Former Soviet bloc scientists played key role in developing Iran nukes

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Russian scientist Vyacheslav Danilenko is said to have helped Iran develop a nuclear warhead design for the Shihab-3 intermediate-range ballistic missile, above. / Mohammad Hassanzadeh/FARS

LONDON — After years of suspicion, Western intelligence agencies have confirmed that former Soviet scientists had provided significant help to Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

NATO intelligence agencies have concluded that the former Soviet Union and its neighbors allowed hundreds of scientists to work in Iran and work to enhance Teheran’s nuclear weapons program.

Intelligence sources said the Kremlin ignored reports that its nuclear scientists as well as those from neighboring Belarus and Ukraine were receiving handsome salaries and benefits to resolve technical challenges facing Teheran.

“For years, we received reports that former Soviet scientists were being recruited through various fronts to work in Iran,” an intelligence source said. “But only over the last year did the significance of their contribution become apparent.”

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