Summary of claims
Department, 12 September 2002, p.9: "A new report released on
September 9, 2002 from the International Institute for Strategic Studies
- an independent research organization - concludes that Saddam Hussein
could build a nuclear bomb within months if he were able to obtain fissile
October 2002, p.1: "If Baghdad acquires sufficient weapons-grade
fissile material from abroad, it could make a nuclear weapon within a
year. Without such material from abroad, Iraq probably would not be able
to make a weapon until the last half of the decade."
Evaluation. The key component of any fission bomb is the
fissile material. According to the Nuclear Control Institute (nci.org/heu.htm),
"With bomb-grade, high-enriched uranium (HEU), a student could make
a bomb powerful enough to destroy a city". According to the Federation
of American Scientists (p.61), "More than 90 percent of
the entire Manhattan Project budget went to the production of fissile
materials; less than 4 percent went to the weapon laboratory at
Los Alamos." As a result, nuclear safeguards concentrate on
preventing the transfer of plutonium-239 and highly enriched uranium
(uranium containing 90% or more of uranium-235), and on enrichment
technology. Once the fissile core has been obtained, a crude nuclear
device can be assembled with a gun-like tube and high explosive;
or alternatively with a series of detonators and high explosives
shaped as lenses. None of these technological problems would pose
a serious difficulty to a well-resourced scientist, working without
Therefore, the claim that Iraq could rapidly develop a nuclear
bomb if it managed to acquire fissile material seems to be accurate.
It is also verging on being a tautology. However, the controls on
fissile material and the presence of international inspectors inside
Iraq render the possibility of Iraq's effective development of a
nuclear device very low. Furthermore, there have been no claims
that Iraq has actually attempted to import fissile material since
1991, and the known fissile material within Iraq prior to that date
has been fully
accounted for by the IAEA.
Results of UN inspections: 45 days after the commencement
of nuclear inspections, Time Magazine put the point to the
IAEA's Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei: "The Bush Administration
has repeatedly said Iraq is very close to owning a nuclear bomb."
"I hope the U.S. does not know anything we do not know.
If they do, they should tell us. If they are talking about indigenous
capability, Iraq is far away from that. If Iraq has imported material
hidden, then you're talking about six months or a year. But that's
a big if [...]. I think it's difficult for Iraq to hide a complete
nuclear-weapons program. They might be hiding some computer studies
or [research and development] on one single centrifuge. These
are not enough to make weapons."
Time Magazine, "Q&A
with the Top Sleuth", 12 January 2003.
A summary of the IAEA's position was presented by ElBaradei to
the Security Council on 7
"After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to
date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival
of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq."
Key post-war readings: International Atomic Energy Agency,
of United Nations Security
Council Resolutions Relating to Iraq: Report by the Director General",
8 August 2003:
"While investigations could not be completed due to the
lack of time, no indication of post-1991 weaponization activities
was uncovered in Iraq. The Agency observed a substantial degradation
in facilities, financial resources and programmes throughout Iraq
that might support a nuclear infrastructure."
Existing and/or rebuilt facilities
Department, 12 September 2002, p.10: "Iraq has withheld documentation
relevant to its past nuclear program, including data about enrichment
techniques, foreign procurement, weapons design, experimental data, and
technical documents. Iraq still has [...] some of the infrastructure needed
to pursue its goal of building a nuclear weapon."
Evaluation. The claim that Iraq has withheld documents,
either by design or by neglect, seems to be plausible, but as the
content of its dossier of December 2002 has not been made publicly
available, it is not possible to assess this assertion. With regard
to the claim that Iraq still has some of the infrastructure to build
a nuclear weapon, a spokesperson of the IAEA said:
"Saddam's team of nuclear scientists still lack the fissile material
to complete the bomb, and there have been no indications from
satellite imagery of any attempt to build a facility capable of
enriching uranium to bomb-grade quality. For that complex process
the Iraqis would need substantial infrastructure and a power supply
that could be spotted by American spy satellites."
in The Times, 29 August 2002).
