The clockwork mystery assassinations of Iran’s nuclear scientists pose an important security question for Pakistan, the next-door nuclear-armed nation whose strategic programs have been demonized in British and American media.
The latest attack occurred in Tehran on Wednesday, killing a chemistry expert linked to the country’s main nuclear agency, the Iran Atomic Energy Organization.
Pakistan must be watching this development closely. Iran accuses the United States, the UK and Israel of involvement.
Pakistan’s experiences in pursuing nuclear technology are different to Iran’s. But Islamabad has been a target no less. What helped Pakistan is its high diplomatic stature on the world stage and strong network of ties with key nations.
For example, while the possibility of threat from Israel has been real, both Islamabad and Tel Aviv managed to establish some form of communication through third countries to avoid fatal misunderstandings.
Israel has curiously refrained from talking about Pakistan’s nuclear and strategic programs [not even in the Israeli media]. But unlike Israel, the Brits and the Americans have been vocal, often through official design, in spreading fear and disinformation about the safety of Pakistani nukes.
Washington has become more hostile toward Pakistan in the past decade, spreading fear about Pakistan’s nukes where none exist. To American embarrassment, a more immediate nuclear security threat emerged in Japan, a US ally, with catastrophic consequences that continue to exist.
The key question here is this: Pakistan will probably never go assassinating individuals involved in the nuclear programs of other countries, but what would Islamabad do if someone creates a list of Pakistani nuclear experts and begins to assassinate them one by one? Or targets them for recruitment as Trojans or saboteurs?
Pakistan has been firm in protecting its nuclear personnel and installations. But even then the country is overall ‘soft’ in protecting itself. Foreign operatives from the US, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and former Soviet Union have breached Pakistani security at different stages.
For example, diplomats and intelligence agents from France and the United States were caught in Pakistan red handed attempting to spy on Pakistani nukes.
A new level of security breach occurred in 2007 and continues until now with the induction into power individuals with known links to foreign governments and intelligence agencies.
And Afghanistan continues to be an anti-Pakistan outpost under the control of US, NATO and India.
Islamabad is trying to normalize ties with US, which means resetting US ties from ‘high-level meddling’ to ‘normal diplomatic ties’.
Until this situation is resolved, no level of security is too much in Pakistan’s case.
A key area to watch for Pakistan is the level of access it gives the outside world to its nuclear community.
The Strategic Plans Division [SPD] of Pakistan’s National Command Authority [NCA] is the government agency monitoring this access. It is a world-class operation, designed and implemented twelve years ago.
SPD’s security blueprint is the latest in the world. Many countries interested in civil nuclear applications are studying this model.
Despite its high-level security model, SPD needs to study how the names of Iranian nuclear experts and scientists leaked through the UN and IAEA. This is not to say the two international bodies were willing instruments of spying on Iran. But the information they collected – including names, identities and designations of key Iranian nuclear officials — ultimately fell in the hands of foreign spy agents who are now assassinating them one by one.
So, until Pakistan makes the transition from a ‘soft’ to a ‘strong’ state, it needs to watch closely how Iran’s nuclear establishment is being cornered and terrorized. This sets a new model of coercive containment of a potential nuclear-armed nation. And it’s a model that those in charge of nuclear security must watch closely.
