Iraq destroys more missiles
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraq is destroying more Al-Samoud 2 missiles after meeting a U.N. deadline over the weekend to begin the process, U.N. officials say.
After scrapping 10 Al-Samoud 2 missiles over the weekend, Iraq Monday destroyed six more and also dismantled two empty warheads, U.N. officials said.
Saying it wanted to destroy as many as nine missiles on Monday, Iraq continued the destruction of the Al-Samoud 2 missiles at Al Taji, the primary location for Iraq's long-range missile program. The military installment north of Baghdad houses a storage facility for the missiles.
Separately, Iraqi scientists say they will report back to U.N. weapons inspectors in a week on their plans to confirm Baghdad's claims that all of the nation's anthrax and VX nerve gas stockpiles have been destroyed, U.N. officials said.
Weapons inspectors are skeptical the claims can be verified. Iraq and the United Nations held technical talks on the matter Sunday.
Presidential scientific adviser Gen. Amer Al-Saadi told reporters Sunday that Iraq had crushed six missiles Sunday, along with a casting chamber used to make their solid rocket fuel. U.N. officials confirmed the destruction of the missiles and the chamber.
Iraq destroyed four missiles Saturday, meeting the Saturday deadline set by chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix. The missiles were ordered destroyed because inspectors said they have a range beyond the 150 kilometers (93 miles) allowed under U.N. resolutions.
Al-Saadi said Baghdad was working with weapons inspectors on a schedule to destroy more than 100 Al-Samoud 2 missiles, but warned that could change if it becomes clear the United States intends to go to war.
Al-Saadi said Iraq was destroying the missiles as part of their "proactive cooperation" with inspectors, even though they could be useful in the event of war.
"My task, and only task, is to remove all excuses for waging war in the legal way, the legal route, that is, the U.N. route," he said. "If Iraq is not in material breach on that count, then if war takes place, if war happens, it's not because Iraq has not done all it could regarding disarmament."
However, he added: "If it turns out that in early stages during this month America is not going the legal way ... why should we continue?"
Resolution 1441, passed by the Security Council in November, orders Iraq to destroy chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
"Practically all the areas of concern to UNMOVIC and the subjects of remaining disarmament questions have been addressed," Al-Saadi said.
Baghdad's plans to prove it has destroyed its anthrax and VX nerve gas have been met with skepticism by U.N. officials.
Demetrius Perricos, Blix's deputy, said he had doubts about whether tests on soil where Iraq said they destroyed the agents would be accurate, because the chemicals have been exposed to the elements for so long.
But Al-Saadi said the sites where the chemicals were destroyed have not been disturbed and that analysis of the soil should give inspectors enough information to determine how much of the agents had been destroyed.
U.N. inspectors, who said they met privately Saturday night with an Iraqi scientist, had asked to interview three others. However, one insisted on having a tape recorder, another wanted to bring a colleague to the meeting, and the third could not be located, U.N. and Iraqi officials said.
A team of U.N. biological experts Sunday was analyzing several intact bombs that Iraq says are filled with biological agents, according to U.N. spokesman Hiro Ueki.
Over the past few days, Iraqi officials -- under U.N. observation -- have been excavating the Al Aziziyah Air Field and Firing Range, located southeast of Baghdad, searching for R-400 aerial bombs and bomb fragments they say are biological weapons.
Recently, the Iraqis presented the U.N. with their discovery of several intact bombs, and the U.N. experts will analyze the weapons to determine if they are what the Iraqis say they are.
Meanwhile, the Iraq Ministry of Information said inspections continued Monday at a number of sites.
A missile team went to Al-Karama Company and two other sites -- Al-Qa'qaa, 35 kilometers south of Baghdad, and Al-Mutassim, about 75 kilometers south of Baghdad. A chemical team went to the State Establishment for Plastic Industries in Zafraniya and Al-Muthana in Falluja.
A biological team visited Al-Aziziya, 70 kilometers southeast of Baghdad and Ma Bain Al-Nahrain Company in Nahrawan, 30 kilometers east of Baghdad. An import/export company in Baghdad's Mansour district and the Al-Mafakhir State Company were among the sites visited by a nuclear team.
A joint team went to the city of Mosul.
-- CNN Correspondents Rym Brahimi and Nic Robertson contributed to this report.