. Personal communication with knowledgeable French official; -Financing Prospects for Pakistan's Proposed Chashma Station Look So Dim," Nucleonics Week, March 24, 1983, p. 5.
87. As discussed in Chapter 6, the administration was also successful in tightening the Nuclear Suppliers' Guidelines to prohibit export of key enrichment plant components unless IAEA safeguards were applied to the installation in which they were to be used.
88. Russell Warren Howe, -Pakistani's Are Closer to Producing Nuclear Weapon," Washington Times, July 26, 1984.
89. "Scientist Affirms Pakistan Capable of Uranium Enrichment, Weapons Production," Nawa-I-Waqt, February 10, 1984, translated in FBIS/N13P, March 5, 1984, p. 32; -Pakistan's Nuclear Chief Says It Could Build Bomb," Washington Post, February 10, 1984.
90. "Scientist Affirms Pakistan Capable," Nawa-I-Waqt, FBIS/NDP, pp. 43-44.
91. "Zia Chastises Western Media for Accounts of Khan's Remarks on Weapons Capability," Nuclear Fuel, February 27, 1984, P. 11.
92. "Zia Chastises Western Media," Nuclear Fuel, p. 11.
93. -Pakistan Names Kahuta Facility for Khan," Nuclear Fuel, January 16, 1984, p. 5.
94. Alan Cranston, "Nuclear Proliferation and U.S. National Security Interests."
95. Personal communication with knowledgeable U.S. officials; see also note 70 and accompanying text.
96."3 Pakistanis Indicted on A-Arms Charges," Washington Post, July 17, 1984; Rick Atkinson, "Nuclear Parts Sought by Pakistanis," Washington Post, July 21, 1984. The Pakistanis attempted to export fifty high-speed electronic switches known as "krytons." It is not known how many are needed in a single weapon. (The switches are also used in the strobe fights placed atop large buildings to warn away aircraft). (Atkinson, "Parts Sought").
97. Rob Latifer, -Interview with Malone: Defense of Policy and Assessment of 'Hot Spots, "' Nucleonics Week, August 19, 1982, p. 2.
98. Judith Miller,---U.S. Is Holding Up Peking Atom Talks," New York Times, September 19, 1982.
99. Milton R. Benjamin, "China Aids Pakistan on A-Weapons," Washington Post, February 28, 1983.
100. Leslie H. Gelb, "Peking Said To Balk at Nuclear Pledges," New York Times, June 23, 1984. A report in the Indian press three months earlier quoted Indian foreign secretary Rasgottra as stating that China had actually tested a Pakistani nuclear device, but India's foreign minister subsequently disclaimed this. (Times of India, March 27, 1984, as cited in Thomas W. Grahain, "South Asian Nuclear Proliferation and National Security Chronology. Center for International Affairs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (1984)).
101. "PRC Denies Nuclear Cooperation with Pakistan," AFP, 1220 GMT, February 26, 1983, reprinted in FBIS/NDP, March 21, 1983, p. 9.
102. Mike Knapik, "U.S.-China Nuclear Accord Now Faces Congressional Scrutiny," Nucleonics Week, May 3, 1984, p. 9.
103. Don Oberdorfer, "Arms Issue Snags Pact with China,- Washington Post, June 15, 1984. U.S-China nuclear discussions are analyzed in Chapter VI.
104. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, United States Interests in South Asia; A Staff Report, April 1984 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984) pp. 30-31. See also, Senate Report 98-400; International Security and Development Act of 1984 (S-2582) (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984).
105. Russell Warren Howe, "Study Confirms Pakistan's Nuclear Bomb Know-How," Washington Times, July 25,1984.
106. "3 Pakistani's Indicted," Washington Post. Pakistan should have little trouble finding or improvising substitutes for these items.
107. P. K. S. Namboodifi, "Pakistan's Nuclear Posture," in Nuclear Myths, p. 161.
108. Cranston, "Nuclear Proliferation and U.S. National Security," personal communication with knowledgeable U.S. official. See also, Ann MacLachlan, "Belgians Awaiting Government Approval to Complete Pakistani Reprocessing Lab," Nuclear Fuel, March 26, 1984, p. 9.
