Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has offered to share nuclear expertise with Algeria following a meeting with Algerian energy minister Shakib Khalil. Algeria is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which supports Iran's nuclear activities.
Concerns that Algeria might be developing a nuclear weapons program erupted after an American surveillance satellite photographed a large nuclear reactor under construction in the desert in 1991. The Algerian government succumbed to international pressure and agreed to sign an inspection protocol with the IAEA in 1992, a pact that was further strengthened in a 1996 deal. Algeria also signed the NPT in 1995. Despite these safeguards and the presence of inspectors, intelligence agencies in the West continue to express concern.
"The Algerian nuclear program, originally conceived with a clear military purpose, continues to equip itself with the installations necessary to carry out all the activities linked to the complete cycle for obtaining military grade plutonium, a key element in a nuclear arms program," the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists quoted a 1998 report from Cesid, the Spanish intelligence agency, as saying.