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Britain asks Pakistan to allow IAEA access to A Q Khan

H S Rao in London | February 06, 2009 23:49 IST

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Hours after A Q Khan's release from house arrest, Britain on Friday asked Pakistan to grant International Atomic Energy Agency access to the disgraced atomic scientist to question him on his proliferation activities, particularly transferring nuclear know-how to countries like Iran and North Korea.

"We note the reports of the court ruling to release A Q Khan from house arrest. We continue to call on the Pakistani government to allow the IAEA access to Khan in order to seek information about his nuclear proliferation activities, in particular the smuggling of secrets to Iran and North Korea," a British Foreign Office spokesperson said in a brief statement in London [Images].

72-year-old Khan, wanted for questioning by the United States and other investigators, after his release from house arrest said he was "not obliged" to answer to any foreigner or anybody, except his government.

The US had last month slapped sanctions on Khan, 12 associates and three firms and barred them from doing business with the American government or private companies while pledging to work for squeezing out the entire network.

Khan was put under house arrest in February 2004 after he spoke on state-run PTV about running a proliferation ring that supplied nuclear equipment and know-how to countries like Libya, Iran and North Korea.

Khan was pardoned in 2004 by then Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf [Images]. Khan retracted the confession last year, saying it was made under pressure.

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