Category Archives: Kazakhstan

Nazarbayev on K’Stan, the NPT, and Iran

Receiving Israeli President Shimon Peres in Astana today, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev “gave an assurance”: that “no nuclear material will reach Iran from our territory.” That’s good to know, since Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been “courting Kazakhstan”: recently, visiting Astana in early April.

The President of K’stan also took a moment to reflect on the legacy of his own country’s “nuclear disarmament”:

bq. “After independence 18 years ago, Kazakhstan voluntarily gave up the fourth-largest nuclear stockpile in the world. We set an example for the world, but unfortunately that example wasn’t followed,” he said.

According to the “version of his remarks”:,7340,L-3739226,00.html in _Yediot Ahronot,_ he added that “The Non-Proliferation Treaty lacks teeth.”

_Kazakhstan Today_ quoted Nazarbayev describing his country as a “victim of nuclear weapons”:

bq. “Kazakhstan itself suffered from the consequences of the nuclear tests – for 49 years. More than one million Kazakhstan citizens suffered from radiation due to the explosions on the Semipalatinsk range, therefore, the issue of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons – for us very important,” the President of Kazakhstan said.

Meanwhile, the _Jerusalem Post_ shared this “worthwhile anecdote”:

bq. “When (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad was here for a state visit, I told him that even if he had enough material for 10 nuclear bombs, it wouldn’t bring him security. We improved our security by giving up nukes.”

Here’s hoping that Iran’s President isn’t a “Spinal Tap”: fan.

Iran and Kazakhstan: BFF?

Lost in the noise over “National Nuclear Technology Day”: was some of the diplomatic news around that time. The Syrian foreign minister visited Iran and affirmed Iran’s right to enrich uranium. Just a couple of days before, -so did- the President of Kazakhstan affirmed Iran’s right to “use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes” during a visit there by Ahmadinejad. But that wasn’t all.

“According to Payvand News”:

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev stressed Iran’s right on Monday to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The Kazak president made the statement after his private talks with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who arrived in Astana on Monday for a two-day official visit.

The two presidents attended a joint press conference after discussing ways to further develop Tehran-Astana relations and cooperation.


Referring to the issue of establishing a nuclear fuel bank, a proposal backed by the US, Nazarbayev voiced Kazakhstan’s readiness to establish the bank.

“If a nuclear fuel bank is to be established, Kazakhstan has the ability to do so,” Nazarbayev said.

That’s interesting, because Iran has enrichment technology but precious little uranium, whereas “Kazakhstan has heaps and heaps of uranium”:, but no enrichment technology. (It currently “depends on Russia”: for enrichment services.)

I’m not sure this is what the Obama Administration had in mind, actually…

Update: “according to the WSJ”:, the Obama Administration is considering precisely this option: a fuel bank based in Kazakhstan, with Iran as its most important stakeholder. The article says that the fuel bank would be open to countries that “renounce nuclear weapons,” but Iran, as an NPT NNWS, has done so; the question is whether the stakeholders renounce national nuclear fuel cycles. Otherwise, it’s a case of “having one’s yellowcake and eating it, too”: