In 1975, Abdul Qadeer Khan – an engineering graduate from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium – stole plans for a uranium enrichment centrifuge from his workplace in the Netherlands. By 1976, he was heading up Pakistan’s nuclear weapons research team.
When Saddam Hussein launched his own effort to develop weapons of mass destruction in the 1990s, it was Rihab Rashid Taha al-Azawi – an alumnus of the University of East Anglia – who took the helm.
With precedents such as these, it is little wonder that when the international community became convinced that the Islamic Republic of Iran was seeking to build the bomb, UN Security Council Resolution 1737 was passed, prohibiting, inter alia, UN member states from allowing Iranian citizens to acquire information or technology which might assist Tehran’s nuclear weapons programme.
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Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Morten Messerschmidt – a Danish MEP and one of the 34 members of the UKIP-led Europe of Freedom and Democracy group in the European Parliament – has taken the European Commission to task over the offensive remarks made by EU foreign policy chief Cathy Ashton on the day that an Islamist gunman killed 4 Jews outside a school in Toulouse. Below is Mr Messerschmidt’s written question, submitted on 22 March:
The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, has been quoted in a number of media sources as making the following remarks at a meeting with young Palestinians: ‘When we think about what happened today in Toulouse, we remember what happened in Norway last year, we know what is happening in Syria, and we see what is happening in Gaza and other places’.
– Does the Commission consider it appropriate that its Vice-President, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, is comparing the tragic killings of the Jewish children in Toulouse with children unfortunately killed in Gaza and the mass murders committed on Utøya in Norway last year? Does the whole Commission support these remarks?
– Does the Commission agree that there is a difference, both legally and morally, between the unintentional killing of children in Gaza and a perpetrator’s deliberate killing of children and young people in France and Norway, or a cynical government’s atrocities against its own population in Syria?
– Does the Commission hold the view, as must logically follow from the High Representative’s remarks, that Israel kills children in Gaza deliberately?
– Has the Commission, in light of this, changed policy so that it no longer recognises Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism, in connection with which children may be unintentional victims?
– Does the Commission consider it dignified and acceptable that its top diplomat is using a tragic event that has shocked the whole of France to please Palestinian young people who happened to be meeting the High Representative on the same day?
– Is the President of the Commission thinking of intervening, either by deploring his Vice-President’s remarks or by asking for the remarks to be retracted with an apology?