Man Accused of Attempting Uranium Sale to Iran

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 23, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

An in­di­vidu­al from Si­erra Le­one is ac­cused of at­tempt­ing to trans­fer 1,000 met­ric tons of powdered urani­um “yel­low­cake” to U.S. op­er­at­ives dis­guised as would-be traf­fick­ers to Ir­an, Re­u­ters re­por­ted on Fri­day.

After au­thor­it­ies de­tained Patrick Camp­bell on Wed­nes­day at New York’s John F. Kennedy In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port, the 33-year-old al­legedly con­fessed to dis­cuss­ing the pos­sible deal, fed­er­al at­tor­neys said in a court fil­ing. He had a small amount of urani­um hid­den in his bag­gage at the time of his de­ten­tion, ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment.

A fed­er­al judge could im­pose on Camp­bell a max­im­um of $1 mil­lion in pen­al­ties and two dec­ades’ im­pris­on­ment if he is found guilty of charges in­clud­ing vi­ol­at­ing U.S. sanc­tions against Ir­an, which Wash­ing­ton sus­pects aims to de­vel­op a nuc­le­ar arms ca­pa­city un­der the guise of a peace­ful atom­ic en­ergy pro­gram.

Mined urani­um is suited for con­ver­sion in­to yel­low­cake, which in turn can yield urani­um hex­a­flu­or­ide suited for en­rich­ment in­to ma­ter­i­al for ci­vil­ian pur­poses or nuc­le­ar weapons.

Ir­an’s re­cently con­firmed top dip­lo­mat has said “the pos­ses­sion of nuc­le­ar arms doesn’t con­form with the in­terests of the coun­try and threatens the se­cur­ity of Ir­an,” Agence France-Presse re­por­ted on Fri­day.

“We will show the world that there is no threat from Ir­an,” For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­hammad Javad Za­rif said in com­ments re­por­ted by Ir­an’s Fars News Agency.

He sug­ges­ted, though, that “West­ern lead­ers have not un­der­stood” the bot­tom line of Pres­id­ent Has­san Rouh­ani’s vic­tory at the polls in June.

“They think the gov­ern­ment will waive [Ir­an’s atom­ic] rights,” Za­rif said. “The United States and European coun­tries must un­der­stand that the Ir­a­ni­an people will not give up their rights and no gov­ern­ment can af­ford to do it.

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