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Pakistan's Top Nuclear Expert Admits Selling Technology - 2004-02-02


Officials in Pakistan say the founder of their nation's nuclear program has admitted he transferred nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. The unnamed officials told Pakistani reporters late Sunday that Adbul Qadeer Khan made the confession in a written statement submitted to authorities.

According to the officials, Mr. Khan admitted the nuclear secrets were leaked between 1989 and 2000 -- without the knowledge of the government.

Six of Mr. Khan's colleagues are also said to have confessed to leaking nuclear technology.

The Pakistani government launched an investigation last November, after the International Atomic Energy Agency began discovering links between Pakistan and nuclear research programs in Iran and Libya.

On Saturday, authorities announced that Mr. Khan had been removed from his prestigious post as a scientific adviser to the prime minister.

Mr. Khan played a major leading role in developing Pakistan's nuclear-weapons program, culminating in a series of successful nuclear tests in 1998. He remains an immensely popular figure at home.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said anyone found guilty of engaging in illegal nuclear proliferation would be dealt with harshly, as an "enemy of the state."

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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