Results of UN inspections. Although confirming that the
process of inspections was still in its early stages, the Director
General of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei was quoted
by Reuters on 18 December 2002 saying that: "No evidence has
surfaced so far that facilities have been changed since 1998 ".
He reaffirmed this view on 6 January 2003, when he said that United
Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq had found nothing suspicious
so far, and there was no evidence that Iraq had lied in its declarations
on nuclear arms (quoted
in the Financial Times, 7 January).
ElBaradei was more forthright in his update
to the Security Council on 27 January 2003 (paras.65 and 71):
"In the first eight weeks of inspections, the IAEA has visited
all sites identified by it or by States as significant. No
evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities
at those locations has been detected to date during these inspections,
although not all of the laboratory results of sample analysis
are yet available. Nor have the inspections thus far revealed
signs of new nuclear facilities or direct support to any nuclear
"The IAEA expects to be able, within the next few months,
barring exceptional circumstances and provided there is sustained
proactive cooperation by Iraq, to provide credible assurance that
Iraq has no nuclear weapons programme."
of Defense, 8 October 2002, slide 25: claimed al-Qaim plant was "currently
Evaluation. The facilities of al-Qaim, Iraq's only uranium
extraction facility based 400 km to the west of Baghdad and near
the Syrian border, were destroyed in 1991. A number of journalists
have since visited al-Qaim and have found it in a state of disrepair.
Paul McGeough, the much-respected Middle East correspondent of the
Sydney Morning Herald, wrote
on 4 September 2002 that the site appeared to be a "near-vacant
lot [...] as the result of a clean-up supervised by the [IAEA]".
Reuters reporters have confirmed the same impression.
Results of UN inspections. Inspectors from the IAEA visited
al-Qaim on 10-11 December 2002, and reported
on their on-going monitoring of the destroyed plant. A further inspection
took place on 7
Bush, 7 October 2002: "Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq
is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program
in the past."
Evaluation. The satellite photos referred to by President
Bush were published in the New York Times on 6 September
2002, and were cited at a press conference on 7 September 2002 with
Tony Blair and George Bush. Mr Blair proclaimed
that these commercial satellite photographs showed new buildings
had been constructed at a former nuclear weapons site in Iraq, and
that this showed that the "threat is real" of Iraq's continuing
nuclear programmes. The location discussed was not identified by
Blair and Bush, but is believed to be Tuweitha (the site
called Osirak by its French constructors, 25 km southeast of Baghdad).
The IAEA, to whom both leaders attributed the photos, put out a
that "it has no new information on Iraq's nuclear programme
since December 1998 when its inspectors left Iraq".
Results of UN inspection. Tuweitha has been visited by inspectors
from the IAEA repeatedly since November 2002, and no suspicious
findings have been reported. The IAEA has reported on inspections
of the Tuweitha site on 6
December 2002 and, more extensively, on 9
December 2002. After a further visit, on 20 December 2002, an IAEA
/ UNMOVIC joint press statement concluded that "the former
Tuwaitha nuclear complex [..] now conducts civilian research in
the non-nuclear field". Further radiation testing at the site
has been conducted by the IAEA on 21
January 2003, and an aerial inspection took place on 31
January 2003. An inspection of previously inaccessible sites
at the Tuweitha site was conducted on 15
A more detailed description of Tuweitha was provided by Kim Sengupta
in The Independent:
"The remains of the three reactors destroyed in 1981 by
the Israelis, and then a decade later in the Gulf War, by the
Americans, have been left by the Iraqis. [....] Officials were
keen to show the supposedly clandestine construction which so
alarmed Mr Blair. They appeared to be no more than a few sheds.
Nor were there overt signs of the infrastructure needed to enrich
uranium for nuclear weapons. "
"Inspectors Find Only Mushrooms Amid Ruins Of Bombed Reactor",
The Independent (5 December 2002), at: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=358616
The IAEA inspection of the sites referred to by Tony Blair and
George Bush was confirmed by the Director General of the IAEA, Mohamed
ElBaradei, in his briefing
to the Security Council on 9 January 2003:
"The inspections have included facilities identified through
commercial satellite imagery as having been modified or constructed
since 1998, in addition to some new locations. [...] no
evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities
has been detected." (paras. 4 and 16; emphasis added).
