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No Conclusions Over ‘Removal’ At Iraqi Nuke Sites

UN Reports ‘Removal’ At Iraqi Nuclear Sites, But No Conclusions Can Yet Be Drawn

Satellite imagery reveals “significant dismantling and removal activities” at 37 Iraqi sites linked to Saddam Hussein’s clandestine nuclear programme since his fall two years ago, but without on-site inspections no conclusions can be drawn, the United Nations atomic watchdog says in its latest report.

Since the United States-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been largely absent from the country and has had to rely on satellite imagery and other analysis for its twice-yearly reports to the Security Council.

Previously it had carried out widespread inspections of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear installations in an effort to verify his obligation to destroy his weapons of mass destruction following the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

“In the course of this assessment, IAEA also focussed on areas where destroyed equipment from the former nuclear programme had bee stored or discarded,” the agency’s Director-General, Mohamed ElBaradei, says in the latest report. “Satellite imagery has indicated that at least one site containing buried contaminated rubble has been extensively excavated.

“The above assessments, however, need to be followed up through verification in Iraq in order for the Agency to draw conclusions,” he adds.

He also says the IAEA has received no additional information that could shed light on the more than 340 tons of high explosives subject to UN monitoring that the Iraqi authorities reported stolen from a Government facility last October.

© Scoop Media

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