Sunday, August 06, 2006

Iran Buys Uranium From Africa

Iran is trying to purchase large amounts of urnaium from Africa:

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


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

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

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

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

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

With news like this, I start to think the last thing we can afford is a cease fire with their proxies in Lebanon, or to pull out of Iraq and give that country up to the Iranian-supported Shiite militias.

Of course, the phrase "african uranium" is sure to sow doubt in the hearts of many Americans. At least Joe Wilson got his 15-minutes of fame for setting us all up to be vaporized by an Iranian nuke.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey asks two important questions.

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