Claims and evaluations of Iraq's proscribed weapons    






Summary of claims

State 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 material."

CIA, 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 (, "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 international safeguards.

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." ElBaradei replied:

"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 March 2003:

"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, "Implementation 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

State 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."

(quoted 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 activity."

"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."

Department of Defense, 8 October 2002, slide 25: claimed al-Qaim plant was "currently active".

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 January 2003.

President 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 statement 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 - 10 - 11 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 February 2003.

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:

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 March 2003:

"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 inspected sites."

New facilities

(a) al-Sharqat

UK dossier, 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 facilities.

Uranium imports

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."

State Department, 19 December 2002: "The [Iraqi] Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger. Why is the Iraqi regime hiding their uranium procurement?"

White House, January 2003, p.5: "The [Iraqi] Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from abroad."

Secretary 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."

On 7 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:

Aluminium tubes

State 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."

UK dossier, 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 programme."

CIA, 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."

President 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."

President 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."

Secretary 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?".

State 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 paper:

  • 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:

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 of rockets."

This point was further elaborated upon in ElBaradei's briefing to the Security Council on the same day (paras.9-10; emphasis added):

"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 Post, 24 January 2003. Further investigation included private interviews with Iraqi senior engineers on 13 February 2003 and 17 February 2003.

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."

ElBaradei's statement on 7 March 2003 provided a detailed reply to Secretary Powell's claims:

"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, ElBaradei added:

"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 enrichment."

Ongoing monitoring is, however, necessary.

Key post-war readings:


Other imports, including for magnet production

UK dossier, 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."

UK dossier, 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 balancing work."

Secretary Powell, 26 January 2003: "Why is Iraq still trying to procure [...] the special equipment needed to transform [uranium] into material for nuclear weapons?"

Secretary 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."

Secretary 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 in itself.

Results of UN inspection. The magnet production line referred to in the UK dossier and by Powell was discussed by ElBaradei in his update 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 21 February 2003.

ElBaradei's statement 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 magnetic bearing."

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 and 19 February 2003.


State 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."

CIA, 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."

President 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."

Secretary 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 of weaponry.

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 Security Council."

Key post-war readings:



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