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Apartheid Nukes: The Day After
One day after The Guardian's sensationalized report that Israel offered nuclear weapons to South Africa's apartheid regime, I'm seeing more indications -- some from South Africa -- that the allegations don't hold water.
I'll start off with the South African Press Association, which quoted former foreign minister Pik Botha:
"I doubt it very much," he said. "I doubt whether such an offer was ever made. I think I would have known about it." . . . .
But as minister of foreign affairs from April 1977, and, towards the end of his term, as negotiator with the US on the signing of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, he had known "what was going on."
"I was very closely connected with our Atomic Energy Board and later Corporation. I would have known about it," he said.
And Reuters reports:
Waldo Stumpf, the former head of South Africa's Nuclear Energy Corporation, who led the project to dismantle the country's nuclear weapons program, said he doubted Israel or South Africa would have contemplated a deal seriously.
"To even consider the possible international transfer of nuclear devices . . . in the political climate post the 1974 Indian 'peaceful' explosion, would have had very serious international complications," he said, referring to India's first nuclear test blast.
See also Jonathan Hoffman's reaction.
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I'd like to think that reactions like this would stop agencies like the Guardian and the BBC pulling accusations against Israel out of thin air, but I'm not a fantasist.