This view was confirmed and enlarged upon by ElBaradei in his update
to the Security Council on 27 January 2003 (para.35):
"Drawing from satellite imagery and other information available
to it, the IAEA identified a number of sites, some of which had
been associated with Iraq's past nuclear activities, where modifications
of possible relevance to the IAEA's mandate had been made, or
new buildings constructed, between 1998 and 2002. Eight of these
sites were identified by States as being locations where nuclear
activities were suspected of being conducted. All of these sites
were inspected to ascertain whether there had been developments
in technical capabilities, organization, structure, facility boundaries
or personnel. In general, the IAEA has observed that, while a
few sites have improved their facilities and taken on new personnel
over the past four years, at the majority of these sites (which
had been involved in research, development and manufacturing)
the equipment and laboratories have deteriorated to such a degree
that the resumption of nuclear activities would require substantial
renovation. The IAEA has found no signs of nuclear activity
at any of these sites."
A more concise assessment was provided by ElBaradei to the Security
Council on 7
"There is no indication of resumed nuclear activities in
those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite
imagery as being reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor
any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any
24 September 2002, p.21: "Iraq has built a large new
chemical complex, Project Baiji, in the desert in north west Iraq at
al-Sharqat. This site is a former uranium enrichment facility which
was damaged during the Gulf War and rendered harmless under supervision
of the IAEA. Part of the site has been rebuilt, with work starting in
1992, as a chemical production complex. Despite the site being far away
from populated areas it is surrounded by a high wall with watch towers
and guarded by armed guards. Intelligence reports indicate that it will
produce nitric acid which can be used in explosives, missile fuel and
in the purification of uranium."
This plant is highlighted also in Department
of Defense, 8 October 2002.
Evaluation. According to an IAEA
report of January 1994, al-Sharqat is the principle supplier
of sulphuric and nitric acid to Iraqi industries. The UK dossier
does not claim that the nitric acid produced at al-Sharqat is
used in the production of illicit weapons, merely that nitric
acid "can be used" in missile fuel and in purifying
uranium. It later changed its name to al-Hadar State Company.
Results of UN inspection. al-Sharqat was inspected by
an UNMOVIC chemical team on 2
January 2003, and by a joint IAEA-UNMOVIC team on 12
January 2003. The overall assessment of Iraq's facilities
provided by the IAEA is recounted above, in the section on Iraq's
UK dossier, 24
September 2002, p.25: "there is intelligence that Iraq has sought
the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Iraq has
no active civil nuclear power programme or nuclear power plants and therefore
has no legitimate reason to acquire uranium."
Department, 19 December 2002: "The [Iraqi] Declaration
ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger. Why is the Iraqi regime
hiding their uranium procurement?"
House, January 2003, p.5: "The [Iraqi] Declaration ignores
efforts to procure uranium from abroad."
Powell, 26 January 2003: "Why is Iraq still trying to
procure uranium [...]?"
Evaluation. Iraq is indeed known to have sought to import
significant quantities of uranium (yellowcake) from Niger; this
was in 1981-82. The absence of any detail in the reports cited above
- such as the year (or even the decade) in which this purported
attempt to obtain uranium, and the quality of the uranium sought
- may indicate that this is the incident referred to by the UK dossier
and the State Department. According
to a retired senior official who spoke to AFP, Niger cannot export
uranium without the consent of its three partners, France, Japan
and Spain. Niger's Prime Minister has stated that permission was
not granted for uranium to be sold to Iraq (Voice
of America, 27 December 2002).
The Director General of the IAEA indicated in his briefing
to the Security Council (9 January 2003, para.12) that he had
not received "any specific information" from the States
making these allegations. This point was expanded upon in an interview
on 12 January 2003: "There were reports from different
member states that [...] [the Iraqis] were importing uranium from
Africa [...]. They deny they have imported any uranium since 1991.
(From) the U.S., the U.K. and others we need to get specifics
of when and where. We need actionable information."
