Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Monday, March 10, that because the world chooses to slide over Iran’s concealed nuclear program, the next Klos C ship may not carry missiles but “nuclear suitcases.” They would not only reach an Israeli port, he said, but any port in the world.
He spoke at Israel’s naval base in Eilat at the presentation of the 60 missiles, 181 mortar shells and hundreds of bullets unloaded from the Klos C that was apprehended by Israeli commandos on the Red Sea opposite Sudan last week. Present too were defense minister Moshe Ya’alan, chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and top generals.
Netanyahu did not elaborate on his reference to nuclear suitcases.DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources link it to a shipment of 6-10 “nuclear suitcases” that were part of an illegal Ukraine delivery to Iran in 2003 or 2004 of half a dozen nuclear-capable X-55 cruise missiles (NATO codenamed AS-15) whose 2000-km range covers every part of Israel.
These nuclear suitcases were believed at the time by Western and Middle East intelligence sources to be an original development of Russian nuclear agencies.
In 2005, Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko confirmed the sale of the X-55 missiles to Iran and China – by his predecessor. But never referred to the nuclear suitcases; nor were they confirmed by Russia or the US.
Nuclear suitcases were designed as a mobile weapon of mass destruction for the easy transfer of tactical nuclear weapons or dirty bombs from place to place. It was therefore perfect for terrorists.
As for the missiles, Israel intelligence estimated that they were sold to Iran without nuclear warheads but with attached diagrams and specifications, so providing the technology whichr jumped Iran forward in its quest for a nuclear weapon.
The nuclear suitcases, too, were apparently sold without nuclear explosives.
All this means that Iran secretly possessed nuclear-capable, long-range missiles almost a decade ago.
The illicit Ukrainian transaction, hinted at by the prime minister, had additional murky and serpentine features. It is presumed that China which bought the same number of missiles as Iran footed the bill for both. To disguise the sale, Ukraine and Iran cooked the sales and shipping documents to show that the end-users of the weapons were Russian.
The forging of documents is clearly a common Iranian trick of concealment up to the present day. Along with the inventory of weapons unloaded from the Klos C, Israel displayed Monday fake Iranian shipping manifests designed to conceal the ship’s route from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Port Sudan en route for Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
The Prime minister implicitly rebuked EU Foreign Police Executive Catherine Ashton for failing to raise the Iranian weapons ship in her talks in Tehran Monday, when he said, “There is a shrill chorus of international condemnation when we build a balcony in Jerusalem, but scarcely a word when Iran tries to smuggle missiles into Gaza.”
IDF officers at the Eilat presentation pointed to four types of M-302 missiles shipped from Iran with ranges of 90, 120, 140 and 160 km, which could cover the distance from the Gaza Strip to Haifa. Invited to the presentation were also foreign diplomats and correspondents, although few of the latter attended.