Mississippi governor Haley Barbour once called Iran the “number one threat to peace and stability. Today, he might be regretting those remarks.
According to the Huffington Post, it turns out that Barbour has ties, albeit somewhat roundabout ones, with Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
HuffPo explains the connection:
Barbour’s lobby shop, BGR Group, represents a Russian bank that has financed a company that helped build Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.
The Bushehr plant was Iran’s first nuclear reactor and for some time considered a possible source of plutonium that could be used to manufacture nuclear weapons. Recently, however, the plant is no longer considered a threat.
According to the story, the Russian bank Alfa Bank, which is a client of BGR, provided “loans and other client services,” though it denies being a “primary source of financing Iran’s nuclear program.”
“Just because Alfa bank had a line of credit with an entity that did business with Iran does not make Alfa a financier of Iran’s nuclear program,” Jeffrey Birnbaum, a spokesman with BGR, told HuffPo via email. “The last time Alfa had any contact with any part of this was way back in 2008.”
It’s unclear what relationship BGR and Alfa Bank had or how aware Barbour was of the connection. But Barbour, on many occasions, has criticised Iran’s nuclear program. In a 2011 speech in Israel, Barbour said Iran’s goal is to destroy Western civilisation.
“For those who care about Israel, or about the Western world for that matter, we must recognise and focus on Iran as the crucial strategic issue: Iranian support of terrorism, its destabilization of governments, its military nuclear program, and its goal of eradicating Israel and, frankly, of destroying Western civilisation and its foundational values,” Barbour said. “It’s important to debate the Iranian threat. At a minimum, it should lead to a strategic consensus not just in Israel but in the world: Today, the number one threat to peace and stability is Iran.”
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