U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler and
(both D-N.Y.) and 13 other members of Congress have sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging her to investigate reports that
Egypt, Syria and
Saudi Arabia may be pursuing nuclear weapons programs.
Citing press reports as the basis for his suspicion, Nadler wrote that “the nuclear ambitions of Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia require serious and immediate
international attention. Secretary Rice should make this issue a priority as she meets with European leaders this week.”
Besides by Nadler and Weiner, the Feb. 3 letter was cosigned by Reps. Timothy Bishop (D-NY) Burton (R-IN), Crowley (D-NY), Evans (D-IL),
Grijalva (D-AZ), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Holden (D-PA), Holmes Norton (D-DC),, Maloney
(D-NY), Markey (D-MA), Meek (D-FL), Strickland (D-OH), Wynn (D-MD).
Here is the text:
Dear Secretary Rice:
We are seriously concerned that Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia may be conducting clandestine nuclear
weapons programs. As you know, A.Q. Khan, widely regarded as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear
weapons program, confessed to having been involved in an international network of nuclear
proliferation from Pakistan to Libya, Iran and North Korea. Nearly a year after A. Q. Khan’s
arrest, secrets of his nuclear supermarket continue to unravel, revealing that A.Q. Khan and his
network might have offered assistance in designing and building nuclear weapons to Egypt, Syria,
and Saudi Arabia.
On November 25, 2004, the New York Times reported that A.Q. Khan visited 18 countries, including
Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, either to buy materials such as uranium ore or to sell atomic goods.
In an interview with the Jerusalem Post on January 1, 2005, former chief of
intelligence agency Ephraim Halevy stated that he believes Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt might have
acquired nuclear parts from A.Q. Khan. Two days later, the Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli
military sources stated that, thanks to A.Q. Khan, one of those three Arab states now has the
potential to achieve a "significant nuclear leap."
Additionally, other serious revelations suggest that Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia have secretly
pursued nuclear weapons programs, including:
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in January 2005, that it has found
evidence of Egypt’s nuclear ambitions. The IAEA discovered that Egypt conducted secret nuclear
experiments performed as recently as a year ago. Samples of the plutonium found in Egypt have now
been sent by the IAEA to labs in Europe for analysis to determine how old the material is and where
was it produced.
During a Sino-Egyptian summit in February, 2001, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak signed
a peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement with China. That same year, press reports indicated that
China was helping Egypt mine uranium in the Sinai desert.
The independent Center for Non-Proliferation Studies in Monterey, California, published a
report in November 2004 stating that Egypt’s "active nuclear research program and recent activities
and acquisitions aimed at developing an independent nuclear fuel cycle could provide cover and
opportunity for developing a clandestine weapons program."
According to Western intelligence sources quoted by the Los Angeles Times in June 2004,
A.Q. Khan visited Syria several times, and met secretly with senior Syrian officials in Iran.
On September 16, 2004, John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control &
International Security, testified that, "... we are concerned about Syria's nuclear R&D program and
continue to watch for any sign of nuclear weapons activity or foreign assistance that could
facilitate a Syrian nuclear weapons capability. We [the Department of State] are aware of Syrian
efforts to acquire dual-use technologies that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program."
According to a December 2001 unclassified Central Intelligence Agency report entitled
“Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat Through 2015,” Syria continues to
promote nuclear, chemical and biological programs.
· In September, 2003, the British newspaper The Guardian alleged serious efforts on the
part of Saudi Arabia to acquire nuclear weapons.
· Saudi and Pakistani high-level defense officials have met repeatedly during the last
several years, raising questions about the extent of Saudi-Pakistani cooperation in defense matters
and possible clandestine nuclear cooperation.
· Saudi defector Mohammed Khilevi, who was First Secretary of the Saudi mission to the
United Nations until July 1994, claimed that Saudi Arabia provided financial contributions to the
Pakistani nuclear program.
.In October, 2003, the Washington Times cited Major-General Aharon Zeevi, a senior
intelligence officer of the Israeli defense forces, alleging that the Saudis had gone to Islamabad
with the intention of buying Pakistani warheads to be placed on Saudi land-based missiles.
We remain deeply troubled that Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia may be attempting to build clandestine
nuclear weapons arsenals. In view of this, we request that the Department of State work with the
appropriate international agencies to investigate and monitor their nuclear programs, and report
back on their findings and preventive measures.
It is imperative that Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia comply with their nuclear nonproliferation
treaty obligations and agreements, and that the stability of the Middle East not be compromised.