Iraq: Powell evidence untrue
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Iraqi ambassador to the U.N. Mohammed Aldouri said U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech was "utterly unrelated to the truth."
He said the purpose of Wednesday's U.N. meeting was to sell the United States' ideas of going to war with Iraq without legal or moral justification.
In Baghdad, Gen. Amer al-Sa'adi, science adviser to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, called Powell's speech a "typical American show complete with stunts and special effects."
He said a more detailed response to Powell's presentation would be delivered at a news conference at 8 p.m. (12 p.m. ET) Thursday.
Al-Sa'adi said the recordings of conversations between Iraqi military officers that Powell said backed up the U.S. allegation that Iraq is defying inspectors could have been manufactured by "any third-rate intelligence outfit," and satellite photographs Powell presented "proved nothing."
At the United Nations, Aldouri repeated Saddam's assertion that Iraq had neither weapons of mass destruction nor links with al Qaeda.
"There are incorrect allegations, unnamed sources, unknown sources," Aldouri said. "There are assumptions and presumptions which all fall in line with the American policy towards one known objective."
He denied U.S. accusations that Iraq was hiding evidence of banned weapons from international inspectors.
He said phone conversations played by Powell could not be ascertained as genuine and accused Powell of assumptions, distortion and misrepresentation.
Iraq's ambassador said Powell could have "spared the council the time" and left U.N. inspectors "to work in peace and quiet without media pressure."
"Programs for weapons of mass destruction are not like an aspirin pill, easily hidden. They require huge production facilities, starting from research and development facilities, to factories, to weaponization, then deployment," Aldouri said.
"Such things cannot be concealed. Inspectors have crisscrossed all of Iraq and have found none of that," he said.
Earlier a senior Iraqi member of parliament dismissed Powell's evidence to the U.N. Security Council as "lies."
"These are lies and fabrications which have no material proof. They are aimed at creating a pretext for military aggression against Iraq," Salem al-Kubaisi, head of Arab and foreign relations committee at Iraq's national assembly, told Reuters.
Meanwhile the Vatican revealed that Pope John Paul II plans to meet with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz February 14, the very day chief weapons inspectors Hans Blix and head nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei deliver progress reports to the U.N. Security Council.
A Vatican spokesman said Aziz had requested the meeting with John Paul, and that the pope had agreed to see him.
Meanwhile, the founder of a militant Islamic group in northern Iraq denied charges by Powell that his group had offered safe haven to members of the al Qaeda network.
Mullah Krekar, whose Ansar Al-Islam movement controls a sliver of territory in northern Iraq, told a news conference in Oslo, Norway, that "this is propaganda," referring to Powell's allegations of harboring al Qaeda members in the region.
Krekar, 47, said he had no links to al Qaeda or Saddam.