March 2003, ElBaradei revealed to the Security Council that
the allegations were centred around "documents provided by
a number of States that pointed to an agreement between Niger and
Iraq for the sale of uranium between 1999 and 2001." After
reviewing the evidence extensively - including "correspondence
coming from various bodies of the Government of Niger" - and
"compar[ing] the form, format, contents and signatures of that
correspondence with those of the alleged procurement-related documentation",
ElBaradei gave his assessment of the reliability of this information:
"the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside
experts, that these documents - which formed the basis for the
reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger
- are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded
that these specific allegations are unfounded."
ElBaradei concluded: "There is no indication that Iraq has
attempted to import uranium since 1990."
Key post-war readings:
- Seymour M. Hersh, "Who
lied to whom?", The New Yorker, 31 March 2003.
- Joseph C. Wilson, "What
I Didn't Find in Africa", The New York Times,
6 July 2003.
- Walter Pincus, "White
House Backs Off Claim on Iraqi Buy", Washington Post,
8 July 2003.
- Dana Priest, "Uranium
Claim Was Known for Months to Be Weak: Intelligence Officials
Say 'Everyone Knew' Then What White House Knows Now About Niger
Reference", Washington Post, 20 July 2003.
- David Pallister, "Uranium
that never was", The Guardian, 31 July 2003.
- Walter Pincus, "Bush
Team Kept Airing Iraq Allegation: Officials Made Uranium Assertions
Before and After President's Speech", Washington Post,
8 August 2003.
- Seymour M. Hersh, forthcoming, The New Yorker, 22 October
Department, 12 September 2002, p.9: "Iraq has stepped up its
quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials
to make an atomic bomb. In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy
thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes which officials believe
were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium."
24 September 2002, p.26: "Iraq has also made repeated
attempts covertly to acquire a very large quantity (60,000 or more) of
specialised aluminium tubes. The specialised aluminium in question is
subject to international export controls because of its potential application
in the construction of gas centrifuges used to enrich uranium, although
there is no definitive intelligence that it is destined for a nuclear
October 2002, pp.1-2: "Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain proscribed
high-strength aluminum tubes are of significant concern. All intelligence
experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons and that these tubes
could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program. Most intelligence specialists
assess this to be the intended use, but some believe that these tubes
are probably intended for conventional weapons programs. Based on tubes
of the size Iraq is trying to acquire, a few tens of thousands of centrifuges
would be capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a couple
of weapons per year."
Bush, 7 October 2002: "Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength
aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are
used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."
Bush, 28 January 2003: "Our intelligence sources tell
us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable
for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained
these activities. He clearly has much to hide."
Powell, 5 February 2003: "[Saddam Hussein] has made repeated
covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different
countries, even after inspections resumed. These tubes are controlled
by the Nuclear Suppliers Group precisely because they can be used as centrifuges
for enriching uranium. [...] Most U.S. experts think they are intended
to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium. [...] all the
experts who have analyzed the tubes in our possession agree that they
can be adapted for centrifuge use. [...] First, it strikes me as quite
odd that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds
U.S. requirements for comparable rockets. [...] Second, we actually have
examined tubes from several different batches that were seized clandestinely
before they reached Baghdad. What we notice in these different batches
is a progression to higher and higher levels of specification, including,
in the latest batch, an anodized coating on extremely smooth inner and
outer surfaces. Why would they continue refining the specifications, go
to all that trouble for something that, if it was a rocket, would soon
be blown into shrapnel when it went off?".
Department, 27 February 2003: "Iraq has repeatedly sought
to illegally procure aluminum tubes controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers
Group, that are consistent with its pre-Gulf War design to enrich uranium."
Evaluation. David Albright, former IAEA inspector and director
of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS),
has argued that the aluminium tubes are more likely to be used in
the making of conventional artillery rockets. According to an ISIS
- Iraq has imported the same form of aluminium tubes from the
1980s onwards, for non-nuclear purposes.
