Argentina may have sold Israel material necessary for making a nuclear bomb in the 1960s, Foreign Policy reported on Monday, citing newly-published American archival documents.
has never clearly admitted to having a nuclear weapons program in the
country, although it is has been estimated that the Jewish State has
dozens of nuclear warheads.
According to the report in Foreign Policy,
Argentina sold Israel 80-100 tons of "yellowcake" uranium in 1964.
Yellowcake, a concentrated uranium powder produced in countries in which
uranium ore is mined, can be further processed to make weapons-grade
uranium which can be used to make nuclear bombs.
concerned with the weaponization of Israel's nuclear program at the
time, and was concerned over the sale of the yellowcake by Argentina to
Israel, but was unable to prevent the sale, according to the report.
archival documents show the efforts to which Israel went to cultivate
relations with nuclear suppliers and the concern that the US, as well as
Canada and Britain had regarding Israel's nuclear program.
to the report, the US was concerned that Israeli possession of nuclear
weapons would destabilize the Middle East and hurt worldwide efforts to
limit proliferation. Israel had said publicly that their nuclear program
was for peaceful purposes only and US representatives secretly visited
the Dimona core in 1963 to verify this. A US team arrived to inspect the
facility in January 1964, but Israel hid the true nature of the
project, according to the report.
In addition to the yellowcake
sale by Argentina, the US also investigated in 1965 reports that the
French uranium company in the African nation of Gabon may have sold
uranium to Israel. They were unable to determine if a sale had taken
The US attempted to gain more information about the yellowcake purchases from then-Israeli foreign minister Abba Eben, but he evaded the line of questioning according to Foreign Policy
. However, the US took no further action to counter the Israeli evasions, monitoring nuclear developments only through visits to the core in Dimona.