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Source: Iraq report denies nuclear weapons programs

Nuclear section includes minute detail

From Christiane Amanpour
CNN

Nuclear section includes minute detail

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CNN's Nic Robertson reports U.S. officials are hoping at least one Iraqi scientist will open up on weapons secrets (December 12)
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WHAT'S NEXT?
On or before January 27, inspectors must report back to the Security Council.

If the United Nations finds the declaration to be incomplete or untrue, it could find Iraq in "material breach" of Resolution 1441, which calls for Iraq to fully disclose its weapons of mass destruction programs and to disarm.

The U.S. government has said if Iraq does not comply and fully disarm, it will lead a coalition to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein through military force.

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The nuclear section of Iraq's declaration on weapons of mass destruction asserts that the Iraqis have nothing to do with nuclear weapons programs, a source close to the U.N. weapons inspectorate said Thursday.

The nuclear report includes 300 pages -- all in Arabic -- giving in minute detail an account of what has happened at suspected nuclear sites inside Iraq between 1991 and 2002, according to the high-ranking U.N. official.

In some cases, Iraq's declaration claims, these sites were used for scientific research and university teaching programs. The U.N. source said translators and experts are still going through the body of the text.

The section is part of a total of more than 2,300 pages devoted to nuclear programs.

Source: Too early to draw conclusions

The source said there's not much new in the nuclear part of the declaration, with much of it dealing with matters the inspectors have seen or known about before.

It is too early to draw any conclusions as to whether Iraq is being honest, the source said, adding the weapons inspectors regime needs three things now: more intense inspections, interviews with scientists, and any intelligence from governments that could shed light on the veracity of the Iraqi declaration.

The next substantive report by the weapons inspectors will be January 27.

The source said it will be Tuesday at the earliest before chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammad ElBaradei will be able to deliver a "sanitized version" of the declaration to the non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

Distribution prompted disagreement

The initial distribution of the documents created some consternation among members of the council. The United States acquired a full version of the declaration and distributed copies to the other permanent members.

"What happened at the security council was unexpected, where the United States hijacked the original declaration," Iraq's chief official in charge of the inspections, Hossam Amin, said Thursday at a news conference in Baghdad.

"It is an insult and very embarrassing to the United Nations," he said.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Wednesday that the dispute had been resolved.

The council reached an understanding and "unanimously supports the approach which has been adopted," Annan said, adding that "there was a sense that since these five countries have experts in the nuclear and other areas, they could help the inspectors sift through what needs to be taken up and give their judgments to the inspectors."



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