2. The IRT-2000 is located outside Baghdad [Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings on the Israeli Air Strike, June 18, 19, and 25, 1981, 97th Congress, 1st Session (Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1981)]. It is fueled with a small quantity of uranium that has varied over the years from 10 percent to 80 percent enriched. The reactor began to operate in 1968 and was upgraded from two- to five-megawatts in 1978 (Jed C. Snyder, "The Road to Osiraq: Baghdad's Quest for the Bomb," Middle Fast Journal, Autumn 1983, p. 1). At its original two-megawatt capacity, the reactor was capable of producing only thirty-eight grams of plutonium annually. One analyst has noted that by 1988, enough plutonium might be produced in the upgraded reactor's 80 percent enriched fuel for one atom bomb (CRS, Analysis of Six Issues, p. 7).
3. Shai Feldman, Israeli Nuclear Deterrence (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), p. 74. By 1976, for example, the budget of Iraq's atomic energy commission increased from $5 million to $70 million ("What Israel Knew," Newsweek, June 22,1981, p. 25).
4. The accord was signed in the wake of the Arab oil embargo, at a time when France depended on Iraq for from fifteen to twenty percent of its oil. Foreign Report, August 13, 1980; Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney, The Islamic Bomb (New York: Times Books, 1981), p. 314, quoting Francis Perrin, former head of France's atomic energy commission.
5. Israeli Air Strike Hearings, p. 125.
6. Shai Feldman, "The Bombing of Osiraq Revisited," International Security, Fall 1982, p. 115.
7. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 92.
9. Ibid., p. 235..
10. CRS, Analysis of Six Issues, p. 7. The International Atomic Energy Agency considers twenty-five kilograms of highly enriched uranium to be a -significant quantity," i.e., sufficient for manufacturing a single nuclear device. As noted below, however, a weapon can be made with fifteen kilograms of highly enriched uranium if widely published design improvements are used and even with 12.5. The smaller the amount used, however, the more sophisticated the design of the weapon must be. See Thomas B. Cochran, et al., U.S. Nuclear Forces and Capabilities (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1984), pp. 24-25.
Throughout this book, twenty-five and fifteen kilograms are used in calculating rough estimates of the number of weapons that can be manufactured from a given amount of highly enriched uranium because these figures appear to be widely accepted. However, it would be possible, according to experts consulted by the author, to manufacture a weapon with 12.5 kilograms, an amount of particular importance in the case of Iraq.
11. In fact, Iraq would not necessarily have to violate IAEA safeguards to use the fuel for weapons, since Article X of the Non-Proliferation Treaty provides that a party may withdraw on ninety days' notice if it decides that -extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country."
12. The IAEA considers eight kilograms of plutonium to be sufficient for a nuclear device; however, the core of an atomic weapon can be made with only five kilograms, or possibly less. See Cochran, U.S. Nuclear Forces, pp. 24-25. Because the eight and five kilograms figures are widely accepted, they are used herein to estimate the number of weapons that can be made from a given amount of plutonium.
13. The French Osiris reactor-the model for Osirak - had been modified to give it a seventy-megawatt capability. Reportedly, Iraq sought to have similar modifications made to Osirak, which would have increased the plant's plutonium production capabilities. It is not known if the French agreed (Synder, "Road to Osiraq," p. 570). The IAEA fists the reactor as having a forty-megawatt output.
14. Of the nearly 150 research reactors covered by IAEA safeguards in 1979, for example, only 16 had a capacity of more than ten megawatts, and of these only 2 were outside the advanced industrial countries, one in Poland and one in Taiwan, both nations considerably more advanced than Iraq. India has a large unsafeguarded research reactor which it used to produce plutonium for its 1974 nuclear test, and Israel has a similar reactor thought to be used for its nuclear weapons program.
Indeed, Osirak was a materials-testing reactor, intended for qualifying components for new reactor prototypes, an activit well beyond Iraq's technical capabilities, However' developing nations have sometimes invested heavily in uneconomic undertakings, such as national airlines, for reasons of national prestige, and some have suggested this may have motivated Baghdad's acquisition of Osirak (Israeli Air Strike Hearings, p. 126). Nonetheless, as discussed below, the evidence suggests, that Iraq's nuclear program decisions were motivated more strongly by a desire to gain access to nuclear weapons material.
15. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 236.
16. Milton Benjamin, "France Plans to Sell Iraq Weapons-Grade Uranium," Washington Post, February 28, 1980.
17. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 258.
18. Ronald Koven, "France Cites Nuclear Terms to Iraq,- Washington Post, July 30, 1980.
19. "France-Iraqi Nuclear Deal: Core of a Dilemma,- Energy Daily, July 28, 1980.
20. The first of these measures was not revealed until late July 1980, several weeks after France shipped the 12.5 kilograms of highly enriched uranium to Iraq. The understanding concerning the presence of French technicians at Osirak was contained in a 1978 agreement between the French government-owned nuclear firm Techniatome and Iraq; it was not publicly disclosed, however, until after Israel's bombing of the reactor. Israeli Air Strike Hearings, p. 143.
21. Richard Burt,---U.S. Says Italy Sells Iraq Atomic Bomb Technology," New York Times, March 18, 1980.
22. Ibid. When uranium is subjected to radiation, only part of it is actually transformed into plutonium, which remains amalgamated with the unchanged uranium and various radioactive residues after the uranium target or rod is removed from the reactor. The plutonium is then extracted by chemical means in a series of steps known as "reprocessing."
A number of analysts have challenged the estimate that the Italian hot cells would have been capable of extracting approximately eight kilograms of plutonium per year, arguing that while the hot cells could be used to separate plutonium, they had less than a tenth this capacity (Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 101). The matter has never been definitively resolved in the published literature. Even a smaller reprocessing capability, it may be noted, would have permitted Iraq to train personnel in reprocessing techniques, an important first step for any long-range nuclear weapons development program. As noted below,
Iraq later entered into negotiations with Italy to acquire a larger reprocessing plant.
23. As in the case of the capacity of the hot cells, experts have disagreed as to the capacity of the fuel fabrication laboratory. Some imply that it could produce uranium targets in large enough quantities to permit maximum use of Osirak for plutonium production (Snyder, "Road to Osiraq," p. 575). Others, including the State Department, have stated that the laboratory was far too small for this. Israeli Air Strike Hearings, p. 157).
24. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 26.
25. Burt, "Italy Sells Atomic Bomb Technology." Interestingly, Italy needed U.S. approval to close its naval sale, since four frigates included in the transaction were to be powered by General Electric Company gas turbines for which the United States had to grant export licenses. The United States granted these export licenses - and thus did not exert maximum pressure on Italy to cancel its nuclear sale. Some have suggested that this action was taken to protect the sale of the gas turbines by the U.S. firm; Italy, apparently could have obtained them from other foreign sources if its U.S. export licenses had been denied.
26. Transcript of "Near Armageddon: The Spread of Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East," on ABC News Close-up, April 27, 1981, p. 29; Judith Miller, "Was Iraq Planning to Make the Bomb",' New York Times, June 19, 198 1981; Burt, "Italy Sells Atomic Bomb Technology."
27."Near Armageddon", p. 29.
28. CRS, Analysis of Six Issues, p. 46. Iraq allegedly used Brazil's dependence on Iraqi oil - 40 percent of Brazil's oil imports - to gain its acquiescence. Iraq's dealings with France and Italy had reportedly followed a similar pattern.
29. Ibid. Portugal also depended heavily on Iraqi oil imports.
30. David Fishlock, "IAEA Had Suspicions About Iraq," Energy Daily, July 17, 1981. In theory, Iraq could have legitimately had natural uranium enriched in France or the Soviet Union to the level needed to fuel Osirak and the IRT-2000, but much smaller quantities of natural uranium than those Iraq purchased would have been needed.
31. J. Miller, "Was Iraq Planning the BombT' Using the Italian laboratories, Iraq could purify the yellowcake and fabricate it into the necessary target specimens; again, using the hot cells, the targets after irradiation could be reprocessed to extract plutonium.
32. Depleted uranium is uranium containing less than the naturally occurring proportion of uranium-235 (0.7 percent). It is in effect the opposite of enriched uranium. It is produced as a residue in the uranium enrichment process after the desired, but rare, isotope of uranium U235 has been partly culled out of some batches of natural uranium so that it can be added to other batches in order to increase their concentration of U235.
