He would know. He says he met with them about it … fifteen years ago.
The lede is buried ten paragraphs in:
Although analysts are divided on how soon Iran might have nuclear weapons, Beg said he is sure Iran has had enough time to develop them. But he insists the Pakistani government didn’t help, even though he says former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto once told him the Iranians offered more than $4 billion for the technology.
Beg was chief of staff when Pakistan was working on the bomb. As such, he’d have been the man to see. And see him Iran allegedly did:
In the AP interview, Beg detailed nearly 20 years of Iranian approaches to obtain conventional arms and then technology for nuclear weapons. He described an Iranian visit in 1990, when he was army chief of staff.
“They didn’t want the technology. They asked: ‘Can we have a bomb?’ My answer was: By all means you can have it but you must make it yourself. Nobody gave it to us.”…
Another angle on these early contacts comes from Tanvir Ahmed, Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran from 1987-1989. He said he had a rare meeting with Iran’s nuclear inner circle in January 1988.
“It was the only time I was allowed in the inner sanctum of the nuclear discussions. I was asked to a lunch. … they wanted to know whether Pakistan would help them on the nuclear side. They never said they wanted nuclear weapons. They said they wanted to master the nuclear cycle,” Ahmed recalled.
Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuke program, has admitted to providing weapons technology to Iran — reportedly at the behest of … Mirza Aslam Beg.
Can we trust Beg? According to the AP, their interview with him was conducted several weeks ago. Among other things, he claimed that the Iranians had been to see him recently and asked what they should do to deter an American attack. He suggested announcing that Iran would respond to any attack with a counterattack on Israel.
Here’s what Iran ended up doing.