Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 17:26 UK

Atom expert rejects weapon 'lies'

Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan (undated file photo)
Mr Khan said his research was not as advanced as Mr Albright claims

Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan has vigorously denied claims he provided a Swiss smuggling ring with blueprints for an advanced warhead.

Dr Khan dismissed as "lies" the allegations made on Monday by former UN arms inspector David Albright.

Mr Khan said the claims were a ploy to ensure he would be kept under house arrest, where he has been since admitting selling secrets in 2004.

In recent interviews he has retracted his confessions and denies wrongdoing.

He says he confessed to passing secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya only after receiving unspecified guarantees from the government.

But Mr Albright says the latest claims against Mr Khan are much more serious than the offences he admitted in 2004.

Swiss charges

The blueprints are designs for a highly-advanced warhead small enough to be carried on a ballistic missile, Mr Albright claims.

We did not work on any improvement or so-called miniaturisation
AQ Khan
Pakistani scientist

"It's a very different category of information, and it's very dangerous," he said.

"There is very little information of this quality out there outside of the nuclear weapons states."

Mr Albright says the Pakistani authorities should hold Mr Khan until he has been questioned fully about the blueprints.

But Mr Khan labelled the claims "rubbish", saying he and his team had never worked on such advanced weapons.

He told Reuters news agency that his lab had developed a "simple, functional weapon" in 1983 and carried out no further development.

"We did not go for advancement nor did we have the facility to do that... we did not work on any improvement or so-called miniaturisation."

The computers on which the drawings were found belonged to Swiss businessmen Friedrich Tinner and his sons Marco and Urs.

They are awaiting trial in Switzerland on charges connected to their alleged involvement in the smuggling ring.

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