- That steel or carbon fibre tubes would have been more suitable
if Iraq had been planning to use them in the construction of gas
centrifuges. Iraq had previously invested in developing steel
and carbon fibre parts for its nuclear programme before 1990.
- These tubes are not critical centrifuge components; the most
advanced components (rotors, end caps, bearings) would still need
to be imported if Iraq was intent on building gas centrifuges.
(ISIS report, "Aluminum Tubing..", 23 September 2002,
updated on 27 September; at: www.isis-online.org/publications/iraq/aluminumtubes.html).
In its declaration to the UN on 7 December 2002, Iraq "provided
information on a short-range rocket that is manufactured using 81
mm aluminium tubes", according to Hans Blix, Executive Chairman
of UNMOVIC, in his notes
for briefing the Security Council of 19 December 2002. UNMOVIC
has not yet been able to test the accuracy of this part of the declaration.
Results of UN inspection. The view that the tubes are used
for rockets was provisionally endorsed by the Director General of
the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, in his comments
to the press on 9 January 2003:
"We are investigating their efforts to procure aluminium
tubes. We are in touch with some of their intended suppliers,
and the question is still open, but we believe, at this stage,
that these aluminium tubes were intended for the manufacturing
This point was further elaborated upon in ElBaradei's briefing
to the Security Council on the same day (paras.9-10; emphasis
"the IAEA has conducted a series of inspections at sites involved
in the production and storage of reverse engineered rockets, held
discussions with and interviewed Iraqi personnel, taken samples
of aluminium tubes, and begun a review of the documentation provided
by Iraq relating to contracts with the traders. While the matter
is still under investigation, and further verification is foreseen,
the IAEA's analysis to date indicates that the specifications
of the aluminium tubes sought by Iraq in 2001 and 2002 appear to
be consistent with reverse engineering of rockets. While
it would be possible to modify such tubes for the manufacture of
centrifuges, they are not directly suitable for it."
ElBaradei repeated these conclusions in an interview
on 12 January 2003: "Our provisional conclusion is that
these tubes were for rockets and not for centrifuges". This
judgement was expanded upon in ElBaradei's update
to the Security Council on 27 January 2003, para.52.
An extensive review of the evidence is in the Washington
24 January 2003. Further investigation included private interviews
with Iraqi senior engineers on 13
February 2003 and 17
In response to Secretary Powell's comments on the high level of
specification of the aluminium tubes, ElBaradei told the
Security Council on 14 February 2003 that:
"Iraq has been asked to explain the reasons for the tight
tolerance specifications that it had requested from various suppliers.
Iraq has provided documentation related to the project for reverse
engineering and has committed itself to providing samples of tubes
received from prospective suppliers."
on 7 March 2003 provided a detailed reply to Secretary Powell's
"Extensive field investigation and document analysis have
failed to uncover any evidence that Iraq intended to use
these 81mm tubes for any project other than the reverse engineering
of rockets. [..] Iraq has provided copies of design documents,
procurement records, minutes of committee meetings and supporting
data and samples. A thorough analysis of this information, together
with information gathered from interviews with Iraqi personnel,
has allowed the IAEA to develop a coherent picture of attempted
purchases and intended usage of the 81mm aluminium tubes, as well
as the rationale behind the changes in the tolerances. Drawing
on this information, the IAEA has learned that the original tolerances
for the 81mm tubes were set prior to 1987, and were based on physical
measurements taken from a small number of imported rockets in
Iraq's possession. Initial attempts to reverse engineer the rockets
met with little success. Tolerances were adjusted during the following
years as part of ongoing efforts to revitalize the project and
improve operational efficiency. The project languished for long
periods during this time and became the subject of several committees,
which resulted in specification and tolerance changes on each
occasion. Based on available evidence, the IAEA team has
concluded that Iraq's efforts to import these aluminium tubes
were not likely to have been related to the manufacture of centrifuges
and, moreover, that it was highly unlikely that Iraq could
have achieved the considerable re-design needed to use them in
a revived centrifuge programme. However, this issue will
continue to be scrutinized and investigated."
ElBaradei concluded: "There is no indication that Iraq
has attempted to import aluminium tubes for use in centrifuge enrichment.