33. "Italian Uranium Shuffle to Iraq Raises Concern in Bonn over Euratom Loopholes," Nuclear Fuel, May 12, 1980, p. 1.
34. Snyder, "Road to Osiraq,- p. 578.
35. Arm MacLachlan, "Iraq Nuclear Export Vetoed," Energy Daily, October 2, 1980.
36. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 89. At the time of the Israeli raid, Israeli spokesmen cited a number of Iraqi statements which, they claimed, clearly indicated Iraq's intent to use Osirak to develop nuclear arms. A review by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) showed that several of these purported statements had not been made or were quoted out of context. See, Israeli Air Strike Hearings, pp. 58-68. None of the statements noted in the text, however, was invalidated by the CRS review.
37. Jonathan Kandell, "Iraq A-Bomb Ability Seen by '85," International Herald Tribune, June 27, 1980.
38. Robert Fisk, "President Husain Denies Iraq Has Atomic Bomb Programme,- Times (London), July 22, 1980.
40. Israeli Air Strike Hearings, p. 62.
41. CRS, Analysis of Six Issues, pp. 21, 23.
42. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, pp. 228-233. The equipment destroyed was not the fuel itself, but the grids and fittings, known as honeycombs, which hold the reactor's highly enriched fuel in place (Arm MacLachlan, "French-Iraqi Nuclear Deal: Core of a Dilemma," Energy Daily, July 28, 1980).
43. Koven, "France Cites Nuclear Terms";;" Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, pp. 229, 259.
44. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, pp. 239ff.
45. Ibid., pp. 2439; "Islamic Terrorists Bomb Iraqi Nuclear Projects," Washington Star, August 8, 1980.
46. Richard L. Homan, "Iran Again Bombs Baghdad as Diplomatic Efforts Stall," Washington Post, October 1, 1980. At the time of the June 7,1981, bombing raid, Israel claimed Osirak was about to begin operations; Iraq and others have suggested that it was unlikely this would have occurred before late 1981.
47. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, p. 279; Homan, "lran Again Bombs Baghdad." Eventually, France persuaded many to return. By the spring of 1981, some three hundred French technicians had done so, but without their families ("French Staff Back at Iraqi Reactor," Washington Post, April 29, 1981).
48."Baghdad Blocks Inspection of Its Nuclear Reactors," Washington Post, November 7, 1980.
49. H. Gruemm, "Safeguards and Tarmiz: Setting the Record Straight," IAEA Bulletin, December 1981, p. 10.
50. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, pp. 227ff; Edward Cody, "Israel Angered as French Send Uranium to Iraq," Washington Post, July 20, 1980; -Delivery of High-Enriched Fuel to Iraq Has Israelis Hinting Preemptive Action,- Nuclear Fuel, July 21, 1980; Abraham Rabinovich,---Israel Hints Strong Action If Iraq Pursues Nuclear Quest," Christian Science Monitor, August 18, 1980.
51. Weissman and Krosney, Islamic Bomb, pp. 227ff.
52. Israel's initial claims that Iraq was on the verge of making nuclear weapons in a secret chamber 120 feet below Osirak and that Israel had to act before the reactor began operations to avoid spreading radioactive debris over Baghdad were quickly disproven. In fact, the chamber was for neutron beam experiments, an accepted part of Osirak's research program, and was 12 feet below ground. The radiological hazard from destruction of Osirak once it hail commenced operating would have been limited to a small area near the reactor (Israeli Air Strike Hearings, p. 156).
See also note 36.
53. "Iraq Asserts Arabs Must Acquire Atom Arms as a Balance to Israel," New York Times, June 24, 1981.
54. Though IAEA inspections were relatively infrequent at the time of the Israeli raid-three or four times per year-the Agency intended to increase their frequency to once every two weeks as soon as Iraq received a "significant quantity- (i.e., twenty-five kilograms) of highly enriched uranium from France. Although Iraq might have objected to this inspection schedule as more frequent than normal for research reactors, some increase in frequency from the three to four inspections per year would undoubtedly have been negotiated.
Following the Israel raid, the IAEA accounted for all the highly enriched uranium France had supplied Iraq, 12.5 kilograms (H. Gruemm, "Safeguards and Tamuz," p. 11).
