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AQ Khan denies he sold blueprints

Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan on Tuesday denied selling blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon to Iran or North Korea, telling AFP that Western countries were to blame.

world Updated: Jun 17, 2008 23:26 IST

Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan on Tuesday denied selling blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon to Iran or North Korea, telling AFP that Western countries were to blame.

Khan’s comments came a day after a former arms inspector said in a report that the US and the UN atomic watchdog must be allowed to question Khan to learn if he sold the plans.

“This is all a lie, there is no truth in this. It is total bullshit,” Khan said by telephone from his Islamabad villa, where he has been kept under house arrest since confessing to proliferation activities in 2004.

“The Western countries are suppliers of the technology, they sold it, they are the proliferators.... Why don’t they publish juicy stories about Israel. There is not a single word about Israel on the nuclear issue,” he added.

Former UN arms inspector David Albright said on Monday, after details of his draft report appeared in US newspapers, that there was a danger that Khan might be released without having to answer questions about the sensitive blueprints.

The plans show how to build a warhead compact enough to fit on a ballistic missile.

“Khan may be released from house arrest. And we may never get to the bottom of this,” Albright told CNN television. “So I think it’s very important that we start to put pressure on the governments involved in this to find a way to get to the bottom of it.”

Khan was pardoned by President Pervez Musharraf in 2004 after making a televised statement admitting to passing nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya but has not been allowed out in public.

However, after Musharraf’s allies lost general elections in February, Khan retracted the confession and said that it was forced, while asserting he merely gave Tehran and Tripoli advice on where to get atomic know-how.

“The statement is just aimed at putting pressure on (the) Pakistan government. The story came when there were talks about removing restrictions on me,” said Khan, who was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.