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      IDF Intelligence Overheard Iran and Pakistan's Nuke Deals

      First Publish: 3/2/2004, 10:28 PM / Last Update: 3/3/2004, 12:21 AM

      A report by the New Yorker credits Israel with intercepting coded communication between Pakistan and Iran leading to the exposure of the international black market for nuclear-weapons material.

      “Israeli signals-intelligence agency, known as Unit 8200, broke a sophisticated Iranian code and began monitoring communications that included talk between Iran and Pakistan about Iran’s burgeoning nuclear-weapons program,” says the New Yorker report. “The Israeli intelligence community has many covert contacts inside Iran, stemming from the strong ties it had there before the overthrow of the Shah, in 1979; some of these ties still exist.”

      The report alleges that the reason no outrage has emanated from the United States over Pakistan’s recent pardon of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program – who recently admitted to being “solely responsible for operating an international black market in nuclear-weapons materials”- stems from a deal allowing U.S. troops to go after Osama Bin Laden in Pakistani territory.

      It also draws an alarming picture of a web of deception and nuclear proliferation that has spread throughout the Arab world, with the main culprits seemingly immune to international action by merit of Pakistan’s cooperation in the U.S. war effort.

      “The Israeli intercepts have been shared, in some form, with the United States intelligence community,” reads the report, “and they show that high-level officials in Islamabad and Tehran had frequent conversations about the I.A.E.A. investigation and its implications.”

      The report concluded that, “It’s clear from the intercepts… that Iran did not want to give up its nuclear potential. The Pakistani response was, ‘Don’t give away the whole ballgame and we’ll look out for you’.”