55. Since the insertions and rearrangements would have been relatively easy for the IAEA to observe, they would have had to be undertaken after each IAEA inspection and the reactor restored to normal before the next-possibly a month or even only two weeks later, depending on the final arrangement negotiated between Iraq and the Agency. In one year, some five hundred natural or depleted uranium targets would have had to be placed in the reactor for irradiation - all on this rigid timetable. If the Agency were able to install videotape recording cameras, as it had planned, this activity would have been easily observed (Christopher Herzog, "Correspondence to the Editor, IAEA Safeguards," International Security, Spring 1983, p. 196). In any event, such movements would be extremely difficult to conceal from the French personnel who were continually at the site.
56. Herzog, -Correspondence to the Editor." At the Senate hearings on the Israeli raid, Roger Richter, a former IAEA inspector, pointed out that at the time of the Israeli raid the Agency was not, in fact. safeguarding the laboratories because its right to do so depended on Iraq's declaring that it had introduced nuclear materials into them - a declaration Iraq had not yet made. He also noted that since yellowcake is not normally inspected under IAEA rules (because it is so many steps away from being useful for nuclear explosives), Iraq's stores of this material were not subject to on-site IAEA verifications either. It was possible, therefore, that Iraq could have removed some of its uninspected yellowcake without detection and, as long as it did not declare it was doing so to the IAEA, could have used Italian laboratories to fabricate the uranium into targets for irradiation and later reprocessed the targets without the IAEA being the wiser (see Israeli Air Strike Hearings, pp. 108 ff). However, the presence of the French technicians at the Osirak site would seem to make the option of at least large-scale clandestine fabrication and reprocessing impracticable, especially given the fact that the hot cells were adjacent to the reactor.
57. "Israel's Raid in Iraq Ensnarls Diplomacy and Arms-Sale Plans", Wall Street Journal, June 9, 198 1.
58. Based on conversations with Dr. Leonard Weiss. Minority Staff Director, Senate Subcommittee on Energy, Nuclear Proliferation, and Government Processes, June-July 1981.
59. "French Nuclear Aid to Iraq Stopped," Washington Post, June 27,1981.
60. "Iraqi Says Nation Still Plans to Seek Nuclear Technology," New York Times, July 14, 1981; David B. Ottaway. "Saudis Offer Financing for Iraqi Reactor," Washington Post, July 17, 1981.
61. -France Gives Iraq One More Chance to Build a Reactor," Energy Daily, August 25, 1981.
62. Thomas O'Toole, "Paris Lists Terms for Rebuilding Reactor in Iraq," Washington Post, February 20, 1982.
63. Edward Cody, "France Asks Iraq to Include Other States in Nuclear Project," Washington Post, March 19, 1982. Even as France was proposing these new controls, however, a team of senior French scientists at the National Centre for Scientific Research issued a report noting that even with the caramel fuel, Osirak could produce between 3.3 and 10 kilograms of plutonium by irradiating uranium targets (---French Scientists Say N-Reactor Could Produce Bomb," AFP, March 18, 1982, translated in Foreign Broadcast Information Service/Africa and the Middle East, March 22, 1982, P. E2).
64. Ann MacLachlan, "France-Iraqi Accord Makes No Provision for Rebuilding Reactor," Nucleonics Week, September 1, 1983, p. 1.
65. William Drozdiak, "Iraq to Get Soviet Nuclear Reactor," Washington Post, March 23, 1984.
66. "Italy Has No Intention of Selling Additional Nuclear Equipment to Iraq," Nucleonics Week, December 2, 1982, p. 5.
67. Michael J. Berlin, "UN Team Says Chemical Agents Used in Gulf War," Washington Post, March 27, 1984.
68. "Iran Claims to Push Back Iraqis," Washington Post, March 11, 1984.
69. Joseph T. Rom, "Poison Gas and the Death of Treaties," Washington Post, April 5, 1984.
71. Personal communication; see also Cochran, U.S. Nuclear Forces, pp. 24-25.
72. Drozdiak, "Iran to Get Reactor."
73. "Iraq's Bid for Plutonium Foiled," Energy Daily, June 15, 1984.