Russia Selling Nuke
Weapons Technology To
Iran, Missile Tech To N. Korea
WASHINGTON (UPI) - Russia is selling missile technology and components to North Korea and nuclear weapons components to Iran, The Washington Times reported in Friday's edition. Reports of the deals were outlined in sensitive intelligence reports sent earlier this month to senior policymakers, U.S. intelligence officials told the paper.
According to the officials, a recent report from the National Security Agency, which conducts electronic eavesdropping, stated that missile component companies in Russia and Uzbekistan were cooperating on the sale of missile parts to North Korea.
Disclosure of Russia's latest missile-proliferation activities comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a plan for a pan-European missile defense shield to complement a U.S. system opposed by Moscow.
"This intelligence shows the Russians are playing both sides of the fence," an intelligence official told the Times. "They are talking missile defense while helping boost the missile threat."
As to the nuclear exports to Iran, another NSA report said that Russia is sending tritium gas to a nuclear weapons research center in Tehran.
Tritium is a radioactive gas -- an isotope of hydrogen. Its primary use is to enhance the explosive power of nuclear warheads.
Robert Barker, a nuclear weapons specialist, told the Times that tritium has some applications other than its use in nuclear weapons, "but the well-known utilization of tritium is for enhancing the performance of nuclear weapons."
"This is an issue of concern and one would expect Iran to be very forthcoming in providing assurances about what it is being used for," he said.
A Senate aide who specializes in weapons proliferation told the paper the reports show Russian weapons proliferation continues to be a danger.
"This is one more example of the Russian government's failure to control missile technology and nuclear exports," he said. "Whether the government is incapable or uninterested in controlling its borders is immaterial." --
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