Moreover, even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have encountered
practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges out of the aluminium
tubes in question."
With regard to potential production of suitable aluminium tubes,
"Iraq's lack of experience and expertise in this field makes
it highly unlikely that it is currently able to produce aluminium
cylinders consistently to the tolerances required for centrifuge
Ongoing monitoring is, however, necessary.
Key post-war readings:
Other imports, including for magnet production
24 September 2002, p.24: "Since 1998 Iraq had been trying
to procure items that could be for use in the construction of centrifuges
for the enrichment of uranium."
24 September 2002, p.26: "other important procurement
activity since 1998 has included attempts to purchase:
- vacuum pumps which could be used to create and maintain pressures
in a gas centrifuge cascade needed to enrich uranium;
- an entire magnet production line of the correct specification for
use in the motors and top bearings of gas centrifuges. It appears that
Iraq is attempting to acquire a capability to produce them on its own
rather than rely on foreign procurement;
- Anhydrous Hydrogen Fluoride (AHF) and fluorine gas. AHF is commonly
used in the petrochemical industry and Iraq frequently imports significant
amounts, but it is also used in the process of converting uranium into
uranium hexafluoride for use in gas centrifuge cascades;
- one large filament winding machine which could be used to manufacture
carbon fibre gas centrifuge rotors;
- a large balancing machine which could be used in initial centrifuge
Powell, 26 January 2003: "Why is Iraq still trying to
procure [...] the special equipment needed to transform [uranium] into
material for nuclear weapons?"
Powell, 5 February 2003: "In 1999 and 2000, Iraqi officials negotiated
with firms in Romania, India, Russia and Slovenia for the purchase of
a magnet production plant. Iraq wanted the plant to produce magnets weighing
20 to 30 grams. That's the same weight as the magnets used in Iraq's gas
centrifuge program before the Gulf War."
Powell, 5 February 2003: "Intercepted communications from mid-2000
through last summer showed that Iraq front companies sought to buy machines
that can be used to balance gas centrifuge rotors. [...] there is no doubt
in my mind. These illicit procurement efforts show that Saddam Hussein
is very much focused on putting in place the key missing piece from his
nuclear weapons program".
|Evaluation. It should be noted that the claim in the
UK dossier is not that the materials that Iraq has sought to import
can only be used as part of a nuclear weapons programme, but that
these materials could be used in such a programme. Conversely,
it is quite conceivable that these materials are not being used in
a nuclear programme at all.
For example, the dossier notes that Iraq has attempted to purchase
Anhydrous Hydrogen Fluoride (AHF) since 1998, and that AHF could
be used in gas centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium (Chapter
3, para.21). However, AHF is also used as an alkylating agent in
the petrochemical industry. For a country that has been made solely
dependent upon its petrochemical exports for its foreign exchange,
the import of AHF can hardly be a surprise or a cause for suspicion
Results of UN inspection. The magnet production line referred
to in the UK dossier and by Powell was discussed by ElBaradei in
to the Security Council on 27 January 2003, paras.58-59:
"Iraq presented detailed information on a project to construct
a facility to produce magnets for the Iraqi missile programme,
as well as for industrial applications, and that Iraq had prepared
a solicitation of offers, but that the project had been delayed
due to 'financial credit arrangements'. Preliminary investigations
indicate that the specifications contained in the offer
solicitation are consistent with those required for the declared
intended uses. However, the IAEA will continue to investigate
the matter [...]"
That further investigation included an interview with an Iraqi
magnet specialist formerly associated with the gas centrifuge programme
on 7 March provided a detailed reply to Secretary Powell's claims:
"The IAEA has verified that previously acquired magnets
have been used for missile guidance systems, industrial machinery,
electricity meters and field telephones. Through visits to research
and production sites, reviews of engineering drawings and analyses
of sample magnets, IAEA experts familiar with the use of such
magnets in centrifuge enrichment have verified that none of the
magnets that Iraq has declared could be used directly for a centrifuge
With regard to the magnet production line that Iraq admits to having
signed a contract for in June 2001, the IAEA concluded that "domestic
magnet production seems reasonable from an economic point of view",
but that any facilities produced need to be subject to continued
inspections and monitoring.
