Con Coughlin of the London Telegraph reported on Sunday
that Syria's President Bashir al-Assad is in secret negotiations with Iran, attempting to gain safe haven for a group of nuclear scientists who were sent to Damascus just before the U.S.-led invasion overthrowing the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Asad is said by Western intelligence officials to be desperate to rid his country of the scientists because of fears that Syria may be the next target of Washington's War on Terror.
The report claims that the Iraqi scientists brought to Syria CDs crammed with research data on Saddam's nuclear program. Damascus gave them new identities, including Syrian citizenship papers and falsified birth, education and health certificates. Hidden away at a secret Syrian military installation, the scientists are said to be conducting research on behalf of their new hosts.
American intelligence has other reasons to be concerned about Syrian research into WMDs. Damascus has allegedly acquired, possibly from North Korea, several gas centrifuges, necessary for enriching uranium to make a nuclear weapon.
The terms of the deal offered to the Iranians involve the transfer of the Iraqi scientists to Teheran in exchange for the Iranians agreeing to share the results of their weapons research with Damascus.
In another frightening development, Teheran announced it was pressing ahead with plans to enrich 37 tons of uranium. Experts estimate that when the process is complete that the Iranians will have enough fissile material for five nuclear bombs.
Labels: Bashir al-Assad, DPRK, Iran, North Korea, Syria, uranium enrichment