امریکی ادارے نے ایٹمی ہتھیاروں کے غیر محفوظ ذخائر والے ممالک کی فہرست جاری کر دی، پاکستان کا دوسرا نمبر
واشنگٹن (اے این این)جوہری ہتھیاروں کے عدم پھیلاو¿کےلئے کام کرنے والے امریکی ادارے ”نیوکلیئرتھریٹ اینیشیٹو“ نے کہاہے کہ مختلف ممالک کے ایٹمی ہتھیار وں کے ذخائر غیر محفوظ ہیں اور دہشت گردوں کے ہاتھ لگ سکتے ہیںاس حوالے سے فہرست میں شمالی کوریا کوپہلے، پاکستان کودوسرے اور ایران کو تیسرے نمبر پررکھاگیا۔گزشتہ روز امریکی نجی تحقیقی ادارے کی طرف سے جاری کردہ رپورٹ کے مطابق شمالی کوریا کے ایٹمی ہتھیار سب سے زیادہ غیر محفوظ ہیں فہرست میں دوسرا نمبر پاکستان ، تیسرا ایران ،چوتھا ویت نام اور پانچواں بھارت کا ہے ۔رپورٹ کے مطابق آسٹریلیا کے جوہری ذخائر سب سے زیادہ محفوظ ہیں جبکہ دوسرے نمبر پر ہنگری اور تیسرے نمبر پر چیک ری پبلک ہے ۔جوہری ہتھیاروں کی حفاظت کے سلسلے میں برطانیہ 10 ویں، امریکہ13ویں ،فرانس 19 ویں،روس 24 ویں اور چین 27 ویں نمبر پر ہے۔رپورٹ کے مطابق کچھ ممالک میں جوہری اثاثوں کی حفاظت کا مو ثر انتظام نہیں اور جوہری ہتھیار ان کی تیاری میں استعمال کیا جانے والا سامان چوری ہونے یا دہشت گرد تنظیموں کے ہاتھ لگنے کا امکان ہے۔ادارے کے سربراہ نے کہاکہ یہ رپورٹ اس بات کی ضرورت کا احساس دلاتی ہے کہ یہ ممالک اپنے ایٹمی ہتھیاروں کی حفاظت اور ان کی نقل و حمل کاانتظام مو ثر بنائیں تاکہ جوہری عدم پھیلا و¿کے اہداف پورے ہوسکیں۔
Iran’s Letter to the U.N. Secretary General on Assassinations
Mostafa Ahamdi Roshan on Jan. 11:
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
11 January 2012
On 11th January 2012, another prominent Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahamdi Roshan fell victim of a blind terrorist attack in Tehran. The victim was a Sharif University of Technology graduate in chemical engineering and served as deputy of Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. In this incident two other innocent people were seriously injured, one of whom died later at the hospital as a result of his wounds.
As you are aware, this is not the first time that the Iranian scientists come under malicious terrorist attacks. Previously, I have informed you (letter contained in document A/65/622–S/2010/634) about the assassination attempts against two Iranian prominent physicists: Majid Shahriari and Fereydoun Abbasi Davani (currently heading Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization) on 29 November 2010 as a result of which Majid Shahriari was martyred and Fereydoun Abbasi Davani and his wife were seriously injured. In the same series of terrorist attacks another Iranian scientist Professor Massoud Ali Mohammadi, was martyred in front of his house on 12 January 2010.
Based on the existing evidence collected by the relevant Iranian security authorities, similar to previous incidents, perpetrators used the same terrorist method in assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists, i.e. attaching a sticky magnetic bomb to the car carrying the scientists and detonating it. Furthermore, there is firm evidence that certain foreign quarters are behind such assassinations. As has been claimed by these circles, such terrorist acts have been carried out as part of the efforts to disrupt Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, under the false assumption that diplomacy alone would not be enough for that purpose. These quarters have spared no efforts in depriving the Islamic Republic of Iran from its inalienable right to peaceful nuclear energy and called for conducting covert operations ranging from assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists to launching a military strike on Iran as well as sabotaging Tehran’s nuclear program.
Now, the question remains whether resorting to all unlawful and coercive measures, even terrorist acts, to prevent developing nations from exercising their right to development, including peaceful use of nuclear energy are permissible?
While reiterating the peaceful nature of Iranian nuclear activities, I would like to emphasize, once again, that the Islamic Republic Iran would not compromise over its inalienable right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and any kind of political and economic pressures or terrorist attacks targeting the Iranian nuclear scientists, could not prevent our nation in exercising this right.
The Islamic Republic of Iran expresses its deep concern over, and lodges its strong condemnation of, such cruel, inhumane and criminal acts of terrorism against the Iranian scientists. My country has suffered the most from acts of terrorism in terms of human losses and material damages in the past decades. It is highly expected from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and President of the Security Council of the United Nations as well as all other relevant organs and bodies to condemn, in the strongest term, these inhumane terrorist acts and to take effective steps towards elimination of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Furthermore, I am sending identical letters to the President of the Security Council and the President of the General Assembly. It would be highly appreciated if this letter could be circulated as a document of the Security Council and of the General Assembly under the agenda item 109.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest considerations.