In response to the UK dossier's and Secretary Powell's claims about
gas centrifuge rotors, ElBaradei told the
Security Council on 14 February 2003 that:
"IAEA inspectors found a number of documents relevant to
transactions aimed at the procurement of carbon fibre, a dual-use
material used by Iraq in its past clandestine uranium enrichment
programme for the manufacture of gas centrifuge rotors. Our
review of these documents suggests that the carbon fibre sought
by Iraq was not intended for enrichment purposes, as the
specifications of the material appear not to be consistent with
those needed for manufacturing rotor tubes. In addition, we have
carried out follow-up inspections, during which we have
been able to observe the use of such carbon fibre in non-nuclear-related
applications and to take samples."
Further investigation included private interviews with Iraqi senior
engineers on 17
Department, 12 September 2002, p.10: "Iraq still has the technical
expertise and some of the infrastructure needed to pursue its goal of
building a nuclear weapon. Saddam Hussein has repeatedly met with his
nuclear scientists over the past two years, signaling his continued interest
in developing his nuclear program."
UK dossier, 24
September 2002, p.24: "The JIC drew attention to intelligence
that Iraq had recalled its nuclear scientists to the programme in 1998."
October 2002, p.6: "Iraq retains its cadre of nuclear scientists
and technicians . [...] Iraqi media have reported numerous meetings between
Saddam and nuclear scientists over the past two years, signaling Baghdad's
continued interest in reviving a nuclear program."
Bush, 7 October 2002: "Before being barred from Iraq in 1998,
the International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive nuclear weapons-related
facilities, including three uranium enrichment sites. That same year,
information from a high-ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected
revealed that despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered
his nuclear program to continue. The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting
its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings
with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his 'nuclear mujahideen'
-- his nuclear holy warriors."
Powell, 5 February 2003: "over the last 18 months Saddam Hussein
has paid increasing personal attention to Iraqis' top nuclear scientists."
Evaluation. The last part of the excerpt from President
Bush's speech of 7 October 2002 contains a misquote, and a mistranslation.
The speech referred to was made on 10 September 2000 and was about,
in part, nuclear energy. The transcription of the speech was made
at the time by the BBC monitoring service. Saddam Hussein actually
refers to "nuclear energy mujahidin", and doesn't mention the development
In addition, the term "mujahidin" is often used in a non-combatant
sense, to mean anyone who struggles for a cause. Saddam Hussein,
for example, often refers to the mujahidin developing Iraq's medical
facilities. There is nothing in the speech to indicate that Iraq
is attempting to develop or threaten the use of nuclear weapons.
Results of UN inspection. ElBaradei reviews in passing the
evidence about personnel in his update
to the Security Council on 27 January 2003, paras.22-23:
"In its CAFCD [Currently Accurate, Full and Complete Declaration,
7 December 2002], Iraq declared that the current and former IAEC
sites, as well as the locations to which former IAEC personnel
were transferred, are now devoted to the conduct of non-nuclear
commercial activities. [...] From the IAEA's assessment to date
of the Iraqi declaration, the following conclusions have been
drawn: [...] The part of the CAFCD which covers Iraq's programme
between 1991 and 1998 is consistent with the conclusions
drawn by the IAEA on the basis of its verification activities
conducted throughout that period and regularly reported to the
Key post-war readings:
- International Atomic Energy Agency, "Implementation
of United Nations Security Council Resolutions Relating to Iraq:
Report by the Director General", 8 August 2003:
"The former cadre of nuclear experts was being increasingly
dispersed and many key figures were reaching retirement or had
left the country."
- Charles Clover, "Iraqi scientists
say N-programme ended long ago", Financial Times,
14 September 2003.
- Louis Charbonneau, "Scientist
Says Iraq Never Revived Nuke Program", Reuters,
16 September 2003.
- Nancy Gibbs and Michael Ware, "Chasing
a Mirage", Time Magazine, 28 September 2003.