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The Iraqi government protested and a compromise was struck: Hamza would accompany the documents to the Canal Hotel, where they would be copied by the inspectors in his presence, and he would receive a complete copy. The process took hours, and Hamza claims that at one point he was separated from his Iraqi minder and approached by a female Unmovic inspector who offered to take him and his wife out of Iraq so that he could talk to the inspectors without fear of reprisal.

The Search For Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction

The history of no notice inspections in Iraq does not bode well for their use in Iran. Such inspections are intelligence-based exercises. Their credibility has often been called into question and the Iranians declare they are fake. The strange tale of the Iranian physicist Shahram Amiri, whose defection the CIA facilitated in the spring of , serves as a case in point.

Amiri was for several years before his defection an American agent-in-place whose reporting was used by the CIA in formulating its assessments on Iran. But his re-defection to Iran in suggests that he may have been a double agent, calling into question all his reporting to the CIA, before and after his defection. If they were permitted, where would no notice inspections in Iran take place?

There are two sites that the IAEA has publicly declared to be of interest. In , the IAEA claimed to have received new information linking Parchin to a test of a neutron initiator, the device which starts fission in a nuclear warhead, and asked to visit the site again. Iran has refused on the grounds that the basis for such an inspection is flawed.

The other site of interest is in Marivan, where the IAEA contends that Iran conducted large-scale explosive tests of a multi-point initiation system, which is used to initiate nuclear fission, and in doing so to activate the neutron initiator, in a weapon. The source of this allegation appears to be what Iran justifiably claims is a set of forged documents.

When Iraq finally told the truth about its weapons programmes, no one believed it.

UN weapons inspections | World news | The Guardian

We used to joke about how often we came back from an inspection empty-handed, repeating the saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The consequences of failure to reach a nuclear accord with Iran today are too serious for the world to embrace a process that has been so controversial while having so little impact on legitimate disarmament.

This is especially true when the inspected party, as is the case with Iran, has agreed to implement stringent verification measures and has a proven track record of abiding by them. Iran has been put in the impossible position of having to prove a negative. We saw this happen before in Iraq, and the end result was a war based on flawed intelligence and baseless accusations that left many thousands dead and a region in turmoil.


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By the time I left, Unscom had effectively identified and eliminated all the prohibited items identified by Security Council Resolution , which established the ceasefire after the Kuwait War, namely chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles with a range greater than kilometres. The IAEA reported at the same time that it had essentially completed its mission: to destroy, remove or render harmless any material that could be used to build a nuclear weapon, as well as related subsystems and research and manufacturing facilities.

Any chemical weapons that Unscom inspectors identified were destroyed in a drawn-out process ending in June The situation with biological weapons was more complicated because the Iraqis consistently denied their existence, but by Unscom was in a position to provide complete proof of the existing biological weapons programme, which was finally eliminated with the destruction of the research and production facility Al Hakam in Beginning in , a number of undeclared ballistic missiles were found and destroyed by Unscom.

The remainder of the Scud missiles, imported in the s from the Soviet Union, were secretly destroyed by Iraq, and accounted for later by Unscom specialists, who dug up the buried components. Unscom concluded in that only two of the imported missiles remained unaccounted for.

Ritter, like the US and the UK, insisted before the invasion in that Iraq still had a hundred missiles. The rest of the intelligence produced by the US was seriously flawed and misleading. Instead, Unscom generated its own intelligence through the work of its Information Assessment Unit, which assembled and analysed data obtained by scientists in the field. Our searches constitute important support for the investigation of the weapons programmes and I foresee a continued co-ordination of these efforts. It is true that in November I assessed that approximately a hundred Scud missiles were unaccounted for.

But in March Iraq submitted a new declaration in which it acknowledged that it had undercounted: my assessment had been dead-on. It was the British who provided the tip that led Unscom to the Iraqi WMD archive at the Ministry of Agriculture in the summer of , and the Israelis whose intelligence led to the interception of prohibited missile components in Jordan in November To claim Unscom was somehow an independent agency in this regard is simply wrong.

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Bibliographic Information

Podcast Books Authors Articles. Trevor Findlay. Iraq was also suspected of developing biological weapons, among them anthrax, botulinum and aflatoxin, and producing them in quantity. Accordingly, when Iraq surrendered in March and agreed to abide by UN Resolutions, these included provisions to prevent any subsequent production and use of chemical and biological agents. Iraq was also to undertake no further development of such weapons, with UNSCOM monitoring and verifying its compliance. Iraq accepted these terms and conditions on 18 April An office in Bahrain served as a logistics and training point, while the office in Baghdad was responsible for the maintenance and operation of the monitoring system and was the base of operations for inspection teams.

UNSCOM personnel in Baghdad not only undertook inspections of facilities and locations of interest but were also responsible for the supervision of the monitoring equipment installed at certain facilities. Biological, chemical, and nuclear programmes all continued to exist - in part because the Iraqi government received advance warning of impending inspections and therefore dismantled sites before UNSCOM teams arrived.

It is thought that spies and electronic eavesdropping provided such warnings. As the level of obstruction increased, coalition partners from the war began to gather forces together in the region with the seeming intent of launching non-UN-sanctioned air strikes on Iraq.


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  6. During its lifetime, UNSCOM conducted over inspection missions, conducted by over individuals from 40 countries. It found and destroyed almost 40, chemical weapons munitions, tonnes of chemical weapons agents, a biological weapons production facility and 48 SCUD missiles. But significant quantities of chemicals and delivery systems remained unaccounted for. This first visit identified the work required to ensure the destruction of the agents. A second visit in September destroyed those shells that had no harmful chemicals, while a third visit from October to December destroyed the remaining shells.